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Utah’s Technology Pioneer: Designing the Future

From the outside, Track 36 Studios storefront seems rather desolate. Off a side street in Murray, the studio joins a few other businesses in a quasi strip mall setting. It doesn’t seem like a fitting location for a business that is leading the way in Utah’s technological boom, but the inside tells another story.

Lined with green screens, animation software, simulators and computer screens, the owner of this up and coming studio, Russ Francis, is pushing the limits within the motion capture industry. That’s always been the case for Russ considering he started the first motion capture studio in Utah.

“It was something that nobody was doing; we wanted to do something different. [I] didn’t want go with the norm, we push the limits,” said Francis. “We became one of the first to start using motion capture and started working on games, commercials, the Who Moved My Cheese movie… the whole goal was to do our own productions.”

The motion capture scene itself is a pioneering idea. Tracking live action and putting it into different media is a revolutionary concept when compared to more established platforms in the entertainment field. “It’s bringing human motion into data. Taking that motion and turning it into what you want,” added Francis. “Tracking muscle movement in the face and then fitting it into the place you want.”

While Francis has been working with this software for just over ten years, the applications for motion capture have been exploding.

From the entertainment industries of TV and gaming, the medical field, or even the aspects of crime prevention and fraud detection, this new technology can be used in many cases such as tracking facial responses and body movement. Motion capture is becoming an increasingly popular tool in Utah’s entertainment field, as well as our society.

“Look at the Kinect an interactive device by Microsoft, it’s happening. There are both psychological and physical uses, even tying elements into a crime scene to play out a particular scenario,” remarked Francis. “There are infinite applications if you think about it.”

Francis and Track 36 Studios are continuing to find an array of uses for the technology as they are currently working on a motion picture, puppeterring, educational software for those dealing with ADD and bullying, and coming up with curriculum for a motion capture school.

Their office may be tucked away in Murray, but their products could be found in your living room sometime in the near future!