Play to the Camera

The camera is your audience. Actors always know where the camera is because it’s big, black, attached to heavy equipment and usually has three to four people hovering around it.  It’s a built in audience.  2D animators always know where the camera is because it’s always exactly perpendicular to the sheet of paper.  Computer animators aren’t quite so lucky.  Their camera is a null in space that may or may not be visible. They also have the option of working to a multitude of other cameras from any angle or constraint imaginable.  But at the end of the day only one camera matters. This seems like basic stuff, but it’s clearly not as plug and play as live or 2D.

Mocap is blind to the camera

In our production we have one more added challenge to the mix: motion capture. Motion capture has a complete disconnect from camera. It is blind performance. The motion capture artist can be told in general where the cameras will be at certain points in the action, but when their performance all plays out the best they can be expected to do is to get it onto the ball field. Getting the ball from there, where ever that may be, to the base is the job of the animator.

When you consider the mocap in each shot ask yourself if the character’s orientation to the camera makes sense.  Is that the best angle for Mary? If not, tweak it to where she is stunningly beautiful.  Why is Eli delivering that line when we can barely see his face? Why are we looking at the back or side of the head for so long?  If they have to hit that side of the head pose because of their action, adjust the keys so your character has just the right amount of “face time.”   Remember, the mocap is blind to the camera.

Play play play to the camera.

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