In the last couple of years, I have seen more auditions include a request for Motion Capture (MoCap) experience, particularly in the Gaming sector.
Based on this, I have compiled a - what and where- of MoCap for voice actors, as a resource, to easily see what’s on offer in our industry.
At my age (and no longer the athlete I once was) I’ve been taking a close interest in the development of this technology, and its use in gaming. For the last two years I’ve been an attendee and speaker at The VoiceOver Networks, Get Your Game On LA and on both occasions, I have been faced with a need to embrace this feature in game development. Particularly in Tom Keegan’s and Kim Hurdon’s weekend intensives and the discussions surrounding AI and our industry. I have connected with a small network of actors who are active in the MoCap area and I’ve committed to myself that 2024 will include some specific training (probably both online and in a Volume) to improve my ability to respond to this increasing demand for MoCap/PCap experience.
What exactly is MoCap?
So what is MoCap (Motion Capture) and its counterparts PCap (Performance Capture) and FCap (Facial Capture)? Simply put, it’s when digital maps of movement from an actor or device are tracked to a 3D character. This is done mostly with various markers and sensors alongside sophisticated software. This technology is used in the entertainment industry for CGI, video games, and animation but also has applications in military, medical, and AI forays. Motion capture can be body-based (with the sensors) or Image-based (digital with no sensors). Many successful MoCap artists have dance, martial arts, or other athletic backgrounds, but anyone can learn the techniques. I recently worked on a project in my home studio involving Facial Capture with limited training but with intricate and specific direction.
MoCap in Gaming
Like any kind of specialty training, motion capture training and certification can obviously make you more marketable in the world of voiceovers. There is generalized training on offer, alongside advanced training like combat and creature modules. Most in-person classes have waitlists and are based in LA or London. (I am on several waitlists).
There was an interesting article referencing Baldur’s Gate 3 in USA Today saying all the 248 voice actors involved, did their own motion capture. Many other popular Triple AAA games, like The Last of Us have also used MoCap. Many top gaming companies have their own MoCap department and will provide training to its actors, who may need it. There is also a list of specialty Mocap studios that can be found on Voice Actors Websites. Some talent agents like Reflections Talent Agency and CESD have MoCap rosters or there are even MoCap only agencies like Amax Motion Capture.
Actors wishing to compete at the highest level in the videogame casting arena, owe it to themselves to become familiar with this technology. I hope to revisit this topic as I take the MoCap journey. For now, wish me and my back luck.
MoCap Training & Resources
MOCAP Vaults - Los Angeles, Montreal, London, Stockholm, New York & Atlanta with new locations of Adelaide, Sydney and Warsaw being added.
Performance Capture Academy - Various UK Locations including London & Guilford
Mocap Masterclass - UK workshops for actors & directors (1 & 5 day options)
Mindseye Tribe – LA Action Actors Academy
An Interactive MoCap Workshop is also taking place at That’s Voiceover Career Expo this December 7th in LA.
PCAP with the Pros (zoom training)- Taught by PCap professionals (Mention Helen Day, if you book a class)
Skillshub – offers an array of Mocap instructors & training
Performing for Motion Capture: A Guide for Practitioners book by John Dower & Pascal Langdale
The Performance Capture Podcast sponsored by Vicon
Motion Capture Society Professional organization dedicated to the motion capture industry with groups to join on various social media sites.
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