After a management-led buyout last month, Playa Vista motion-capture and animation studio House of Moves is moving in a more creative direction.

Chief Executive Brian Rausch and a handful of partners bought the business from Oxford Metrics Group, a U.K. holding company, for $1.3 million. House of Moves was part of Oxford’s Vicon unit, which sells cameras and software for motion-capture filmmaking. The technique uses sensors to translate human movements into animation.

House of Moves handles motion-capture work for a variety of clients, many of them in the video-game industry and some in Hollywood. Rausch said House of Moves will now build on that model and begin developing and producing animated TV shows and feature films in-house.

“We’re looking at everything from the TV market to children’s animated features,” he said.

House of Moves has a 28,000-square-foot facility it uses for shoots. Credits include motion-capture and animation work for Microsoft Corp.’s “Gears of War 3” video game and motion-capture work for the recent “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie. About 75 percent of the company’s revenue comes from video-game work and the rest is from films.

The company generally bills between $5 and $50 per “character second,” or the amount of screen time a client orders for a motion-capture character. The firm bills a flat rate for jobs that stretch into the hours.

Transitioning from a service provider to a producer of content is a strategy fraught with risk due to the high costs of production and uncertainty of commercial appeal. Some visual effects firms, including Venice’s Digital Domain, have learned that the hard way.

But Rausch believes his company has a leg up since it is developing proprietary technology that can reduce the time it takes to produce motion-capture animation, thus reducing costs. The technology, he said, can place a motion-captured character into more developed surroundings than other technologies, which give a rougher outline that must be worked on to a greater extent.

“The technology will allow us to bring high-end CG to market much faster,” he said.

Sky-High Beats

In-flight connectivity and entertainment company Global Eagle Entertainment is hoping to make headway with international airlines after landing a deal with Santa Monica’s Beats Music, owned by Apple Inc.

Last week, Global Eagle of Marina del Rey began offering a Beats streaming audio service to passengers of Southwest Airlines – the biggest customer of Global Eagle’s in-flight Wi-Fi and entertainment offerings. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


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