Startup Technology – PortableYou

Strietzel – December 15, 2008 | Jon Snoddy

Startup Life – People who frequent Big Stage Joint tend to dream big. Kind of an unspoken requirement I guess. We started this thing with the vision of digitizing humanity… all of it… everybody. We wanted to create a technology so transformative that it would launch an unstoppable series of domino falls that would result in a planet sized population of digital people, all dressed up and looking for somewhere to go. For this to happen, we knew that the tech would have to be really easy to use. It would have to rely on hardware that everybody has laying around and it would have to happen fast because we are all so crazy busy. We set goals: a standard digital camera, a couple of photos in a couple of minutes, and your friends have to recognize the results, and who would have thought; we’re there, and more. Woo hoo! Let’s go digitize a species.

To entertain the digital us, we took the next step with the launch of our Startup, www.bigstage.com, our social network in which you create and share the digital you in cool digital content. Adding yourself to content you like is great good fun and sharing it is hard to resist, so pretty much everyone gets bigstage.com.

That’s now rolling so we are on to our third act in which
“The Digital You” gets up and walks out the damn door! We call it PortableYou and we are inviting all our friends are to the party. Any web site, video game or virtual world can adopt PortableYou and add instant personalization to their world. They can play, fight, learn, travel in the wonders of cyberspace, with their friends, as themselves. Life is good in Digitalville. You can digitize yourself before breakfast at bigstage.com, dash off to a class at thevenuenetworks.com, then star in the film, The Spirit on your iPhone, and close out the day hanging with the digital star of a hit MTV show. Yes, the digital life is sweet.

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Startup News: Transport yourself from Game-to-Game

Dean Takahashi | December 11th, 2008 | Repost by Jonathan Strietzel

If your interested in building a 3-D avatar, or virtual character, you might as well spread take it everywhere with you. That’s the point of Big Stage Entertainment’s PortableYou program.

Big Stage uses a highly advanced, facial modeling system to render an amazing digital replica of you in seconds which can be transported into numerous forms of interactive media.

Big Stage allows you then take your avatar from one place to another, as long as each desitination conform to Big Stage’s own applications programming interface, or API. For now, the API is proprietary, but Big Stage hopes to make it a standard.

Creating an avatar is easy.  An avatar can be created in a few seconds using three standard digital camera photos of someone’s face taken with any standard camera with a flash. This amazing process creates an amazingly accurate, high definition avatar in seconds and allows you to transport it into a number of environments.

Still, the idea could catch on because it fits with the theme of personalization that is taking over everything from YouTube personal video channels to social networks, said Phil Ressler, chief executive of Big Stage.

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Big Stage Partners with Splash News and GGL Global Gaming

Virtual Worlds News/December 11, 2008

Yesterday Big Stage announced  the launch of Portable You, its program to integrate its 3D facial models with third parties or games, virtual worlds, and more as well as an initial partnership with Icarus Studios and The Venue Network. Today it announced two more partnerships, with Splash News, a celebrity photo site, and GGL Global Gaming, a gaming community. With Splash News, users will be able to put their own faces on the latest paparazzi shots, and GGL will promote games and content with still images and movies on Big Stage. The latter partnership will also bring promotional opportunities with one “major video game publisher” launching a partnership in early 2009.

“The popularity of GGL demonstrates how playing videogames online with a community of friends has transformed gaming into a highly social activity,” said Phil Ressler, Big Stage Entertainment CEO. “With the promotional experiences offered on BigStage.com through this partnership, gamers will be able to take their affinity for games one giant step forward by turning themselves into the characters they love to play, with the ability to share these unique experiences with friends, whether they are on MySpace, Facebook or GGL. Until BigStage.com, seeing yourself appear in 3-D animation alongside your favorite game characters would have required the help of an army of developers. BigStage.com is breaking down that barrier for gamers.”

