Serkis and Weta Talk Dawn Performance Capture

From the outset, with that tight close-up of Caesar’s face, it’s clear that Andy Serkis and Weta Digital have taken performance capture to a whole new realm of photo-reality. The detail and emotional intensity are extraordinary. We’re not even aware that Caesar is CG anymore. We are totally immersed in the moment and from there it just gets better as we witness the complexity of Caesar’s epic struggle.

As director Matt Reeves suggests, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is like The Godfather and Caesar is the Don: compassionate yet conflicted leader of the simian race as well as husband and father. And it’s time that this crucial collaboration between Weta and Serkis be better understood and appreciated for this remarkable, Oscar-worthy achievement.

To meet the photo-real demands of shooting on location principally in Muir Woods, Weta revamped its performance capture system, including bodysuits, cameras, markers, lighting and simulation of fur, skin, moisture, and especially the eyes. Added detail and fidelity of performance weren’t enough: the process had to hold up to the rough elements as well as the scrutiny of IMAX 3-D, which provides further depth and dynamic composition.

“What is extraordinary is how truthful the underlying performance has been rendered by the artists at Weta and it’s an incredible experience to see what you have authored being translated in that way. It is all about the underlying emotion,” Serkis boasts.

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Movies, Oscar, performance capture, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production

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