Saturday, 5 July 2014

Sabah Masood gets to grips with motion capture at Centroid

Vanya, Alex and Sabah
Bucks animation student Sabah Masood recently spent a week with Centroid, one of the UK's leading provider of motion capture services, getting to grips with the motion capture pipeline and learning the technical nuts and bolts of the process. We asked Sabah to tell us how it all went, and what we can learn from the professionals.

Shepperton Studios - home of Centroid
Bucks: You just completed an internship at Centroid – how did it go?

Sabah: My internship at Centroid was an excellent experience. Not only was I able to work on a live feature production, but I was treated as a trainee in learning the Cortex system. Cortex is the software used to process the motion capture data, which I will be able to continue to use and also to teach students how to use at Bucks New University.

Bucks: What do Centroid do exactly?

Sabah: Centroid provide a full range of motion capture services for the film, TV and Games industries, ranging from general action to full figged facial captures. They are located at Pinewood Studios - Shepperton.

Centroid Motion Capture Stage

Bucks: What did you learn?

Sabah: I learned many things - such as Cortex itself, and also how to overcome troubleshooting and other technical difficulties. I also learned how to deal with stunt actors, and how one should deal with the responsibility of being in charge of set design and maintenance.

Sound Stages at Shepperton

Bucks: What were the highs and lows?

Sabah: Every experience has its highs and lows - in my case the vast majority of the experience was hugely enjoyable; especially meeting the stunt actors and watching them perform. The greatest moment was watching the footage played back whilst the actors were being generated into a live 3D environment in Cortex. Being able to watch both scenes at once is a remarkable feeling. The only low point I would say was leaving the place.

Bucks students in motion capture gear
Bucks: What lessons did you learn about the MoCap system we have at Bucks and how to make the best of our equipment?

Sabah: I would suggest that the system at Bucks be fully set up permanently in a studio where it will not have to be set up and then taken down after every session. In a permanent environment, we could spend as much time as we need setting it up; once the setup is completely secure we can start to use it without wasting time (without any technical issues).

For more on motion capture at Bucks, see this recent post. You can also read about our students' visit to Centroid at Shepperton, see how motion capture first came to Bucks, and our visit to Centriod at Pinewood Studios in 2012.

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