Motion captured animation, rendered and composited in real time
For the 2005 GM Theater at NAIAS, Mediascape, with Jack Morton Worldwide and RFG Productions, won the MCAI best of show award for the CADWoman presentation. It was the second consecutive best of show award for that team, since the previous year’s award for a project at Epcot. We also won the gold awards in the categories of “External Communications” and “Live Events/Business Theater” with Universal Images, our Graphics and Editing partner on the project. Mediascape’s primary role in this project was the development of the technology framework, which required a considerable amount of advanced software and hardware.
Beginning with the GM supplied LED wall, Mediascape worked with Jack Morton to explore the possible effects. The conclusion was reached to perform real time, wireless motion capture with a performer who, as CADWoman, would appear and interact in a virtual world. The virtual world would be comprised of pre-rendered elements, and real time representations of the performer. Live action footage with a pre-rendered version of the character would also be included.
The message and appearance of the show was developed by a collaborative team including Jack Morton, RFG Productions, Universal Images, Paul King and the GM client. In a whirlwind 2 month period, the scripts, styles and choreography were refined by Jack Morton, Paul King and others. Miles of live footage were shot on location by RFG Productions, hundreds of hours of animation design, rendering and editing were produced by Universal Images and audio mixes were developed by Gold Sound. Mediascape developed the custom show control software and hardware that enabled the capture and display of the performer’s live motion, with virtual element interaction, while composited, with matching camera moves, into pre-rendered animated backgrounds.
As the show presented live theater in a virtual world, Mediascape also provided daily support for the equipment and performers who effectively walked a technical tight rope at a level of complexity that had never before been delivered live. In the end, as intended, all the technology was transparent to the audience who were transfixed by a seamless combination of live and animated narration that told the story of GM’s alternative energy accomplishments and kept them spellbound as they stood for a full 14 minutes.