Monday, February 6, 2012

Kochadaiyaan progressing rapidly and Motion Capture


I am no Cinema buff – but do read and write a lot of Cricket matches and its trivia.    Recently, the famous film Avatar was aired on TV and I occasioned to see most of it.  It was complex science fiction of James Cameron set on the story of humans mining precious mineral unobtanium on Pandora, a lush habitable moon in  Alpha Centauri – there were genetically engineered Navi human hybrid bodies and there was the usual love story !

When I was in school, the film Apporva Raagangal was much spoken of – a film of K Balachandar dwelling on controversial relationship between people with wide age gaps.  It was a film where Rajnikanth debuted in a negative role.  After a brief phase of such antagonistic characters, he rose to become an established actor and gained idol status – of the recent past, a hype surrounds his every move !

In tinseldom, they innovate reasons for celebrations – film running 4 weeks !; 50 days; 100 days; 100 shows – to the recent wisdom of song recording, release of audio, making of audio, preview and what not ? – still an advertisement that ‘progressing rapidly’ is perhaps another new !!

As usual there is much hype about “Kochadaiyaan” – the new venture of Rajni, to be directed by Soundarya R. Ashwin and written by K. S. Ravikumar.  The film,  is reported to be shot with motion capture in 3D, will have cinematography handled by Rajiv Menon. In the advertisement released in all prominent dailies today [6th Feb 12] it claims to be “India’s first performance capture photorealistic film.”.  Sure more people will be writing on Rajnikanth playing a long-haired, eighth century Pandya king known for his legendary valour. 

The motion capture is reportedly an animation technique used by Steven Spielberg for The Adventures of Tintin. The producers of Kochadaiyaan call it “performance capture”.  In motion capture, the actors wear body suits with reflective magnetic markers which will plot their movements and expressions through several digital cameras and impart them to animated characters using high-end computers and software. This technique makes animation close to natural and captures even the subtle expressions and movements of body parts as one saw in Avatar or Tintin. I am not too sure whether the technology or adaptation of dance sequence in Sankar film ‘Jeans’ in which Aiswarya Rai would dance with skeleton  - shown as morphed by sensors to represent movements by another actor is one of motion tracking ?

Read that  Motion capture, motion tracking, or mocap are terms used to describe the process of recording movement and translating that movement on to a digital model.  They are used in varied fields including military. In filmmaking, it refers to recording actions of human actors, and using that information to animate digital character models in 2D or 3D computer animation. When it includes face and fingers or captures subtle expressions, it is often referred to as performance capture.  In the film Avtaar, there was the system for lighting massive areas like Pandora's jungle,  and an improved method of capturing facial expressions, enabling full performance capture. To achieve the face capturing, actors wore individually made skull caps fitted with a tiny camera positioned in front of the actors' faces; the information collected about their facial expressions and eyes is then transmitted to computers.   A technically challenging scene was near the end of the film when the computer-generated Neytiri held the live action Jake in human form, and attention was given to the details of the shadows and reflected light between them.

There have been some great films in the Hollywood using revolutionary computer graphics and Avtaar, Lord of Rings, Matrix would all sure rank amongst them – and perhaps the Star War series set the tone for all these.  Understand that in earlier times, they used to manipulate setting strategic frames and making computer interpolate in a process known as keyframing.  In contrast, the motion capture uses live action – a real performer acts out the scene as if they were the character to be animated.  That motion is recorded and applied to animated character. 

In Cine-field, most action is un-real – great fight scenes are enacted  by stuntmen masking and duping for the real hero and this is a different type of hero duping for the animated character, perhaps !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

2 comments:

  1. cineme, cinema, cine - MGR, Sivaji, NTR, Rajkumar ellarume famous aanathu ithele thaan.. tamilaga makkal padam paarthu mayangum muttalgal - vaiyapuri

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  2. Superstar rajinikanth is back with his new upcoming film Kochadaiyaan with the bollywood beauty deepika padukone.The stills were rocking.We r waiting for the film

    For online booking click here
    Kochadaiyaan online booking

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