Digitizing humans by capturing actors’ body movement and facial performances for film, television, gaming and specifically gaming within virtual reality using motion capture systems
Spencer Idenouye is the Virtual Production Lead at SIRT. As part of a collaborative team, Spencer is creating an integrated virtual production studio for training, applied research and commercial services. He provides leadership and expertise in applied research and technical research for the movie, television and gaming industries, and is focused on the application of VR technologies. Spencer’s education is extensive: A BFA in Media Arts & Digital Technologies and two post-graduate diplomas in Directing and Editing in Advanced Television and Film and Computer Animation Digital Visual Effects. His expertise includes directing, editing, VFX artistry, cinematography, digital content production and motion capture.
|Type of institution|
Pinewood Toronto Studios, Commissioners Street, Toronto, ON, Canada
Screen Industries Research and Training Center
|I have a knowledge mobilization grant.|
|Information and cultural industries|
|Art, entertainment and recreation|
Introduce your team
Hi, I’m Spencer Idenouye. I’m the virtual production lead and motion capture specialist here at Sheridan’s Screen Industries Research and Training Center, SIRT for short. We’re located at Pinewood Studios in Toronto, Ontario.
The research that we do here at the SIRT center in my particular area, which is virtual production, deals a lot with motion capture and performance capture. So we use an environment like you see around me this is the motion capture volume. We have a 24 camera motion capture system and this allows us to put actors into the space and capture their body movement. But not just their skeletal movement but also their facial performances and their audio.
All that captured together is performance capture. We can use this technology in a variety of ways and the way that we use in our research is to explore the toolset that this offers and in terms of how it can be used in volumetric Virtual Reality experiences. It’s not just capturing movement and animation for film and television but also now using it for gaming and specifically gaming within virtual reality.
The digitization of humans is another area of research that I’m involved in and that deals with a variety of technologies in order to capture people. That could include performance capture, motion capture, capturing their movement, facial expressions, their performance. That also includes scanning them physically, their skin all the detail and their proportions: creating a virtual model of a person.
We use and explorer photogrammetry techniques in order for those types of captures, as well as other hardware depth cameras, laser scanning. It’s all part of the sort of technology pool that we use in order to attempt to digitize people.
Another area of research I’m involved in is a cinematic VR. That’s virtual reality but in sort of a live action video context. Using camera arrays: multiple cameras synced together in some way in order to capture your environment and your surroundings.
Explain its significance
The research that I do I think is significant just because the technology that we have accessible to us is becoming less expensive and more accessible and more people are able to use it and use it in compelling ways. We’re seeing motion capture systems being deployed within colleges and universities and the hardware cost of them is significantly reduced, so smaller companies and startups are able to use this technology and the content that they create, which is really compelling and really important.
But despite that accessibility there’s still a lack of understanding and a lack of knowledge and sort of access to expertise in that area. That’s why I feel that the research that I do is important because we’re working with a lot of companies in the Toronto industry or Ontario screen-based industries in order to allow these companies access to this kind of technology in these kinds of tools sets.