Just when you thought (and I prayed) that I couldn’t look any freakier or wear weirder outfits, here comes this: motion capture, aka performance capture.
Cribbing from (and probably ruining) the Wikipedia entry, motion capture, aka mo-cap, means recording movement (eg, of humans) and using that information to animate characters in computer animation.
It’s the same process they used in this little movie you may have heard of, Avatar. In fact, just for your viewing pleasure, you can see a short clip of the process and how it looked in the movie here.
So last week I did mo-cap for an upcoming videogame. No, I can’t tell you which one. Game companies get a little tweaked out when actors announce early, so I’m going to shock everyone and keep my mouth shut for a change. Zipped lip. But I will say that it’s part of a franchise. That’s quite popular. Which is — okay, really, that’s enough.
It was a blast. Basically, you wear a suit covered with 55 or so reflective dots, and while you act out a scene in a big open room, 70-80 cameras are reading your movements via the dots. Then the data from the cameras all gets combined to create your movements in a 3D digital world.
Monitors were set up on the edge of the room showing our characters (okay, fine, our avatars), so as we moved, our avatars moved (though their faces stayed the same). Our mo-cap is animated, whereas Avatar was more lifelike, so we looked nothing like our avatars on the monitors. It was a bit weird at first, and then it became nothing but fantastic. Especially, I think, to the actresses, almost all of whose avatars were, in the time-honored tradition of videogames, really hot.
The director, producers, and crew were terrific, as were all the other actors. Everything was fantastic. Except for the skin-tight black suits. That I could have done without. I’m not sure how exactly, given that they’re a necessary part of the process, but if I were King of Mo-Cap-ville, the first Royal Order would be to improve the suits. Somehow. I don’t know how. I’m the King. Just make it happen.
Posted in Acting Projects, Photos of Wm, Videogame