MOTION CAPTURE: THE ENTRANT
Motion Capture (mocap) is the process of recording an actor’s movements and recreating them on digital character models. Professional motion capture and 3D animation artists use mocap for 3D character animation, performance animation, pre-visualisation and virtual filmmaking. Motion Capture has garnered immense attention in the Indian post-production landscape in recent years. Motion Capture systems can capture the motion of anything you can attach a sensor to. The systems collect data from the object, and optical systems calculate the relative position of each marker. Inertial systems measure the acceleration and rotation of each sensor. Mocap is, thus, simply a set of values for each sensor at a specific time, which is then transferred to the object inside a computer. The concept is similar to a puppet system – here though, the strings correspond to the sensors and transfer the movements of the performer on to the puppet in the computer.
In 2018, Famous partnered with Centroid, a British Motion Capture (mocap) specialist to setup a facility in Mumbai. For over two decades, Centroid has supplied the highest standard of motion capture and animation services to numerous blockbuster movies and AAA games. They have worked on major Hollywood projects, films and AAA games such as Spectre, Beauty and the Beast, Bohemian Rhapsody, Guardians of the Galaxy, Planet of the Apes and Assassin’s Creed. Roongta elaborated, “We have setup a dedicated studio in Mumbai to build India’s first international-grade mocap studio, spanning over 1500 square feet, which houses technologies capable of producing live on-set capture, virtual production, cinema layout, crowd simulation, and facial as well as body animation. We were the first studio to use mocap as a tool to deliver high-end VFX for a Panasonic Batteries commercial - starring P V Sindhu, India’s ace shuttler.”
The shoot, which took place in London, captured a body-double in a mocap suit with the use of optical cameras to capture the true movement of the athlete, which was then converted into a robot at its VFX facility in Mumbai. The data captured by the cameras was sent to Famous’ team of artists, who designed and animated an exact robot that fit the specs of the movement. “This process was extremely challenging and a first for the TV commercial industry in India. The USP for this project was our turnkey offering to the client, from production all the way to post production, VFX and final delivery,” added Roongta. The 2017 Panasonic batteries commercial which featured ace badminton player, P V Sindhu, used mocap in its post-production phase.
With new technologies being unfurled every day in the post-production space, and with them being available at one’s beck and call, post-producers are spoilt for choice – in terms of choosing the right product and letting their creativity know no bounds. Those who’ve been in a studio or a shoot, have heard the statement, ‘let’s do it in post’ a fairly large number of times. The fact that post-production offers a whole cosmos of techniques and steps under its shed, it can be deemed an equally imperative element of the filmmaking process, as is production itself. With the advent of digital editing softwares, the possibilities have increased manifold and so have variations. The post-producer is the painter and the film is his canvas.
This is good news for us; who doesn’t love being captivated by breath-taking visuals, after-all?