motion capture

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There’s a story about how the normally jovial and kind-hearted Ian McKellen lost his cool in the first days of filming The Hobbit trilogy when he looked around the set and realized he was acting against a bunch of photos of actors attached to sticks standing in for dwarves. In case you’ve never tried it, acting with a bunch of faces on sticks isn’t easy, as acting against inanimate objects because of modern film technology is sometimes cumbersome to giving a human performance. But what if the character you’re playing isn’t human? Motion capture technology is the method that director Joss Whedon chose to bring the titular villain to life in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and according to Whedon, the outfit and the technology actually helped actor James Spader get in touch with his inner-robot. (more…)

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When motion capture performance became a thing at the beginning of the 21st century, Andy Serkis was at the forefront, and it was his dedication and talent playing Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy that made people realize this was an extremely effective tool in creating a new kind of performance on film. Still, like most technological evolutions in Hollywood, there has yet to be a lot of love for it from the establishment, and by that we mean major awards consideration. There’s been talk before of Serkis getting a nod for Lord of the Rings or other roles where his performance has been motion captured, but Twentieth Century Fox is now apparently getting ready to make a serious push for Serkis to get an Academy Award nomination for his work in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. (more…)

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The critical and commercial success of X-Men: Days of Future Past proved that there’s still a lot of life in the X-Men as a film franchise. But while we’ve heard a lot about Sony Pictures specific plans to franchise random Spider-Man characters, even in spite of the lackluster returns of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it’s been mostly quiet over at Twentieth Century Fox aside from one announcement that the next X-Men film, Apocalypse, was in development. Although there’s occasionally talk of another spin-off film aside from the next Wolverine solo adventure, such as Jeff Wadlow’s X-Force project, there’s mostly been long periods of silence between small bits of news about process.

And then something weird happened. Either by accident or on purpose, test footage for a Deadpool film hit the internet last weekend as San Diego Comic Con, and its drought of genuine movie news, came to a close. Although fans were uncertain of the degree of legitimacy the nearly two-minute clip actually had, it was soon revealed by the production company that made it, the Culver City-based Blur Studios, that this was indeed commissioned by 20th Century Fox to do a proof of concept for an ultra-violent, hard-R-rated Deadpool movie. Now the question for the many Deadpool fans around the world is, would such a movie be allowed to come to fruition from a major Hollywood studio? And the answer, despite Blur’s instantaneous success in capturing the character on film, is no. (more…)

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Few actors are as well-known as Andy Serkis, at least for performers who rarely show their human face on-screen. Serkis has been on the forefront of the motion-capture revolution, a category of performance where one acts out a role that will be portrayed by a computer graphic imaging (CGI) creation in the finished film. Serkis has done this as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films, as the title character in King King, and as Cesar in now two chapters of The Planet of the Apes series. Now the question is, will Serkis be playing a motion-capture, or mo-cap, part in Star Wars Episode VII, or will fans get a rare look at the actor’s face? In a recent interview, Serkis offered an ambiguous answer… (more…)

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Motion capture performance works by using reflective markers attached to the skin that help identify and replicate body movement and facial expressions so that animators can later create a complete digital character. Where filmmakers once relied on prosthetics and heavy layers of makeup, now it’s all about utilizing computers to create lifelike realism. With each innovative film (The Lord of the RingsKing KongRise of the Planet of the Apes), the technology is perfected just a tiny bit more, to the point that it’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the flesh and blood actors and the animated characters they interact with. And at the center of nearly every great motion capture performance thus far is one man: Andy Serkis.

Now Serkis is bringing his one-of-a-kind skills back to the Apes franchise for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Today, a new featurette gives us a glimpse of the master and his fellow mo-cap performers at work, and it’s fascinating to see a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the artists’ process.

(more…)

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 “PUNY HOBBITSES!”

2015 will be a busy year for actor/stunt man/mo-cap artist extraordinaire Andy Serkis. Not only has he been confirmed as a cast member of what will likely be the biggest movie of the decade (y’know? This little picture?), but apparently just before that he’ll be mentoring Mark “The Incredible Hulk” Ruffalo in the finer points of motion-capture perfomance for Avengers: Age of Ultron. More after the jumpy-thingy: (more…)

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The first taste of Benedict Cumberbatch‘s Smaug from The Desolation of Smaug trailer was incredible. The voice they’ve managed to create is both terrifying and masterful, suiting the imposing dragon perfectly. Along with the voice, Cumberbatch has also provided motion capture work for animators to work his facial expressions into the Smaug design. And to provide us with some damn funny shots of the one and only, CumberSmaug. (more…)

Ferrigno Declares Self the Ultimate Hulk Actor

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Mark Ruffalo got a lot of positive reaction to his portrayal as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in last summer’s The Avengers, and while some have said that his iteration of the character is “The Best” ever put to screen, is Ruffalo truly the best Hulk?

