The Mocap Vaults founder, Oliver Hollis-Leick, is a 13-year mocap acting veteran that has worked on over 80 videogame and movie titles, with roles in such films as Iron Man 2, Stardust, Total Recall, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Godzilla, Hercules, Fred Clause among many others.
In his interview to Digital Production BuZZ he talks about the challenges that motion capture actors are facing and about the new opportunities that iPi Motion Capture provides for them.
“There is actually a revolution happening in motion capture, thanks to the companies like iPi Soft. I can take a Kinect camera, and just put it on a tripod in a room with actors. None of them need marker suits. I can record their performance and the key see it on screen within a minutes on a character.“
We had a lot of discussions in our team regarding which is the best of submitted videos. Finally, we decided that the winner is Mikołaj Jagodziński with “Virtuo” piece!
Mikołaj has increased his chances by sending the “Behind the Scenes” accompanying video.
Description from the author:
All character animations were created in iPi Motion Capture (except for the running sequence, animation of the head, wrist and fingers). I used four PS Eye cameras.
iPi Mocap was used to create crowd motions in Russia’s most commercially successful film, war epic “Stalingrad”. This is the story of love and heroism in the middle of the World War II greatest battle. The film was created in IMAX 3D, and includes 230 shots with visual effects. Many of them are quite long, taking approximately 30 minutes of overall screen time.
“I put the Kinect near my workstation, and played out the movements I needed, immediately transferring them to the soldiers.“ Alexander Lipilin, Animation Supervisor of the Main Road|Post, explains. “It was convenient. Guys at iPi Soft made the program, which was a unique solution for markerless mocap of the body with the use of Kinect. There is no equivalent of this technology yet.“
Here you can find detailed description of how VFX had been created, and what challenges VFX artists met during production:
May Contest Winner Shares His Opinion on iPi Mocap
Well-written dialogue and an intriguing use of the POV camera style help make “Craiglist Horror,” directed by Russell August Anderson, so memorable. The May winner of the iPi Soft-sponsored monthly filmmaking competition has the intense feel of the opening to some popular crime procedurals like CSI or Law & Order, or perhaps a gritty indie film.
The three-minute piece begins with a man filming a woman sleeping inside a car while he comically debates the ethics of what he’s doing. We quickly learn they’ve accompanied the man’s actor brother to a remote film shoot in the desert. Shot POV style throughout, things take a suddenly real and violent turn, ending on a cliff-hanger that leaves viewers ready for the next scene.
A professional editor in commercials and film in Los Angeles, Anderson says “Craigslist Horror” came about as both a test of iPi Motion Capture software, and with the Source Filmmaker package from Valve that features the mocap software.
“‘Craiglist Horror’ served as a proof-of-concept that the technology is getting to the point where filmmakers who aren’t insanely tech savvy can pre-visualize their ideas and use motion capture easily to get a feel for the visual flow of their story before shooting it,” Anderson says. “The script was a short film a friend of mine wrote and set aside because he was unsure whether or not it worked, so it seemed like the perfect candidate for a test run. The project helped me gain mocap experience that I’ll apply to my next pre-visualization project — a short film we’re shooting this month.”
Anderson adds, “With iPi Soft I was able to act everything out beforehand and easily drop the mocap data into Source Filmmaker with DMX files. This was my first time using the software and the one Kinect setup was a breeze.”
Almost every animation was made with the help of two Microsoft Kinects and an iPi Soft DMC. Except for running sequences and a few other animations, like the first shot with Guard standing in front of a door, animation of one Guard in ambush, close-ups.
Every animation was then refined with the build-in filters of iPi DMC, then brought into 3ds max CAT rig, and adjusted and refined further there.
We also used Endorphin to create ragdoll dynamics in the starship scene.
Kinects were upgraded with vibro-motors. One was made from a USB fan, and another was made from an old shaver. Vibrations helped to isolate pattern projections for each kinect, and make overall quality of recordings about 2 times better. Can’t wait to get my hand on Kinect 2.0, I hope iPi guys are ready to add support for them as soon as possible, after the release!