In 2011, I travelled to the British Museum in London for a motion capture session with Goldsmiths University to learn more about the process of it. I wrote an article about the experience and posted it on Guns and Grapple, but now that The Sudden Stop is live, I thought it was time to revisit the article and fit it into the Alan Wake universe rather than Lara's. Since it was a session, of course everything couldn't be condensed into a couple of hours. After the original article went live, I received an email from the lovely organiser, Shelley Mannion, saying that the team at the museum spent about 10 hours before the session setting up the sensors and the technology to make everything work since it's quite precise.
|This honestly has to be the best photo ever taken of me.|
I arrived there forty minutes early at around 10am with my friend and since Starbucks is across the street, we decided to buy my third cup of coffee, which I consider to be the best but also the worst decision I made that day. Firstly I love Starbucks and this leads me to buy expensive beverages filled with caffeine, which I strongly approve of...besides the really expensive part. The only problem I had was that some of my family once worked at the museum, and I was trying to tone down the weirdness. Weirdness is good, but I don't think that explaining why Alan Wake* would have been even scarier with squirrels instead of birds, would have been classed as sane at the museum. I slightly feared that they would end up carrying me out on a handmade stretcher, similar to how they transport the Egyptian mummies through the departments.
We entered the museum twenty minutes before the session and decided to go and see the Rosetta stone. Doing work experience here had a benefit, not only is it one of the most gorgeous museums in London. I mean just look at this view, I had to pass this every day:
|I never got bored of it.|
The session began with the instructors going through the basics of motion capture and they explained that they used it for films such as AVATAR and Beowolf, and video games like Uncharted, before showing us the the suit and how the movements were recorded. The suit that the actor wore consisted of a hat, jacket, and trousers all with the little reflected markers which were connected with Velcro and easily detachable. The area itself was no bigger then a few metres but there was markers on the ground so you know how far you could go. There were eight cameras in the room in fixed points on the ceiling. If you are camera shy, being in the suit and having your motions captured probably wouldn't have been easy, all the cameras pointed at you and there were two huge screens showing what you're currently doing and during my session there were photographs being taken. Normally I am incredibly shy, but I really wanted to do the motion capturing. The screen on the right hand side of the room had a 3D figure walking around on a grid, whereas the left hand side screen showed the final product.
|I can't tell whether he's pointing or punching that character. Nevertheless, the talk was interesting!|
|It's what I do before murdering people with pillow cases on their heads...I now really hope you've seen the American Nightmare CES preview|
|It was also an incredibly fiddly suit, it had gloves to go over the hands. I had difficulty just with the hat let alone the entire suit. Plus my hair had to be placed in a bun because it would cover some of the sensors otherwise|
When we were able to record, the coffee kicked back in and the character ended up exploding randomly at the end since I accidentally stepped outside of the lines. The screen of the final product with the 2D character didn't interest me as much as the one on the right. On the right was a huge monitor which was operated by two computers, that screen showed exactly my actions on a 3D model which was awesome but also kind of off putting when you're doing the recording.
Thanks to everyone at the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre for doing the session, I had a really awesome time, and it was a topic that I had an interest in for a while but I didn't really have a chance to do motion capture before this. So thank you for setting up the cameras and being really awesome.
Also Remedy, Squirrels in Alan Wake would be absolutely terrifying. What happens if it steals a Thermos?
THE MOTION CAPTURE SESSION IMAGES ARE FROM:
The British Museum: Samsung Digital Discovery Center Flickr
Taken by Daniel McKenzie-Cosso