Lights, camera, action with launch of UK-first motion capture app

MOTION: Jon Dalzell, Chief Executive and co-founder of start-up Performit Live, which has an office at Fareham Innovation Centre. Pictured with Jon, right, is Stephen Brownlie, Centre Director. Performit Live is a new-to-market app which connects animators around the world with skilled performers wearing an advanced motion capture system.

 A start-up backed by £550,000 of private investment has launched the first tech platform of its kind in the UK.

Performit Live is a new-to-market app which connects animators with skilled performers wearing an advanced motion capture system.

Motion capture is a technology which replicates the performer’s movements on to CGI characters in non-human or human form.

Within the first four weeks of launch, the global-reach venture, which is based at Fareham Innovation Centre in south Hampshire, has already had orders from as far away as Peru in South America and Seattle, USA.

Led by Chief Executive and co-founder Jon Dalzell, the platform digitally connects animators and digital creatives across the world with highly skilled professional performers.

The performers are directed by animators,  through remote real-time rehearsal.

Authentic moves are captured with the skilled performers wearing Performit Live’s proprietary smart motion capture system – footage is streamed direct to the animator’s mobile device in real time and downloaded for viewing within seconds, ready to be edited into the final product.

“It’s the convenience of Uber meeting Zoom, with Performit Live as the creation in the middle,” said Jon, who has six people working for the business at a serviced office in Fareham Innovation Centre.

“There is nothing like it in the UK and our revenues are derived from animators who book the skilled performers via our booking app, and from a revenue share with the professional performers who we source work for from animators and animation studios.  We are also looking to build a network of partners around the globe.

“What is so incredible about this app is that the performers – from dancers across all genres, from ballet to rap, to martial artists, actors and sporting stars – can execute their directed moves in the comfort of their own home, outdoor space or workplace. No expensive-hire studio or green room is required, just our motion capture smart system.”

Since go-live at the start of July, Performit Live has already received a flurry of international orders, including a ‘dad dance’, a clumsy superhero performance, dance moves of a rapper and various famous football celebrations.

Jon, who lives near Fareham, said: “The other day we had a booking from an animator in Hampshire for a skilled performer in London, with a director in Peru showing what kind of movement was required.

“Our platform is a market disrupter because it makes bespoke motion capture affordable, with animators and their customers free to realise their vision at the fraction of the cost of booking an expensive film studio and performers.

“Just over £550,000 has been invested to date in Performit Live, including from myself and other members of the team, such is our belief in the solution.

“We are especially excited for the potential for companies with modest or low budgets – business-to-business and business-to-consumer – which want to use the app technology for advertising, such as a social media video campaign or a point-of-sale promotion which stands out. Previously the costs would have been out of reach.”

Performit Live spun out of another venture Jon ran at Fareham Innovation Centre, which is home to 50 technology-led companies.

Operated by Oxford Innovation Space on behalf of Fareham Borough Council, the centre has 55 serviced offices, 20 workshops, a range of conference facilities and meeting rooms and in-house business support for occupiers.

Jon said: “We very much enjoy being at the centre, with its flexible workspace and vibrant atmosphere with its entrepreneurial spirit.”

Stephen Brownlie, Centre Director, Fareham Innovation Centre, said: “Traditionally there have been two ways of capturing motion for videos and graphics – a generic motion capture library and a location-based shoot.

“Through its innovative app, Performit Live is providing a global-reach third solution, with affordability, organisational efficiency and international accessibility at its core.”

A number of other innovation-led companies have moved into Fareham Innovation Centre this summer.

They include Yandiya Technologies, which designs, manufactures and distributes far infrared heating panels.

Another joiner, wing walking experience start-up Ethel Dares (Aviation), is converting a workshop into a live-stream customer lounge so people can see the action when the firm’s vintage biplane flies from adjacent Solent Airport.