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York University broke records last month with the first use of real-time motion-capture technology in conjunction with theater performance. YorkU’s digital media students teamed up with fourth-year conservatory acting students to put on a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and used the unique digital aspects of real-time motion-capture to augment the play’s whimsical, alluring and fantastical aspects.
The motion-capture technology relies on infra-red sensors of a WII remote that the actors use alongside their performance to transfer animations onto a large green screen in the background. The technology is used to heighten the actor’s performance: fairies use the remote as wands to play with fairy dust and shadows and Bottom’s donkey head becomes a projected 3D virtual mask that talks and moves with the actor’s movements. No longer limited to movies, motion-capture technology is colliding with theater to merge digital animation with real-time stage performance.