Spielberg on Mocap

Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg at work on The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn 01

In a follow-up to a front page story in the Los Angeles Times entitled “’Avatar’ stirs an animated actors debate in Hollywood,” the paper’s Rachel Abramowitz posted this interview with Steven Spielberg on his use of motion capture in his The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, which utilizes the same technology James Cameron did in Avatar. The comments of Spielberg, who has played an important role in nurturing the current animation renaissance, are indicative of why mocap has proven so attractive to live-action directors:

For the director … the new experience was transporting.

“I just adored it,“ he says. “It made me more like a painter than ever before. I got a chance to do so many jobs that I don’t often do as a director. You get to paint with this device that puts you into a virtual world, and allows you to make your shots and block all the actors with a small hand-held device only three times as large as an Xbox game controller.”

With that small monitor, Spielberg could look down and watch what the actors were doing — in real time — on a screen that showed them in the film universe. Working on the motion-capture stage — which is called the volume  — Spielberg was routinely dazzled by the liberating artistic value of the new science.