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Capturing Circus Artists for VR Experience

Updated: Feb 16

Swathes of silk, aerial performers and trapezes have provided a new set of challenges for Target3D this week. After de-rigging our studio, we transported it to Buckinghamshire where we installed it, along with our Covid-tested crew, at 101 Outdoor Arts space in Newbury.

Owen Hindley and Nanna Gunnars of Huldufugl, a Reykjavik-based events company creating immersive theatrical experiences, and Edd and Bryony Livesey-Casey of the circus theatre company Hikapee had been working for two years on a stage show when the pandemic hit.

Based on Icelandic mythology and combining circus elements with creative tech, the story was too good not to tell. As a stepping stone until the stage production can start, the team worked together through lockdown to write and produce a VR film version.

Fast forward to this week...

Our technical team kitted the performers Jen Robinson and Katie Hardwick out in full body tracking suits, capturing them in the volume as they gave us a Big-Top-Circus-worthy show, including a high trapeze artist, who will become a seductress made of fire in the film, plus aerial silks and counter-weighting.

Target3D’s Ashley Keeler explains “The aerial silk works were potentially the most difficult in terms of motion capture; we’re using an optical system rather than an inertial one so our cameras need to be able to see the markers at all times. With the performer’s constant movement on the silk would the markers be covered? Would they ping off? All of these considerations were taken into account but we’ve managed to collect some really awesome data.

In the VR ‘hidden world’ that the character travels into, these tumbling human movements will replicate nature, specifically the rivers and waterfalls of Icelandic mythology.

With the mocap element now completed, Owen, as Technical Director, will work behind the scenes to render this in Unity into the VR experience which is due to go live later in 2021. He’s promised to share it with us, so watch this space.

From the Newbury set where she has been working with the T3D team, Hikapee Director Bryony, tells us: "It was brilliant to work with the Target3D team. Taking aerial circus into the world of motion capture is an ambitious adventure and Petros from T3D was really open and allowed us to play with movements resulting in some fantastic shots."

From his Reykjavik base, Owen expands: “Having Target3D on board has lifted the quality of what we can hope to achieve from this project to another level, even with some really challenging movements from the circus performers.

With Target3D, you’ll never be limited on location - as well as our Central London studio, we are experienced in transporting the rig and staff to you. Get in touch to find out more.


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