The UK based company Performance Captured Academy (PCAUK) was invited to introduce the basics of Motion and Performance Capture to the participants. Neil Newbon, Performance Capture Artist and Director together with his team gave an inspiring look into the possibilities of creating characters through body language. The participants got used to their tracked body movement, played with different somatic types and shapes and learned a new on set vocabulary. Creature work as well as basic walk cycles were part of the training.The workshop endend with a performance of Newbon at the Actor/Avatar conference, where he invited performers from the workshop to join in.
The technical setup included the motion capture tracking system, guaranteeing real time performance of up to eight virtual characters in virtual environments. Furthermore, a face performance tracking system was used with a face rigging software.
For several years now, the ZHdK has maintained a lively exchange with cultural and educational institutions in Hong Kong. On the occasion of an official visit to the ZHdK from the head of government of Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam in January 2018, temporary partner labs were set up in both cities. The goal was to promote interdisciplinarity within a framework of research and development into technology-supported arts.
The resulting TwinLab project is premised upon the availability of the same technical infrastructure at both locations. The cooperation can thus be based primarily on data exchange and be sustainable. Real-time transmissions allow for synchronous experiments and productions.
The first TwinLab project “The Hidden Formula – The Heavenly Palace” was developed in cooperation with the experimental theatre group Zuni Icosahedron which is based in Hong Kong and the two performances could be experienced simultaneously in both locations. The movements of the dancers were recorded at both locations using motion capture technology to create real-time visualizations in a video projection. Despite the geographical distance of over 9000 kilometres and a six-hour time difference, the motion data was transmitted in real time, thus enabling virtual interaction.
Based on Plato’s cave parable, the ZHdK performance “The Hidden Formula” explored mechanisms of suppression and restriction as well as the human will to be free. The piece was made in close dialogue with “The Heavenly Palace” by Zuni Icosahedron, which refers to the 16th century Chinese novel A Journey to the West.
The live performance of “The Hidden Formula” took place on 25 October at the ZHdK in Zurich and simultaneously at the Community Center in Hong Kong and was broadcast live in Zurich’s Bahnhofshalle as part of the Swiss Digital Day.
For data transmission, the TwinLab project relied on the findings and technological developments of the SNF research project “Telematic Performance”, which is housed at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology (ICST), ZHdK.
Cast & Crew of the ZHdK
Dance: Sophie Bertschy, Alex Ferro, Denise Lampart, Cary Shiu
Choreography: Denise Lampart
Visual Art: Tobias Gremmler
Music: Thierry de Mey
Digital set artist: Martin Fröhlich
Technical crew: Simon Broggi, Martin Fröhlich, Norbert Kottmann, Eric Larrieux, Olav Levrik, Hansruedi Näf, Marc Nathmann, Matthias Röhm, Marco Quandt, Viktoras Zemeckas and many others.
Production management: Andreas Birkle, Kristina Jungic
ZHdK producers: Chantal Haunreiter, Christian Iseli
Project steering: Hartmut Wickert
Project lead: Christian Iseli
Cast & Crew Zuni Icosahedron, Hong Kong
Dance: Chang Yu-chau, Rady Nget
Artistic direction: Danny Yung, Mathias Woo
Digital art: Dan Fong, Benny Woo
Lighting design: Mak Kwok Fai
Music: Steve Hui
Technical assistance: Dan Fong, Benny Woo, Lee Kin Tak, Tso Chi Yan, Ha Yan Pui, Ko Man Kit and many others
Production: Carmen Cheng, Chun Yin Chow, Satina Shum, Leung Kin Kai
Project management: WyWong Yuewai, Cedric Chan
Students from the ZHdK departments of Film, Contemporary Dance, Game Design, Interaction Design, Sound Engineering and Composition (for Film, Theatre and Media), together with students studying Animation at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, realised individual projects using the “Motion Capture” technique. Their projects were linked together in a common story world. The Happy Robots pilot project was presented on 22 September 2018 as part of ZHdK Highlights. In addition to seeing films and dance performances, visitors could immerse themselves in the world of Happy Robots through gaming and an augmented reality exhibition. For the individual projects within the Happy Robots story world, please refer to the to the special Showcase page. As a pilot project, Happy Robots helped evaluate and plan for the ZHdK-wide Immersive Arts Space, through which the artistic examination of new technology in research and teaching is promoted.
Project lead: Michael Schaerer Lecturers: René Bauer, Sven Bergmann, Georg Bringolf, Manuel Gerber, Tom Gerber, Olav Lervik, Julian Oberbeck, Max Rheiner, Michael Schaerer, Christian Schwaller Technical support & programming: Martin Fröhlich, Norbert Kottmann, Marco Quandt, Simon Broggi, Ignasi Duelo, Simon Pfaff, Luca Tomasi Production manager IASpace@Highlights: Andreas Birkle Production assistant: Kristina Jungic
Another IASpace pilot project focuses on the question of virtual production. Spaces and objects are captured as 3D models with laser scanning and photogrammetric measurements, which are then used for real-time simulations. Creative teams can thus pre-visualize and test audiovisual ideas before the actual film production begins. Real-time simulations are an important part of the future direction of IASpace.
A proven expert in previsualization and virtual production, the film producer Mirko Lempert joined the IASpace team in the autumn semester of 2018. Mirko was recruited as Artist in Residence at the ZHdK. He also is an assistant professor at Stockholm University of the Arts.
Crew Project lead: Christian Iseli Team: Mirko Lempert (University of the Arts, Stockholm), Simon Broggi, Martin Fröhlich, Valentin Huber, Norbert Kottmann, Simon Pfaff, Max Rheiner, Michael Schaerer