Sunday, October 21, 2012

Performance Capture

SAG Creates Committee to Address Performance Capture

Performance Capture is how we, as talent, prefer to look upon what the industry calls "motion capture." It involves the capture for computers of large and subtle movements fed into a computer bank and altered to fit the needs of the scene, the character generated by the computer or the whim of the film maker. It is far more than capturing an image. Performance Capture involves capturing the heart and soul of a performance and a performers talents for use later in a the new technology of computer generated imagery.

Another way of looking at it is The use of an actor to create the actions or to act our movements and scenes which are then digitized and used as the basis of a “computer generated” character or object. Also known as “Movement Capture” or “Motion Capture”. Actors are championing the term “performance capture” because it implies an actor’s creative control over character through movement and performance. Producers go for the more technical “motion capture” because it implies that the real art and creation is not in the movements caught on the computer, but in the work done by technicians on characters who never existed in the “real world.”

To deal with this new media growth area, the Screen Actors Guild has formed a Performance Capture Committee. I serve on that committee as an alternate, due to my status as co-chair or New Technologies and a members of the New Media Task Force. The Screen Actors Guild reports on the formation of the committee. Currently we are looking for performers who have actively worked on performance capture projects to work with the committee and the Guild. 

"In December, we had a meeting of performance capture actors both in feature film and video games at SAG and we opened it up to anyone who ever worked in that field, whether union or non-union,” said Woody Schultz, National Performance Committee Chair. “It was mainly to hear from actors who had experience, the positive and negative, and if there were issues that they felt needed to be addressed. It was a forum for people to speak their minds and ask questions and offer information.”

The meeting, organized by the TV/Theatrical Standing Committee and Contracts Department staff, proved a productive exchange of information. Out of that meeting, the committee was recommended. The National Board agreed and officially formed the committee at its winter plenary earlier this year.

After spearheading the December meeting, Schultz was named by the board as national chair of the committee. Schultz has extensive experience in this area, including work on films such as Beowulf, The Polar Express and Avatar.

The committee hopes to raise awareness about this important area of work and will investigate and give voice to the unique concerns and experiences of those members rendering performances across all media that are recorded using performance capture technology.

The Spring edition of Screen Actor Magazine will include a series of stories caputuring the essence of the art from a performers perspective.

See also SAG Website.

Motion Capture

 Performance Capture.

and Avatar, Apple and...

First posted 4/18/2010

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