Bristol Old Vic Theatre School Workshops
Earlier this year Bristol Old Vic Theatre School students, alongside Richard Maxwell (Head of Film and TV Production), Jenny Stephens (Artistic Director), and Michelle Gaskell (Movement and Dance Tutor), took part in a series of two-day motion capture workshops at the CAMERA studio.
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (BOVTS) is one of the most successful and well-respected conservatoire drama schools in the UK. Courses are recognised nationally and internationally as a benchmark of quality in professional acting, technical, production and management training.
The workshops, as well as being very enjoyable for all involved, allowed students to gain an invaluable experience in motion capture and virtual reality technology; likely to become pivotal in acting and actors’ training in the future — and one which can now be added to their Spotlight CVs. Students learnt about different poses used in calibrating motion capture systems and standard range of movement tests. They gained an awareness of the mo-cap suits, as well as facial and markerless capture.
CAMERA had been working alongside The Imaginarium on Human-to-Animal animation research and development. The workshops with BOVTS allowed the centre’s researchers to gain valuable data for this Innovate UK-funded B2A (biped to animal) tool; which automatically retargets bipedal human motion onto a quadruped.
CAMERA’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership Research Associate, Dr Sinan Mutlu, asked students to act out various scenes from Animal Farm (a high profile production planned at the time) as well as testing a range of animalistic locomotion cycles and choreographed movements. Students used crutches to walk on all fours and experimented with changing the proportions of their performances between human and animal to power a digital avatar. This allowed Sinan collect a large amount of raw data which can then be used to refine prototype algorithms.
All in all, the workshops proved to be hugely successful and beneficial to both the BOVTS students and to our research at CAMERA. Since the workshops have taken place, BOVTS student Jyuddah Muzahura returned to the CAMERA studio to work alongside Aardman on a commercial test. We hope that our partnership with the Theatre School will allow for ongoing curriculum enhancement and equally successful research opportunities in the future.