Startup – Big Stage | GGL Partnership

Strietzel – Posted by Kevin Jenkins in Tech News on 12 11th, 2008

BigStage.com Users Will Be Able to Insert Their 3-D @ctors Into Free Video Game Content, Then Share with Friends and GGL Community Members

LOS ANGELES, Dec 11, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Big Stage Entertainment, Inc., a media technology company founded by Jonathan Strietzel, Jon Kraft and Jon Snoddy, that lets consumers project themselves photo-realistically into the digital realm, is partnering with videogame social networking company GGL Global Gaming (GGL) to promote free game content on BigStage.com. The first promotion rollout with a major video game publisher is scheduled for early 2009. Members of the BigStage.com and GGL communities will soon be able to insert their 3-D @ctor, a realistically animated digital clone quickly created for free from a few photos, into game cinematics, still images and animatics. Users can then share this content with friends and post to GGL community pages and other social networks, such as Facebook and MySpace.

“GGL members love great video games as well as new technology that enhances their gaming experience,” said Ted Owen, Owner/Chairman of GGL. “The @ctor creation technology offered on BigStage.com is a great benefit to our members who are constantly seeking creative new ways to express themselves and their love of videogames to the community. Unlike anything gamers have seen before, putting your own realistically animated face onto videogame characters is an innovation that players will be eager to embrace.”

With 26 million unique visitors per month, the GGL Network serves as a hub for videogame fans worldwide. The vast network of GGL gamers visit the site to find news, information and communities, in addition to competing in online gaming competitions and tournaments.

“The popularity of GGL demonstrates how playing videogames online with a community of friends has transformed gaming into a highly social activity,” said Phil Ressler, Big Stage Entertainment CEO. “With the promotional experiences offered on BigStage.com through this partnership, gamers will be able to take their affinity for games one giant step forward by turning themselves into the characters they love to play, with the ability to share these unique experiences with friends, whether they are on MySpace, Facebook or GGL. Until BigStage.com, seeing yourself appear in 3-D animation alongside your favorite game characters would have required the help of an army of developers. BigStage.com is breaking down that barrier for gamers.”

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Startup News – A Mug’s Game

Startup’s software allows users to insert 3-D versions of their faces in videos, photos, online content.

By CHARLES PROCTOR
Los Angeles Business Journal Staff
Posted date: 11/10/2008
How many people want to see themselves in a clip from “Phantom of the Opera” or “The A-Team”? Enough to build a business?

Pasadena Startup Big Stage Entertainment Inc. is about to find out. The company last week publicly launched a software program that creates a 3-D image from photos of a person’s face. The image can then be placed over the heads of actors in movie clips and still photos at the company’s Web site, giving users the appearance of being, say, Mr. T or in a scene from “Night of the Living Dead.”

At this stage of Big Stage, which was founded two years ago by entrepreneurs Jonathan Strietzel, Jon Kraft and Jon Snoddy, the choice of clips and photos into which your likeness can be integrated is limited. Phil Ressler, the company’s chief executive, said Big Stage is in conversations with movie studios, video game publishers and ad agencies to offer more content for people to pop up in. He envisions a day when Big Stage users – he calls them “actors” – will be able to insert themselves into sites all over the Internet.

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Jonathan Strietzel: “Creating the Digital You”

By Dog and Pony Editor – November 6th, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

Jonathan Strietzel is the Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of BigStage.com a new digital media company that is bringing digital versions of real people to life. For those of you who’ve dreamed of staring in a blockbuster movie or TV show alongside their favorite actor, or perhaps you’ve wanted to save the world in a video game, rock out on a music video, BigStage.com offers you the opportunity to do so in less than 30 seconds. Sound like fun? Well this seemingly innocuous idea turns out to be big business. This completely new entertainment vertical will be a big win for advertisers who are constantly looking for creative new ways for people to interact with their product.

