Return to Rémi Ronfard: Directing Virtual Worlds

Curriculum Vitae


PhD in Computer Science

Title: Variational principles for tracking color object contours in video

Supervisors : Henri Maître and Jean-Marie Monget.

Date: February 1991

School: Mines Paris Tech

Habilitation (HDR)

Title: Automatic film analysis – from image sequences to action sequences.

Readers: Roger Mohr (Grenoble University), Jean Ponce (Ecole Normale Supérieure) and Andrew Zisserman (Oxford University).

Date : December 2009

School : Grenoble University.

Masters in Engineering

Mines Paris Tech, 1983-1986.


Professional experience


Starting date Ending date Employer Title
Jan. 1988 Dec. 1990 Mines Paris Tech, France  Research Assistant
Jan. 1991 April 1992 Dassault   Systèmes, France Research Engineer
May 1992 Sept. 1993 IBM T.J. Watson Research Center,  Yorktown Heights, New York, USA. Post-Doc
Oct. 1993 June 1994 Computervision, Inc.

Bedford, Mass. USA

Research Engineer
July 1994 Aug. 2000 Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA) Project leader
Sept. 2000 Aug. 2001 IBM T. J. Watson Research Center Visiting Scientist
Sept. 2001 Sept. 2002      INRIA Rhône Alpes Senior Research Engineer
Oct.2002 Feb. 2007 INRIA Rhône Alpes Junior Researcher
Mars 2007 Mars 2009 Xtranormal Technologies, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Project leader for virtual cinematography


Computer Vision and Image Understanding 2013 Most cited paper award for « A survey of vision-based methods for action representation, segmentation and recognition ».

French National Prize for Startup Creation in June 2006 (by international jury of experts with Bill Gates as a president).

2nd Best Paper Award Eurographics in 1994 : « Triangulating multiply-connected polygons: A simple, yet efficient algorithm ».

Research supervision

Internships at INA:  

  • Rotoscopy: Tracking deformable contoursfrom video for cartoon animation (Jean-Philippe Malkasse, Telecom Paris Tech, 1996).
  • MPEG2 audio decoder for silence-music-speech  discrimination (Telecom Paris Tech, 1997).
  • Shot segmentation in MPEG1 video, with Françoise Préteux (Séverine Pelosse, Telecom Paris Tech, 1998-1999).
  • Annotation of INA AIM corpus of broadcast news, with Olivier Chevet (Julien Guerraz, 1999).
  • An authoring tool for film templates (Yoann Blanchet, IMAC, 1999-2000).
  • Silence-music-speech discrimination using mathematical morphology, with Jean Serra (Discrimination parole/musique/bruit par analyse morphologique et granulométrie de spectres de fréquence (Andres Lafuente Fernandez, Mines Paris Tech, 2000).

Internships at INRIA :

