At USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, giant spherical "Light Stages" allow detailed 3D scanning of a human actor. If you need a digital version of an actor for your movie or video game, a visit to the Light Stage is the first step.

USC's Light Stages have been used in various movies, including Avatar, Superman Returns, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Spider-Man 3. Over the years, the stages have been upgraded with better lighting and cameras.

In this video, Norm Chan from Tested visits the lab and digs into how it all works. The visuals in this are truly beautiful. Enjoy:

For more on the technology (including links to academic papers and stuff), check out this USC ICT page.