Blog Post

Hellblade Motion Capture tech 0 31 August 2016

Motion Capture in the Media

Epic Technology

Epic Studios was the first ever ‘virtual studio’ for news in the UK during its Anglia News years in the 90s. Our studios were also home to the award-winning virtual reality children’s cult classic game show Knightmare – which (inspired by green screen weather reports) was again the first of its kind.

Later, Epic Studios’ sister company Extreme Video would become the new tech innovators, By the year 2000, they were providing around two thirds of extreme camera work to productions around the UK and Europe (including Top Gear); and soon after that EV Offshore was designing and building high pressure and temperature cameras, of a quality never before achieved in the oil industry. EV is now the global leader in downhole video technology.

Magical Mocap

As you can imagine, with all these achievements in our history, staff and crew at Epic Studios and EV take an active interest in, and are fascinated by, progressing media technologies. The latest tech to have really captured the imagination of our operators and engineers are recent advances in motion capture tech.

Did you catch Bjork’s live 3D ‘Mocap’ stream? We love this! Take a look:

We first saw this technology demonstrated at the 2016 Game Developer Conference.
Epic Games collaborated with Ninja Theory to develop groundbreaking real-time motion capture that was showcased in association with the NT Viking psycho-thriller game, Hellblade. Ninja Theory refers to it as “real-time cinematography”.

The new technology captures an actor’s performance and transfers it into Sequencer, where manipulations can be made, in a way similar to editing in a programme such as Adobe’s Premiere-Pro. Ninja Theory’s Hellblade demo featured actress Melina Juergens being streamed through Unreal Engine, showing subtle emotions in a way we have never seen in gaming before. When she spoke, so did her virtual character; when tears welled up in her eyes, or she blinked, her character’s face showed the same detail.

CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney said: “It’s really getting hard to distinguish between computer graphics and reality. You can see this leading to something like the Metaverse in science fiction. There’s no question that what the camera was to the 20th century, the game engine is today”.

Steven Spielberg’s remake of “The BFG” is another example we have seen of motion capture really bringing a character to life in recent weeks. Considering he is playing a character who is not even human, Rylance’s motion capture performance brings an unexpected humanity to the film.

“There are thousands of effects shots. I think it’s the most ambitious motion capture of a character that any film has ever done,” said the multi-award winning filmmaker.

Tech progressions

Ever looking forward, Epic Studios are curious to see what’s next. As Sweeney suggested, we may well be seeing motion capture being used in even more exciting ways very soon!

“Canned VR experiences just scratch the surface of the platform’s true potential. Today’s live motion capture stream, where Bjork heard, saw and responded to an audience in immediate, fluid render represents a major leap forward toward the near future where individuals can be placed at the center of real, live performances and entertainment experiences, from concerts to speeches and sports events, via VR.” (Taken from Björk’s ‘Vulnicura’ Album press release)

Meanwhile, if you want your tech fix, Hellblade is due for release 1st December.

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