Web customization, in the cyberworld, is growth of user-centric Facebook applications, YouTube videos, and MySpace pages. What started out as merely cartoon-like image engines, shifted toward three-dimensional architectures where users have been able to give life to their pint-size replicates. BigStage.com has taken it one step further from a static format into a fully interactive functionality, where the possibilities are seemingly endless. The genius behind this company is that it takes an “open stage” platform, where users can simply download an API toolkit and use structural bits of content to create king

This is evidenced just by looking at the explosive their own microsight. In essence, the site turns into a network engine where users build, customize and improve features and contribute directly to the site’s growth.

All the World’s a Stage and You’re a Player In It…

Distorted-Loop.com – Repost by Jonathan Strietzel

Posted by Jonny on November 5th, 2008
Can’t get enough of karaoke? Like to take space in the spotlight? Possessed by a pathological need to put yourself across?

Big Stage Entertainment’s new service could be a bit of fun for you, as it lets you pop self-made animated 3D performances into your Facebook or MySpace profile.

Phil Ressler, Big Stage Entertainment CEO said, “Big Stage Entertainment is making complex 3D modeling technology accessible for everyone to create a realistic, animated facial clone of themselves for the very first time.”

BigStage.com is a website where anyone can create a free, animated 3D “Digital You” for instant projection into the online landscape. Click across to the site and you’re promised tools to use to easily create a sophisticated, animated, 3D model of your face using only one to three photos taken with a digital camera.

Called an @ctor, The Digital You can be customized with accessories and then inserted into a growing selection of movie scenes, TV clips, music videos, virtual worlds, social networks, still images, video games, advertisements and more to share with friends, family and colleagues – here’s a video that tries to explain a little about this:

Users must install the Big Stage Media Player to create and see these creations. Once the player is installed, @ctors can be styled with hair, eyeglasses, hats and clothing, and can be projected into social networks, online communities, video clips, backgrounds, still images, greetings and more – including YouTube clips.

BigStage.com users are required to install the free Big Stage Media Player on their PC to experience BigStage.com. System requirements are a PC running the Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Vista operating systems, as well as the Firefox 2+ or Internet Explorer 6+ Web browsers.

A Mac OS version of the Big Stage Media Player is planned but “not yet scheduled,” the company said.

Digital Podcast 52: Everyone Can Be a Star

by Andrew Krainin

In Digital Podcast 52, Andrew interviews Jonathan Strietzel, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Big Stage, whose breakthrough technology allows users to create and integrate life-like 3-D avatars of themselves into movies, videogames, commercials and other digital video content using just three digital face photos.

Imagine if you and your friends could star in a music video, famous movie clip, or commercial as realistically as if you were around for the shoot. Jonathan describes the company and the potential that its technology has to transform advertising and the audience relationship with movies, television and videogames. 

icon for podpress  Digital Podcast 52 [23:00m]: Download (4858)

In the interview, Jonathan describes his early start as a wunderkind discovered by SoCal VCs (0:00), his insight into the coming importance of personalization as he discovered the technology behind Big Stage (2:45), and how he helped move the technology to become consumer internet capable and fundable (7:05).

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Michael Jackson uses social media tactics to promote ‘Thriller’ 25th Anniversary Celebration!

April 16th, 2008 by Andy Merchant

Michael Jackson Thriller 25th Anniversary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liberate Media is always on the look out for different/innovative uses of social media, and this one caught my attention the other day.

Sony BMG has teamed up with Big Stage – a media company whose technology allows users to create and integrate a life-like 3D avatar of themselves into everything from famous movie scenes, TV shows and video games, to music videos, short video clips, virtual worlds, still images, user-generated content, instant messages, emails, social networks and more – instantly. Nice idea!

The idea is for fans to easily create a life-like 3-D version of themselves that literally replaces the role of Michael Jackson in the Thriller music video – the video then gets uploaded to YouTube and you receive a link to view it. Your Thriller reincarnation can then be shared with friends by email or by posting on social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook.

