Computer Graphics World

July / August 2016

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20 cgw j u ly . a u g u s t 2 0 1 6 (2011). But, with Weta Digital's experience on Planet of the Apes, The Hobbit, and other films in the years since, much about the process has changed. M O O D Y M O C A P "I think Steven was a little bit worried at first, and then he was amazed by the changes," Letteri says. "At first he dropped into Tintin mode – do a little animation, block out the scenes. The big change was bringing that onto a live-action stage." The changes began with the motion- capture stage itself. "For Tintin, the sets were gray rooms with tape on the floor and chicken-wire walls and tables," Williams says. "A prop for a mug might be a coffee can painted gray with tracking markers. But now we can capture data outside in an environment with actors on a live-action set." Thus, the crew decided to move the tech- nology they had used outside for the Apes movies, inside for BFG. That meant the envi- ronment inside a motion-capture volume no longer needed to be chicken wire, and props no longer needed tracking markers. "Mark Rylance is a great actor," Letteri says. "We wanted to make him and Ruby comfortable by having the two of them act on stage, so we created a theatrical stage. It was the first time we combined the two ways we motion-capture: We dressed the motion-capture volume like a stage set. We started calling it 'moody mocap.'" The table Rylance touched in BFG's cot- tage was handcraed. He could handle real pots and pans. He could walk to a real door. "We didn't spend two million dollars on the set, but it was nice," Williams says. "We could have shot it. We could dim down the lights. There was light coming in the window and firelight in the fireplace. We told [Rylance] he could pick up any- thing he wanted. We could track it later. We didn't want to dilute his process to fit our technology." Although the crew experimented with having Rylance in a costume, he wore a motion-capture suit instead. "He didn't need the costume," Letteri says. "But he did have a mesh cape when he needed it." He also wore Weta Digital's facial capture system – a helmet with one camera. "We kept the facial capture technology the same," Letteri says. "We're already capturing HD data; we can't get much more out of it. Most of the work happens back at Weta Digital, trying to read the information and apply it better to the character. We use only one camera be- cause it's lighter weight and less obtru- sive, which makes the filming easier, but it's harder technically." ACTOR RUBY BARNHILL, WHO PLAYS SOPHIE, HUGS A LARGE JAR BENEATH A HUGE TABLE TO MAKE HER SEEM VERY SMALL. MARK RYLANCE WAS MOCAPPED IN A FURNISHED SET WITH A HUMAN-SIZE TABLE. WETA CALLS IT "MOODY MOTION CAPTURE." A DOLL SOMETIMES STOOD IN FOR RUBY BARNHILL.

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