  • Actor recognition in movies (Xavier Le Francois , 2002).
  • Movie/script segmentation and alignment, with Cécile Roisin (Mickael Viougeas and Cédric Riou, 2002).
  • Client-server environment for reading movies, with Cécile Roisin (Mickael Viougeas and Cédric Riou, 2002).
  • Automatic classification of camera movements in movies (Caroline Le Corvec, 2003).
  • Tracking of actors in movies (Benjamin Chastagnier, 2003).
  • Action recognition from dynaic 3D volumes, with Edmond Boyer (Corinne Serose, 2004).
  • HMM-based shot segmentation in movies (Mélaine Gautier, 2004).
  • Multi-Caméra Monitoring System, with Frederic Devernay (Florian Geffray and Elodie Sannier, 2004).
  • Multi-camera gesture recognition (Mélaine Gautier, 2005).
  • Calibration of 3-D human skeletal dimensions from images, with Loic Lefort (Yannic Ropars, 2005).
  • Wifi-based remote controler for multi-camera monitoring, with Frederic Devernay (Corentin Baron and Émilien Kia, 2006).
  • Silhouette interpolation from trinocular camera, with Gabriel Taubin (Doug Lanman, Brown University, 2006).
  • Temporal statistics for background subtraction in 3D video, with Chad Jenkins (Matt Loper, Brown University, 2006).
  • Strategic analysis of startup project [SEE-NUSH], with Jean-Pierre Boissin (Soraya Khodja, Laetitia Littoz-Monnet, Adrien Chatenoud, IAE Grenoble, 2006).
  • Methodology for analyzing sart-up project [SEE-NUSH], with Jean-Pierre Boissin (Ludovic Boisson, IAE Grenoble, 2006).
  • Tracking actors with a moving camera (Rémy Lopez and Indy Estublie, 2010).
  • A virtual cinematography system that learns from examples, with Marc Christie (Mathieu Chollet, INA Rennes, 2011).
  • Statistical shape grammars for 3D animation (Quentin Doussot, 2012).
  • 2.5D Rotoscoping — A Space-Time Topology Approach (Boris Dalstein, 2012).
  • Automatic shot and scene segmentation in classical Hollywood movies (Vaibhav Singh, 2012).
  • Multi-touch choreography, with Marie-Paule Cani et Jarek Rossignac (Mark Luffel, Georgia Tech, 2012).

PhD thesis co-supervised at INA:

  • Classification of audiovisual sequences, with François Pachet (Jean Carrive. Paris University, 2000).

PhD theses co-supervised at INRIA :

  • Markerless multi-camera motion capture, with Radu Horaud (David Knossow, 2007).
  • Action Representation and Recognition, with Edmond Boyer (Daniel Weinland, 2008).

PhD theses in progress :

  • Semantically-aware video editing of theatre performances (Vineet Gandhi, 2014).
  • Sketching 3D Character Animation, with Marie-Paule Cani (Martin Guay, 2015).
  • Automatic cinematography in crowded urban scenes, with Marc Christie (Quentin Galvane, 2015).
  • Directing virtual actors by interaction and mutual imitation, with Gerard Bailly (Adela Barbulescu, 2015).
  • Camera models and algorithms for creating stereoscopic 3-D video, with Frédéric Devernay (Sergi Pujades Rocamora, 2015).


PhD jurys :

  • Segmentation and semantic indexing of video documents, with applications in broadcast news. Claire-Hélène Demarty, Mines Paris Tech, January 2000 (examiner).  
  • From text to generation of virtual 3D environments, with applications to theatre scenography. Tahiry Andriamarozakaniaina, University of Toulouse, September 2012 (reader).
  • Vision-based tracking of flexible and articulated objects. Daniel Wesierski, Telecom Paris Tech, March 2013 (reader).
  • Virtual camera control based on dynamic spatial partitions. Christophe Lino, University of Britanny, October 2013 (examiner).


International responsibilities :

  • Member of MPEG (Motion Picture Expert Group) in 1997-2000.
  • Co-chair of ICCV workshop  on « Modeling People and Human Interaction » in Beijing, China, in 2005 (with Pascal Fua, Adrian Hilton, Daniel Gatica-Perez and Marian Stewart Bartlett).
  • Co-chair of 3 international workshops on « 3-D Cinématography » with Gabriel taubin (New York University, June  2006, Banff Center, Canada, July 2008 and Providence, USA, June 2012).  The first workshop was featured in a special issue of IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications in mai 2007. I co-edited a book published by Springer-Verlag (2010) with the proceedings of the second workshop.
  • Chair of forth-coming  AAAI workshop on « Intelligent Cinematography and Editing » (WICED), Quebec City, Canada, May 2014.

National responsibilities :

  • Member of the working group on « Multimedia indexing » (AIM), CNRS GDR ISIS, in 1998-2000.
  • Co-chair of working group on “Action and gesture”, CNRS GDR ISIS, in 2006-2007 and since 2011 (with Catherine Achard and Patrick Horain).
  • I served as president of the jury for Master 2 students at the University of Grenoble, Mathématiques et Informatique, option Graphique, Vision et Robotique (GVR) in 2013.