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Starring You On The Big Screen

Forbes, CES 2008

Forbes, CES 2008

Louis Hau 1.9.08

CES 2008

Las Vegas, NV

How would you like to give yourself a starring role in your favorite videogame? Or music video? Or your favorite movie scene of all time?

South Pasadena, Calif., start-up Big Stage wants to help you do just that. The company has developed a technology that will allow anyone with a standard digital camera to create a life-like avatar of themselves. They will then be able to place that avatar on a blog, Web site or social-network page as a fun way of identifying themselves.

Even better: with a little know-how, users will be able to insert their virtual selves into a digital media file–or, say, place a 3D image of Intel (nasdaq: INTC ) Chief Executive Paul Otellini in the music video for Smash Mouth’s 1997 hit “Walkin’ On The Sun,” as Big Stage Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Jonathan Strietzel did during Otellini’s CES keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show on Monday.

Big Stage’s technology has its roots in government-funded research in 3D imaging done at the University of Southern California. The work takes what had been a complex, time-consuming image-creation process and boils it down to a consumer-friendly means to create personalized avatars.

The company’s technology is currently focused on reproducing facial images, but full-body avatars are in the pipeline. Its avatar system will be available to the public in the second quarter of this year.

On Tuesday, Strietzel needed only a few minutes to create a 3D avatar of me and superimpose my face over that of Harrison Ford’s in a scene from Raiders Of The Lost Ark. There I was, in a dank room, slyly replacing a coveted idol head with a small sack of sand. Damn, I was good.

As startling as it can be to see a moving 3D image of yourself, these are very early days for the technology, which is bound to become more compelling as the ability to simulate intelligence improves to create an even more realistic digital you.

What sorts of revenue-generating applications could a life-like avatar have? You don’t have to think too hard to come up with a pack: Videogame publishers could license the technology to give customers the ability to place their avatar inside a game. Similar uses could be attractive to online virtual worlds and social networks. And here’s one of Strietzel’s favorites: Allowing customers to insert themselves into famous movie scenes could give studios a new way of generating fresh revenues from existing film assets.

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CIA technology will map your face

By Rafe Needleman  / January 8, 2008 9:55 AM PST

LAS VEGAS– Intel CEO Paul Otellini’s CES keynote was sparkling. In contrast to Bill Gates’ pastel portrait of the future, Otellini presented a concrete vision of a personal, reactive Web, and the challenges to creating it (Silicon, Infrastructure, Context, and Interface). For a full rundown, see Dan Farber’s writeup on ZDNet.

Intel loves where the Web is going. The more interactive and personal it gets, the more processing power is required and the more new chips Intel sells, for both servers and local workstations. The most interesting (and newest) product that Otellini brought to the stage in his keynote was an automatic avatar builder made by BigStage.

BigStage founder Jonathan Strietzel mugs in front of Steven Harwell's avatar.

BigStage creates a model of anyone’s head by using just three photos–head-on, rotated a little, and rotated a little more. The company processes these pictures on its own servers and ends up with a model that knows which pixels your eyes are (so it can move and blink them), where your mouth is, and so it. In the Intel keynote demo, BigStage found Jonathan Strietzel created an avatar of Smash Mouth singer Steven Harwell. It was eerily good–much better and less creepy than avatars I’ve seen previously.

The technology comes from a CIA-funded project at the University of California. It was originally intended for scanning surveillance cams, since at its core it measures the three-dimensional geometry of key points on a face, for example between eyes, or the shape of a person’s cheekbone. The fact that the algorithm can extract a complete 3D model from only three images, and with what is now reasonably inexpensive computation (this is where Intel comes in) is what makes it commercially viable.

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Startup News: Intel In The 3-D Fast Lane

Startup – Strietzel’s Big Stage at CES 2008

Intel Keynote Speech at CES 08'

David M. Ewalt, 01.08.08, 2:35 AM ET

LAS VEGAS –

How do you show off your products to a crowd of slavering gadget geeks when most of what you make is smaller than a thumbnail and doesn’t do anything more exciting than route electrons?

