Animated Stephen Fry streamed live from New Zealand15 March 2012
An animated Stephen Fry was transmitted live from New Zealand to the Hammersmith Apollo on 14 March, on a stream that used new animation technology from Headcastlab. Those attending the celebration of the late English writer and dramatist Douglas Adams’ 60th birthday were treated to Fry’s animation, which was produced on the Headcast platform using content from live pictures that were then delivered at high speed. Headcast founder Chris Chapman, who unveiled the system at the event, said: “We created virtual Stephen Fry in our self animator version, though with Stephen being in New Zealand, we pressed the buttons and ran auto-lipsync. Headcastlab is a game-changer when it comes to character-led animation being delivered over multi-platform digital channel. And Stephen was funny too.” As well as being used for applications such as the one at the Apollo, the technology is primarily aimed at the smartphone app market. Using the platform, characters are digitally created and their method of construction allows for their forms to be ‘headcast’ to handsets using a propriety low bandwidth over a 2.5G mobile signal or above. Complete performances can take a minimum of one minute to be ‘headcast’ and appear on an end user’s handset in the Headcast app. “Our technology enables the distribution and download of animation in minutes and uses only around 10% of the bandwidth required by video streaming, so it’s fast,” explained Chapman. “In the app version users can interact with the characters in the animation, shaking their heads, moving backgrounds and changing voices. This means that the system has been ideal for the creation and delivery of the satire direct.” Headcastlab said the technology has already attracted the interests of digital and marketing agencies. To fund the continued growth of Headcastlab and phyzog.tv – Headcastlab’s sister company – parent company Fizcast is currently raising a minimum of £350,000 using a Crowdcube small business finance platform which invites members of the public to invest.