Program committees :

  • International Conference on Motion in Games  (MIG).
  • International Conference on Interactive Storytelling (ICIDS).
  • ACM conference on Computational Aesthetics (CAE).
  • Workshop on Intelligent Cinematography and Editing (WICED).
  • Workshop on Intelligent Narrative Technologies (INT).
  • International Conference on 3D Imaging (IC3D).

I am a regular reviewer for IJCV, IEEE PAMI, CVIU, IEEE Multimedia, ACM SIGGRAPH,  BMVC and CVPR.


Team leadership :

  • From 1997 to 2000, I created and managed a team of 4 researchers and engineers in content-based video indexing at INA.
  • From 2007 to 2009,  I managed a team  of 5 researchers and engineers in virtual cinematography at Xtranormal Technologies, delivering the Magicam system which was put in production from 2008 to  2013.
  • From 2005 to 2007, I managed the international team VAMP (Video and Mesh Processing for 3D Cinematography), a international collaboration between INRIA and  Brown University (Providence,USA).
  • Since 2011,  I am the director of the « Image and Geometry » department of Laboratoire Jean Kuntzman, UMR CNRS 5224 , Grenoble University.

Project management :

  • Project leader at INA for European project DiVAN (1998-2000): Distributed Video archive Network.  I took part in the writing of the grant proposal, the management of the project , and the development of a prototype system for indexing video collections .
  • Project leader at INA for RIAM project SEMOCAP (2004-2006) : Markerless motion capture for independent 3-D animation.
  • Project leader for CIBLE  project SCENOPTIQUE (2011-2014) : I wrote the grant proposal and I am leading this a collaboration between INRIA and Theatre des Celestins, Lyon,
  • Project leader at INRIA for national « investing in the future » project ACTION 3DS (2011-2014) : I took part in the writing of the grant proposal and I am leading a team of 4 researchers developping novel tools for directing stereoscopic movies..
  • Project leader at INRIA for  ANR-funded project  CHROME (2012-2015) : I took part in the writing of the proposal and I am leading a team of  4 researchers developping novel tools for virtual  cinematography  in crowded environments.
  • Project leader at INRIA for ANR funded project  SPECTACLENLIGNES (2013-2015) : I took part in the writing of the grant proposal  and I am leading a team of 3 researchers on  audio-visual indexing of theatre rehearsals.

International collaborations

I have spent a total of 5 years in the US and Canada :

  • Post-doc in 1992-1993 at  IBM T.J Watson Research Center, Yorktown, New York.
  • Visiting scientist in 2000-2001 at IBM T.J Watson Research Center, Yorktown, New York.
  • Project leader in 2007-2009 at Xtranormal Technologies, Montréal.



In addition to my research work in industry and academia, I have spent a total of 400 hours teaching different topics in computer science to diverse audiences :

  • Data analysis at Telecom Paris Tech, 1990-91.
  • Data analysis at Mine Paris Tech and Imperial College, London, 1990-91.
  • Theoretical computer science and algorithmics, ENSAE, 1994-96. I created and wrote this course.
  • Content-based video indexing,  at INA-Formation, Ecole des Ponts, and Mines Paris Tech in 1998-2000.
  • Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Grenoble University, 2002-2004.
  • Computer Vision, Grenoble University, 2002-2004.
  • Gesture recognition, summer school of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, 2010.
  • Advanced 3-D animation , Grenoble University, 2011 and 2012.



While at INA, I presented the scientific challenges of content-based video indexing  to various  audience, including the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the International Federation of Television Archives (IFTA) and the Collège de Polytechnique.

In 2011, I presented my research team at the Experimenta Art and Sciences Forum in Grenoble.

In 2012, I presented my research program on  « directing virtual worlds » on the INRIA web site  (

In 2013, I organized an INTECH/INRIA workshop on the convergence between digital cinéma and interactive games (