Continue to discover how motion capture serves Horror with this new dev diary for The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope is a branching cinematic horror game where you can play alone or with friends, the choices you make will determine the fate of your characters and how the story unfolds.
To make the horror feel truly realistic in the game, motion capture plays a central role. Acting in motion capture brings an authenticity to the performance onscreen – but it has its challenges.
Without complex sets or props the motion capture actors must make the best use of their imagination to bring their characters to life and deliver a compelling and authentic performance that is converted into what you see in the game.
Learn more about the challenging and fun experience of the Little Hope motion capture cast with this second part of the new dev diary here!
The performance capture in here is very different to how you'd work traditionally.
In that you're more aware of the fact that there are many hands in your performance.
So if I'm on stage, I know that I'm in control of that performance in its entirety.
I completely own that performance. I'm responsible for what my character does on stage that night.
Whereas here, I know that I'm only responsible for a part of that, and that's quite freeing actually.
So I can work toward a character and give as much good data as possible.
Cause I know that there are animators in there, there are designers in there that are all contributing toward it.
Comparing motion capture with traditional acting, they are worlds apart.
But also similar in the sense that you just hark back to your training.
Everything that I learned after training, I bring on to the volume.
Even though I haven't got the set or the props to help me out, it's all within the imagination.
And that's something that an actor needs to be able to just tap into as and when they can.
Obviously with traditional acting, you've got more of a script.
You've got a bit more of a hint as to where your character is going or who your character is.
Whereas the freedom that you get with motion capture is you can layer that up yourself as well.
You have access to the director and the producer for a long period of time.
So you're able to build your character into something that's really sustainable for the whole game.
"No, no, let me go! I have to save her!"
It's quite tricky playing mocap.
Especially with this where the physical performance is separate to the voice performance.
You're often hearing the dialogue or reading the dialogue for the very first time, and then you have to do it straight away.
So there's not a lot of time to let the thoughts settle. You have to be quite quick with it.
And then often the way the actor will perform the line may be different to how you would first interpret it.
So you'd have to make sure that your physical response works with the vocal performance.
As soon as you're working in horror, you need an exceptional level of imagination from an actor.
So our actors need to be able to portray a real intensity.
They need to be able to use breath and subtle elements of their performance to portray an intensity that we're at within that story.
It's slightly different because you don't have the props and the set, and that can get you into that mode and that feeling.
So if you do a horror movie, then you are apprehensive because you're not sure when that actor is going to pop out.
And the smoke screen and the set helps you with the feeling of it.
Whereas this, you do have to completely go back to your imagination.
And imagine how scared you are that you don't know that monster is going to come out from the grate and grab you.
My favorite scenes are, to be honest, the action scenes, it's kind of what I live for!
I've trained in martial arts for many years, so this sort of thing is totally up my street.
So when it's bit more of a challenge, I try to embrace it as much as possible.
Favorite scene so far has been pushed out of the window because you get to fall.
You know, there's like a big three-meter platform you get pushed off and fall onto a squishy mat, which makes me very happy!
The stunt men are great, because they make everything look effortless and make sure that you do it correctly.
If we were doing it, we'd probably just go full hell-for-leather and hit some 'round the head and pull out your shoulder.
But they teach you how to pick everything up and the proper way to swing, to make sure you do it correctly.
Portraying the traumatic scenes is difficult because the scenes aren't always chronological.
So you go into a scene of that level of emotional state and energy.
And you have to click into gear straight away without necessarily the build-up.
But usually you just have to respond to the other actors in the scene.
And it tends to be that they give you enough that you can believe you're in this scenario and truthfully respond.
And then on the other side of it, there's some scenes where it's just so tiring where we don't stop running.
And we do about 10 takes of the same scene.
So by the end of it, you're having to do it as if you're doing it for the first time, but really you're just knackered as a performer.
"Three, two, one, go!"
The thing I find most difficult is learning how helpful I can be for an animator.
And kind of go: "Well, I've been given lots of freedom in terms of performance and what I do.
But there are a set of rules that aren't present here that will really, really help out animators."
And it's trying to keep those in mind while you're performing.
I have to go, "Oh, I have to remember the last take I did this, which was two months ago, I think my hands were in this position."
Because you haven't necessarily got the references to go back and look at them.
It's like being a kid again. It is a chance to play and pretend.
Very rarely have I ever been asked to be like the Witch Finder General or a bus driver.
Or all these different roles that you get to play in one week.
It's just phenomenal. We get to roll around the floor and pretend to be demons and it's great!
"Come on, you fucker!"
Motion capture is the most fun job you can do as an actor because it's playing, it's what we did when we were children.
You're not restricted by sets, you're not restricted by lighting setups and loads of continuity and props people around you like in film.
You are just able to play and use your imagination to put yourself in the correct environment.
Yeah, god, I keep saying it's loads of fun. It is the most fun I've had with my clothes on for years, it's great!"
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope will launch on October 30th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC Digital.