Integrating drones with Maya video camera/effects control

A very interesting proof of concept on the integration of Pixhawk-powered drones with the Hollywood-standard Maya software. This point is to both integrate real drone video with CG and ultimately export Maya camera paths as drone waypoint missions, as shown in the PaperDrone project. From the post:

Joe Lewis, Isaac Partouche and Jon Farhat demonstrate single camera optical tracking with a freely operated quad-rotor. No tracking markers, lights or encoders. In this test, none of the position and angular data from the craft was used. Further tests will show how we can write the SolidTrack data back to the Autopilot, a Pixhawk in this case, providing feedback for centimeter-level positional accuracy and a twentieth of a degree rotational resolution! All from a single video camera! Stay tuned…

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Comment by Joe Renteria on April 2, 2015 at 5:04pm
Wow this is incredible. I used matchmover years ago. This is how Cameron shot Avatar, but this looks even better. Imagine the possibilities...
Comment by Jon Farhat on April 2, 2015 at 6:10pm

Yes, this is much better than when I used GeneralLift's Encodacam to fly Jeremy Renner over a forest.   And that was amazing.  In that case we shot him on Greenscreen in Berlin,  but the camera was on a Technocrane with all axis encoded mechanically.   We then used the position and rotational information to drive a Stab-C head and played back the camera moves as we flew over the forest in an A-Star.  We shot all out takes as match-moved plates as we flew a path low over canopy.    Imagine the possibilities is right!!  Now, we can hand-hold for the original plate instead of a crane and well...  A UAV over the forest instead of an A-Star.    That was only two years ago.

We've come a long way since the early days of motion control, where Joe and I did Eddie Murphy movies.  Hint, Eddie was never with an animal in Doctor Dolittle, and certainly can't be five people around a dinner table.  To think we can do this now... 

What excites us about this now, is the current testing to take this kind of resolution, and write it back to APM.   We're very excited to be working with 3D Robotics on this.  This has gone beyond the 'service' now, and Joe, Isaac and I are testing what it would take to productize this into a GCS companion.    Next test, adding running animals across and open field...  

Comment by Nicolas.Wang on April 2, 2015 at 8:52pm

Interesting and curious about how this is implemented. Is this about special camera or software? Maybe the idea could be extended to other software other than Maya?

Comment by Jon Farhat on April 2, 2015 at 9:01pm

Hi Nicolas

Not a special camera.  In this case, only and SD camera was used, at 60 fps.  It's a tradeoff.   Higher framerates hold on to the points better, (obviously) and higher physical resolution increases the resolution of the paths, but in many cases you have to step down on the fps.    Yes, it's very special software designed and developed by Isaac Partouche in association with General Lift here in LA.

Comment by Kris Kitchen on April 3, 2015 at 4:44pm
Comment by Kris Kitchen on April 3, 2015 at 4:47pm

Something I have been testing to make something epic

Comment by RCvertt on April 4, 2015 at 12:51am

I use Maya all the time. This looks awesome!


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