This week I had the opportunity to direct a couple of scenes and have a better idea of the demands of directing a Mocap scene. Also, I had the great pleasure to have my 6 year old daughter Estela as our very special guest mocap artist. Not only was this a chance to show my proud Dad face to the team, I was also very curious to know how capturing the movements of a child would play out. Children are not small adults: They have a different center of gravity as well as unique proportions - big head, tiny shoulders - and the skeleton rig in Motive is clearly set for a grown up.
The first challenge was to find an Optitrack suit that could fit her, so we ended up with a size small top, heavily customized with foldings and tape. The trackers on the legs had to be taped. This shows how important a good suit must be, since any strange fold or lose seam generated extra effort, with falling trackers and strange occlusions. Luckily, after taping the trackers the system managed to generated a working skeleton for a 6 year old.
Directing a MOCAP scene requires great concentration from the team and actors alike, as well as synchronicity between Mocap engineer at the station, the director and the actor. Double so when having small children at the studio. Careful actor placement and rehearsal before takes are necessary in order for not only generate a cleaner mocap data capture, but to help the actors immerse themselves in the imaginary scene set by the director. Without clear job distribution, the actor might become overwhelmed by different directors barking conflicting scenarios.
While capturing Estela and Ridwan, the team seemed to give me the voice to direct - it was MY daughter after all. Ridwan showed tenderness and tact while dancing and interacting with this little girl, making for an enjoyable and funny recording session.