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8vNBC's Johnny Chimes Peacock Logo Character13v m4
marcus

While I was demonstrating the Medialab Performance animation system in L.A. we were visited by some of NBC TV Promotions Producers.

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The main characters we used for demonstrations were Donkey Kong and his pals.
We did all the demonstrations 'live' having the character  interact with the visitor composited on a TV screen.
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I did all the facial performance animation and lipsinc of Donkey Kong as well as the live voice while the body performance animation, using a motion capture system was done by another puppeteer (a brilliant one) Helena Smee.

Helena managed to get just the right balance of strong characterisation and performance with accurate on screen animation and between us we created a completely integrated and believable Real Time Animated character.
NBC's people we're so impressed I understand with the strength and completeness of the characters we performed that they decided to have a proposed CG Peacock NBC logo character 'Johnny Chimes' built and animated by Medialab with myself and Helena as the Real Time animators.

Time passed and a film production team was assembled to shoot Pilot/tests with Johnny Chimes as a Lounge Lizard type entertainer. The setting they created looked great something like a small friendly restaurant with tables and a piano with backing singers etc. Fantastic!
Meanwhile myself and Helena did lots and lots of development work with the Johnny Chimes character at Medialb Studio L.A.
Experimenting with Johnny's movement, attitude and visual characterisation as well as practising the lipsinc and facial animation which is different for each CG model as well as for every characterisation. (or should be)
We created an integrated visual presentation and choreography of the pre-recorded and very funny promo-track.
We really nailed it and I thought Johnny was brilliant! Couldn't wait to do the Promo animation.

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Apparently though decisions were being made to go up the Motion Capture route, casting actors etc. (rather than ourselves as Real Time Animators) to do the animation.
Then decisions that effected our availability to do Johnny's animation anyway were made until eventually Johnny was taken away to be animated in Paris.
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Ultimately I don't know why NBC didn't go with the resulting Promo and Johnny Chimes as an on air Promo character but I like to think that had the 'decision makers' seen myself and Helena's performance of Johnny Chimes?
Then they might have been persuaded to develop Johnny further and maybe even on to the Air. Who knows?
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