Directing motion capture comes down to good preparation and a precise understanding of what the scene requires and the movements that you want. Once you have a good understanding of that, the rest is play. One thing I absolutely loved and will focus on in this post is the ability to capture performances and then build the scene in real time.
Photos by Dijana- http://www.dijanar.com
The scene I'll be discussing centered around a Nurse (main character) who is driving the action while she interacts with the 'viewer' (this was for a VR project). Surrounding the nurse are 10 individual patients of which two have 'featured' moments. All of these characters were performed by two very talented actors and each character captured separately. As we are capturing everything separately it can become difficult to get a sense of the performance and if it's working as a whole scene.
This is where the fun began because with real time playback I was able to create and re-iterate with the full scene in mind, despite only capturing each performance separately.
Our lead actor, Lilly Sullivan (Picnic at Hanging Rock) playing 'Diana'.
As we recorded each of the characters we would 'drop' that capture inside the scene so that our actors could perform real time alongside their previous performances. By the end of the day we could then watch the entire scene unfold and reflect on whether or not my planned blocking was working and where it needed improvement. Of course if we had a huge budget and could afford 12 actors this wouldn't be necessary but even if we had that option I believe I'd still push for the way we did it with this project as I was able to focus on the individual but still have the whole scene in mind. There's so much fun you could have with real time playback. Imagine building entire crowds with just a couple actors!
Before I began to work with motion capture performance, I always had this view that it was a sterile and quite isolating experience. But I have to say with real time playback and the ability to mix and match on the fly, the process becomes creative and you are able to look at a scene in a whole new way.
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