Well one other actor who played the Hulk is staking a claim. Lou Ferrigno played the Green Goliath in the 1977-82 TV series The Incredible Hulk, as well as in a number of follow-up TV movies. Ferrigno says that no one can play the Hulk like he could because Eric Bana, Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulks were all brought to life through CGI and motion capture, and not because the actors themselves bulked up and slathered on green pant. The difference, according to Ferrigno, is that feeling of reality.

“I was the first to bring superhero muscles to the screen and to make it more believable. There’s still people who prefer to watch the old show over the newer things because it’s real, not CGI,” Ferrigno told The LA Times. “The Hulk was the beginning of me, a platform as an actor to grow. I don’t think anybody else can play the Hulk like I could. I was able to show emotions even with all of the makeup. I don’t think it can be duplicated.”

He may have a point, but then again ask anybody if motion capture can’t render (pun intended) a great performance and they’ll point you to Andy Serkis as Gollum in the Lord of the Ring movies among others. Still, Ferrigno deserves some credit for being the first live-action Hulk, and for doing it without computer graphics assistance.

What do you Bastards think, is their a better Hulk than Ferrigno, or is it reality for the win?

Source: Comic Book Movie

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So, by now, just about every Bat-fan out there is aware of the Arkham series, and of those people, just about every one of them is gearing up for Batman: Arkham Origins, releasing October 25th. Origins will obviously serve as the prequel to the hit game series, and is also the first to be developed by outside of Rocksteady’s studio. Despite this, we’ve only seen improvements upon the formula that we’ve come to love, thanks to Warner Bros. Games Montréal.

Earlier today, a clip of the game’s motion capture was released, and while nothing too revealing was shown, it’s always cool to get a behind the scenes look at how something like this is made. In the video, they take a look at a couple of pivotal scenes in the game, but they are scenes that we already know about from previously released trailers, namely the Bruce-Alfred one. Personally, I’m really looking forward to playing out this early relationship between the Dark Knight and his butler, as it’s something we haven’t been able to do before, and is completely different from what we have been able to do so far.

Another reason to be excited about October 25th is the release of Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate, which isn’t handheld port of the game, but an entirely different game in and of itself. The game will feature its own original story, taking place after the events of Origins, and will feature Metroid-style gameplay. The latest trailer for the game was released today, and you can view it below.

It doesn’t look like the game is being held back all that much by the limitations of handheld devices, and the gameplay looks like an awesome melding of what we love about Arkham with side-scrolling action. It looks like my wallet is gonna be hurting, come November.

[Coming Soon]

[Coming Soon]

Serkis Talks Next ‘Apes’ and ‘Animal Farm’

You’d think all that anyone would want to talk to Andy Serkis about this week is The Hobbit, but nein, Serkis has got a lot going on, and just one of those things is The Hobbit trilogy.

In this case, Coming Soon talked to Serkis about a pair of interesting projects, Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and his own feature-directorial debut Animal Farm. Both are highly anticipated projects, so what new updates can Serkis give us on them? Let’s ask.

First of all Apes, sequel to the prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Serkis says he’s met with director Reeves and that they’ve talked about the direction of the next film and the ape rebel leader Caesar (played by Serkis):

“The interesting thing now will be how Caesar operates in this world – because of the virus that hits at the end of the first movie – and how Caesar brings an accord between the apes and the surviving humans and that’s going to be interesting where we take that.”

Production on Dawn will begin sometime in the new year for a May 2014 release.

Meanwhile, progress is moving forward on Serkis’ adaptation of Animal Farm, the classic George Orwell novel about utopia gone wrong. Step one, updating the nearly 70-year-old book to better suit a modern audience while still staying true to the source material and Orwell’s voice.

“[We’re] taking it from the point of view if Orwell were writing Animal Farm for today, where would the targets be? It’s a fairy tale and we’re keeping it as a fairy tale and a fable, which will allow us to satirically pick our target.”

Step two, perfecting the tools. Serkis also talked about the process for making the film which will combine performance capture, facial performance capture and puppetering, which will take place at Serkis’ own The Imaginarium, his London-based performance capture studio.

“Because of the way of shooting it using performance capture, you can pre-vis and you can start working on it now, so we’re very much into it in terms of character designs, concept, art department, all of that stuff is going on right now and we aim to shoot it at the end of 2013.”

Sounds like good watching. For the record, despite its renown and popularity, Animal Farm has only been adapted twice for screen, once in a 1954 animated film and then in a 1999 TV movie. So this could be interesting.

Stay tuned for more news.

Source: Screen Rant