News / Vancouver

Canada's largest motion capture studio opens in Vancouver

Motion and performance studio opens in basement of Vancouver Film School and is already booked into next year.

Graham Qually, President of Mimic Performance Capture (right) and Jon Bell, Managing Director at Vancouver Film School. VFS will be opening its doors to the largest Performance Motion Capture Studio in Canada.

Jennifer Gauthier/Metro

Graham Qually, President of Mimic Performance Capture (right) and Jon Bell, Managing Director at Vancouver Film School. VFS will be opening its doors to the largest Performance Motion Capture Studio in Canada.

Film industry insiders hope a new motion and performance capture studio that opens today in downtown Vancouver will give the city an edge when it comes to attracting film business to the city.

“We knew as soon as we opened…we were going to have people knocking on our door,” said Graham Qually, the founder of a company called Mimic that was formally created January 4 and has partnered with Vancouver Film Studio to build the new studio in just two months.

The studio captures both motion and performance, a technology that is increasingly being used in movies set in fantastical worlds or other planets (think The Hobbit, the new Planet of the Apes franchise, or Guardians of the Galaxy). The studio is already booked into 2018, Qually said.

There are currently just two other motion-capture studios in the Vancouver area: a studio in Burnaby and another facility owned by game maker Electronic Arts, which is fully booked by EA for its own projects.

Qually, who previously worked in Vancouver for Rainmaker Entertainment and then helped build a new motion-capture studio for Ubisoft in Toronto, said it wasn’t hard to find clients for the new studio. Performance capture, which can include head-mounted cameras that record an actor’s face as he or she performs, is increasingly being used to transform actors into dragons, monsters or animals.

Sean Parry and Graham Qually, President of Mimic Performance Capture.

Jennifer Gauthier/Metro

Sean Parry and Graham Qually, President of Mimic Performance Capture.

“Performance capture has gone from $8 billion to $28 billion in five years,” Qually said. “It’s exploding right now.”

The studio has been built in the basement of a Gastown building Vancouver Film School leases from the City of Vancouver, and students at VFS will get to use the technology for their own projects. Qually said he’s also planning to hire between two and 12 VFS alumni to work on shoots.

“This gives us a competitive advantage,” said Jon Bell, managing director at Vancouver Film School.

“We see something like this as a differentiator, that other schools don’t have.”

Vancouver Film School's will be opening its doors to the largest Performance Motion Capture Studio in Canada.

Jennifer Gauthier/Metro

Vancouver Film School's will be opening its doors to the largest Performance Motion Capture Studio in Canada.

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