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Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Virtual Camera" Captures Actors’ Movements for Resident Evil 5

Motion capture technology allows actors to emote while fighting video game zombies

By Jeremy Hsu, Posted 02.27.2009

Motion capture technology has worked its magic for years by digitally translating actors’ movements into films and video games. But makers of the popular Resident Evil video games upped the ante – they used one of only four existing "virtual cameras" to help create the fifth game in the series.
Actors Reuben Langdon and Karen Dyer throw punches and lunge, while the virtual camera's screen shows their real-time movements translated through their video game characters. The camera itself has the appearance of a video game controller, appropriately enough.
"When I look at Sheva, I know it's my walk," Dyer told Fox News' Gamers Weekly. "I know it's my voice. I know it's my facial movement."
The new camera may not represent a huge technological leap, but it shows the growing ease of using motion capture technology for creating video games and other digital media. That trend could help create more compelling games in the right hands.
"I think there'll be more invested in the story because of the humanity that the actors and directors brought," said Ken Lally, an actor who plays the Resident Evil 5 baddie, in his Fox News interview.
Indeed, creating compelling video game narratives has become an obsession for the video game industry, although games may still face an uphill climb. Film critics and moviegoers continually scoff at films that adapt video game stories, such as the critically-panned Resident Evil films.

Resident Evil 5: Jogos4Gamers

Even Andy Serkis, an actor who's no stranger to motion capture tech through his roles in Lord of the Rings and King Kong, recently came under fire for a casual remark that some construed as critical of video game stories.
There may also be a different challenge in the growing popularity of motion-capture and digital characters in both films and video games. Some characters have fallen prey to the "Uncanny Valley" phenomenon, which describes our uneasiness regarding almost-photorealistic characters that remain stiff in their movements or expressions.
Resident Evil 5 appears to dance on the edge by creating characters which we still recognize as video game creations, rather than doll-like humans with vacant eyes. For those looking for more creepy info, check out this video, which aptly dubs the animated film Polar Express as Zombie Express.
For a video on the making of Resident Evil 5, click here.

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