That’s the problem that faced Intel Chief Exective Paul Otellini, Monday’s keynote speaker at the International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. His solution? Show off other people’s cutting-edge gadgets, talk about how Intel’s microchips make them possible and wrap it all up in some rock music.

The keynote began on a bleak note as video screens ran a painfully forced cover version of the classic 1979 Buggles song “Video Killed The Radio Star.” Cartoon figures ran around with cell phones and laptops as the song dropped corny metaphors and bad rhymes. “Internet shook the broadcasting star,” went some of the lyrics. “The Internet came and set us free … check out our mobility.”

When he took the stage, Otellini told the crowd that the song reflected his view that smart networks and consumer electronics would drive the next generation of the Internet, making it into something predictive, proactive and context aware.

To demonstrate, Otellini showed off a mobile device on a set designed to look like a Beijing street corner. A built-in camera on the gadget captured live video of a street sign and a storefront. Then, using “augmented reality” technology from Total Immersion Software, the device translated the Mandarin characters on the sign into English, and in real time, super-imposed the characters on the device screen with English translations. With a push of a button, a menu popped up offering further information, downloadable from the web, including video reviews and blog discussion.

The technology echoed the demo given by Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFTnews people ) Chairman Bill Gates in his Sunday keynote, and the audience seemed impressed on both occasions. But what does the gizmo have to do with Intel? The software and the applications seen were real, explained Otellini, but ran on several servers offstage. For now, portable hardware can’t hack such a complicated application. “Doing this will require exponentially more powerful processors that require exponentially less power,” Otellini said. Intel, he pledged, will invent the chips that can help usher in this new era.

Later, Otellini brought on stage an executive from software start-up eJamming. The company’s software allows musicians to connect online via a social network and collaborate in musical performances and recordings. They were joined on stage by Steve Harwell, lead singer of rock band Smash Mouth, who used the software to connect with his bandmates over the Internet and perform a few verses of their hit “Walkin’ On The Sun.”

While it was interesting to see members of a band connecting and performing regardless of geography, it wasn’t much of a performance, since the other members of the band were only represented as thumbnails and music waveforms on a computer screen. So next, Otellini brought out Jonathan Strietzel, co-founder of start-up BigStage. The company is currently developing software that allows users to create three-dimensional digital avatars of themselves.

It’s intriguing software: take three digital photos of your face, each at a slightly offset angle, and upload them to BigStage. Thirty to 60 seconds later, you get a well-rendered virtual version of your face, which can be easily customized with different haircuts, jewelry and expressions. The digital avatars are animated, so they turn their heads and blink realistically. No one would ever think it was the real you–but it’s surprisingly cool and easy.

To complete the virtual exercise and close out his keynote, Otellini brought on Andrew Tschesnok, founder and chief executive of Organic Motion. His company has developed motion-capture software that doesn’t require the “ping-pong-ball-bodysuit” worn by actors in movies like Beowulf. Instead, 14 video cameras capture an ordinary scene in front of a white wall, and translate the action into 3-D animation. Moving over to a side stage, Harwell was able to perform another tune–and this time, the main screen of the keynote stage showed a full-on virtual Smash Mouth, with digital avatars of each band member reflecting their real-world movements.

I have to admit it was all very cool–exactly the sort of telepresence that we need to make all those sci-fi fantasies of cyberspace happen. How cool will it be when you can have a couple of webcams on your desk, and a virtual 3-D version of you will walk, talk and perform in your favorite online hangout or video game?

Startup News – Tech | Relationships | build a company

Jan Norman

Jan Norman, Register writer

Imagine being able to create an animated double of yourself that you can place in games, commercials and movie clips, instantly changing your image in real time if you choose.

That’s the concept of Big Stage, which started in Irvine and recently moved to South Pasadena to be closer to Southern California’s entertainment and digital media hub. Its backers say the technology could revolutionize advertising, gaming and social media.

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