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Startup – Big Stage $2.7MM raised for Avatar Software

Startup News – Los Angeles – Big Stage Entertainment, is the worlds leading developer of 3D facial creation technology, otherwise known as an Avatar, announced on Tuesday that it had secured an additional $2.7 million in second round funding, from Mission Ventures, Selby Ventures and TechCoast Angels.

Big Stage Entertainment is a So. Cal Startup, founded by Jonathan Strietzel, Jon Kraft and Jon Snoddy, that has raised a total of $10.6 million through their Angel and Series A rounds of financing.The company said its Series B round will remain open for an additional $3.3 million.

Big Stage allows a user to insert their avatar onto a fully animated, 3D avatar, this avatar can be used in video games, virtual worlds, mobile games, learning and training simulations and much more.

Some of Big Stage’s Clients include Lionsgate, Funcom, Sony BMG, GGL Global Gaming, Cannel Group and Intel Corporation.

The company will use the new funds to accelerate research and development, and sales and marketing efforts.

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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