The Artlab team returned to the Deakin University Motion Capture Studios on November 12, 2012 for two weeks. This was the beginning of a series of complex discussions and experimentation continuing on from our first visit using avatars and 3D imaging and projection work. One of the first realisations was that the figures could be less representational more expressive in 3D, using visual appearance as a metaphor while maintaining a Victorian quality appropriate to the play, GHOSTS.
Over the first few days, there was a focus on using the 3D projections as a set that performed.
First, to work on Mrs Alving's house ...
Some of the first questions we asked the Motion Capture crew were:
- Could the house be a simple series of movable boxes and frames?
- How many doors could there be, and how could they be used?
- Could the house be a number of independent movable rectangles?
- How can we make the environment look solid and rigid, and how do we create wallpapers and textures?
- Could the windows provide a portal?
Discovering the differences in terminology used by the Motion Capture team and ARTLAB crews in relation to the task proved challenging at first; with the MoCap crew being familiar with animation and computer based processes, and the ARTLAB crew more attune to theatrical / creative based processes which are longer, more fragmented and ever changing.
The ARTLAB team were curious as to the process and length of time it took to make the rectangles, and the system of suiting someone up in a MoCap suit, calibrate them and getting an Avatar to work.
While the MoCap crew got to work on building us a house, the actors did script work downstairs.
Later we returned to the Motion Capture Studio to watch the set ideas work in 3D.
Some of the first observations were:
- That the viewing angle is vastly different for each audience member, and it is very difficult to make the live actor appear in the house for every audience member. Perhaps it is possible that the audience stand and move throughout the show?
- We could use scrim or transparancies at the front of the stage to reduce conflicts between whether the actor was inside or outside the house.
- The angle of the virtual set matching the real floor could add realism, helping the audience connect the onstage and virtual worlds.
- How do we rake the stage and angle the screen forward to create this sense of connection?
Playing with rectangles.
- A comfortable rule of 3D is that the object can come out of the screen, half way between the audience and the screen before it hurts your eyes.
- Particles are confusing to the eye, but things with mass and shadow sell as 3D.
- Avatars need mass to sell them as 3D.
- Virtual mass and quality of movement are important.
- Hard edged objects look more 3D.
- The house responds to the characters
- The characters can interact with the house
- The house becomes a character.
- The house has a life to it, it moves based on a low frequency sine wave.
- The house is building up and falling down as a response to key points in the play, the houses level of construction is a visual metaphor for the characters' inner drama, or the conflict.
- We need a midi controller to give use more options for the keyboard.
- Using stereo requires us to give-up some of the live control.
End of day discussion.