VFX Guest Column| Tech: Centroid's MoCap report card 2019 - Parth Shah -

Guest Column| Tech: Centroid’s MoCap report card 2019 – Parth Shah

2019 has been an exciting year for both Centroid UK and Centroid India. Centroid India started operating in January 2019 and was fortunate to work on five feature films, three games, one TV commercial and one TV series with India’s leading VFX, Game and Animation Studios. At present, Centroid India is one of the largest optical motion capture studios outside of the UK and USA, containing 32 cameras based in India’s Iconic Studio – Famous Studios, Mumbai.

Centroid also provides on-set motion capture solution, which can be achieved via optical or inertial shoots. On-set Motion Capture helps capture real actors, props and camera on location.

Along with standard performance capture service, Centroid also introduced several virtual production services such as real time compositing and combining real time CG characters on live action set, VR scouting, collaborative filmmaking, etc.

There has been a lot of innovations in motion capture industry and major advancements has been in facial animation. Both Gemini Man and The Irishman have taken de-aging to next level of quality.

Centroid’s focus in 2019 has been more towards development of Virtual Production. A few services and benefits are VR scouting (also known as Virtual Recce) where the entire crew can scout CG sets similar to a location recce and plan how to achieve the required shots. It can also be used to plan practical aspects of filming by deciding what camera, lens and lights to use. Following is an example of previsualizing complex stunt sequences which can be beneficial during production. This stage is also called stuntvis.

In Centroid, besides the hardware itself, there’s so much that goes on in post that makes centroid a great Performance Capture studio. Everything is timecode-synced, which is crucial in performance capture for many reasons – most specifically because of editing in our proprietary editing software called “Trimmer”.

Our post-production pipeline relies on accurately synced data – facial, audio, mocap, video – which is shared with client for editing selects – which gets sent to our Centroid Serbia, who tracks and cleans up selected data by client. We generate a lot of data per shoot, so we have custom scripts and software that are automating a lot of the post processes.

In films, performance capture is also useful to create realistic animation for creatures and crowd scenes. With extensive library of horse animation (which has been used in Game of Thrones fight sequences of Battle of Bastards and Spoils of War), Centroid provides great solution for crowd scenes. Another recent project where Centroid provided crowd animation is Bohemian Rhapsody, supplying data for the 80+ thousand crowd at Live Aid.

Realtime compositing and augmenting CG characters is another new service in Centroid’s palette.
Realtime compositing eliminates “staring chroma screen on set” and helps visualize CG set extensions in Realtime. This is useful in framing shots along with augmenting CG characters on set.
But the most important thing you absolutely need if you want to build the best performance-capture studio is a stellar team. There is no possible way anything like this can be put together without the most talented, passionate, and innovative team in the world. That said, I feel very fortunate to work with such amazing team across UK, Serbia and India.

(These are purely personal views of Centroid India studio director Parth Shah and AnimationXpress.com does not necessarily subscribe to these views).