Motion Capture is recreating the past in a new Dambusters film


CAMERA were thrilled to host Film Producer Andrew Panton in the studio recently. Andrew is part of a small production team who have been working on a part of the Dambusters story not featured in the original 1955 Dambusters film.

Narrated by the last surviving Dambuster, George “Johnny” Johnson, now aged 99, the film features the story of how the Sorpe dam was attacked. On the night of May 16 1943, Johnny aged 21, was a bomb aimer on Lancaster AJ-T ED825 that attacked the Sorpe dam. The film provides Johnny with an opportunity to tell his story, in his own words, as he relives some of the most important parts of the Dambusters operation.

The film’s producer Andrew Panton commented. “I wanted the film to provide an accurate representation of what actually happened and to tell the story in a very visually stimulating way. With this in mind I decided to bring a fresh perspective to some of the scenes, by using green screen effects and digital animations. This involved using a 3D Dambuster Lancaster model, as well as digitally recreating the scenery of the airfield at RAF Scampton and at the Sorpe dam, as it would have looked like in May 1943. Some of these scenes will include “digital” characters and this is where I enlisted the help of Martin Parsons and his team, at the Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications (CAMERA) at University of Bath. In the CAMERA studio I was able to act out specific movements and have these motion captured. This motion capture will be applied to specific RAF aircrew digital characters that will be used in some scenes of the film. I was very impressed with the team at CAMERA and feel the output from this work will help create some very interesting film sequences.”

The team at CAMERA used our 78-camera photogrammetry setup to scan Andrew in RAF uniform in various poses and with different accessories.  The scans will be used to create digital characters.  Andrew’s motion performance for the characters was captured using a 20-camera Vicon optical motion capture system.

For more information on the project watch Andrew as he is interviewed for BBC Lunchtime News.

There is also a full write up about the new film in the Wingleader magazine Issue 5 from pages 53 to 60.  

Keep Up To Date?

Join Our Centre Newsletter