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How Actors Train For Motion Capture Roles | Movies Insider


Easy. Don’t, don’t. And cut. Hi, I’m Caroline. I’m at House of Moves in Los Angeles, and today I’m gonna learn how
to act for motion capture. I’m gonna get suited up. I don’t know what I’m
gonna look like on-screen, but let’s find out. House of Moves has been
the stage for many projects in TV, film, and video
games that involve motion and performance capture. I’ve seen plenty of
videos of actors wearing these suits covered in
dots or Ping-Pong balls. Did I have what it takes to
be the next Caesar or Alita? To coach me through it, we
met with one of the best in the business, Richard Dorton. He’s a professional
motion-capture actor and a teacher at The Mocap Vaults. His résumé is extensive. Richard: If you’ve played a video game, you’ve probably killed me. Caroline: He gave me some
valuable acting tips, and then I put them to the test. But first, a little background on motion and performance capture. Richard: Motion capture came
out of the medical industry. They were capturing the moves of peoples walks, their gaits, they were studying it for medical reasons. As it moved into the
entertainment industry, motion capture was used for video-game characters. And performance capture, that grew out of “The Polar Express,” the
movie with Tom Hanks. He coined the phrase “performance capture” because we were now capturing
the body with the face and with the voice. Caroline: Motion and performance
capture are responsible for some amazing performances. Now it was my turn to get suited up. It’s not itchy or anything,
so it’s pretty comfortable. It’s kinda like your workout clothes. This is fun. I was covered head-to-toe
in these reflective markers, which are actually made
from ground-up glass. They’ll help capture movement
from all different parts of my body. Why do I feel like a mannequin? Through some sort of
miracle of technology, I was going to be transformed
into one of the creatures from the 2016 online game “Paragon.” I would be a character named
Grux, and this soldier. But first, I had to get a full-body scan. Motion-capture artist: Lean forward. Lean back. Side-to-side. Twist. Twist. Reach up to the sky. Richard: Your range of motion,
we do this so that we can, when we put the animated
character on top of you, we can see that it has
a full range of motion. It’s just basically getting the system to recognize your skeleton. In the game industry, we
have to fake everything, and motion capture’s all
about pure imagination. So you have to imagine the environment. You have to create the
environment with your body. Caroline: And with that, it
was time to start faking. The scene: a dark, grimy subway station. I started off as Grux. Needless to say, Grux doesn’t
look anything like me. Richard: So for Grux, we want this big, hulking character, right? But we’ve now gotta bring
the weight and the heaviness to this character ’cause
he’s vicious character. So it’s all about how you center yourself, how you center your weight. Walking is really important. We wanna figure out how, how he moves. How we can stay center. And you’re holding your breath. Yeah. You need to breathe. Your breath should help…
I’m nervous. It’s gonna help create
this character, you know? Caroline: It was a little nerve-racking at first, but after a while, I started to get the hang of it. So I should breathe heavily.
How does he breathe? Caroline: Dorton told me to
find the animal that Grux is most similar to and try to imitate what that real-life animal is like. We landed on a rhino. Once I could walk like a
mocap monster, I had to adjust to holding weapons. So let’s give you something to swing. Oh. OK, wow, I’m sweating. And now, because these are
lighter weight, lightweight, you have to bring the weight to them. You have to make them heavy. But you’re a big, you’re a
big creature, so it’s gonna… I have zero arm strength,
so they’re pretty heavy. This is good. But let’s just take a, let’s just take a swing to the right. And to the left. Caroline: Maybe the most important part, a trademark roar. Oh, OK. You gotta have your big growl. It’s gonna be loud. That’s why we’re here. We just have to find
where, where this monster is inside of you. You’re a very happy, nice person. You’ve gotta get angry. You’ve
gotta get a little tough. You gotta get a little meaner. Caroline: Once I felt more comfortable and found a character
motivation, I was ready to fight! Richard: What the hell is that? Easy. Don’t, don’t, don’t make, please don’t. Caroline: [Growling] Richard: So creating that kind
of monster, heavy characters, that’s one thing that we do. Now, you have to be a believable person. OK, well now I’m gonna be the soldier. God, I’m losing my voice already. I really got into character there. Caroline: There were some key differences to playing the soldier. This time, my breaths had to be quieter. Rather than being big and intimidating, my body movements needed
to express plausible fear. Richard: [Growling] And up, T-pose. Caroline: The real key to
giving a great mocap performance is actually pretty straightforward. Richard: The technology has really helped performance capture. There were certain things
we couldn’t do early on. We couldn’t cross our
arms because the markers would get blocked. I tell my students, “Don’t
let the technology interfere with your performance.
That’s not your job. Your job is to perform,
and the postproduction, it’s their job to fix it if they need to.” Caroline: This was awesome. This was unlike anything
I’ve ever tried before. I am exhausted. I’m losing my voice from all the growling and all the movements that I was doing. But once you kinda get into the character, you feel like it’s, it comes
like second nature to you. With, like, you don’t feel
like you’re wearing a suit or anything, and, like, your weapons become your actual weapons. I think the most important
thing Richard taught me was to really get in character
and just imagine everything. Like imagine where I am, imagine where the character
is, and just go for it. This is my runway walk.

100 Comments

  1. Hidden Spirit Author

    Takes you a few hours to learn and apply acting but about a quarter of our lives learning in school with results not much better or worse.

    Reply
  2. Aquarity Author

    I love how after they act the scenes, they're like "Okie. Get up" especially after being the intimidating character. That's funny

    Reply
  3. Jezreel Santos Author

    now you wonder and realize your current job is sucks, sitting tabe, non stop encoding and most of all faking on your boss and toxic co workmates how stupid it is..

    Reply

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