Motion-Capture Expert: Stars Risk Appearing in Simulated Porn if Data Falls Into Wrong Hands

2:55 PM PST 10/14/2012 by Tim Adler

Middle East computer-generated imagery pro Clyde DeSouza warns that Hollywood's biggest actors could wind up starring in adult films if studios aren't careful.

ABU DHABI - Angelina Jolie going at it with Daniel Craig? That’s the scenario that Dubai-based CGI and 3D expert Clyde DeSouza painted for his Masterclass audience at Abu Dhabi Film Festival. DeSouza said that once an actor’s performance is motion captured for a big-budget Hollywood movie then it stays on servers forever. This could lead to unscrupulous filmmakers stealing the data and using it for their own purposes.

Jolie has already said how shy she felt seeing her motion-captured nudity on screen in Beowulf. That would be nothing compared to the scandal if a hardcore porn movie appeared using her computer-generated likeness. Actors need to make sure those servers are padlocked, DeSouza said.

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On the other hand, said DeSouza, stars could insist that their CG likenesses remaining permanently young. “Tom Cruise could insist on being young forever in every movie from now on,” he joked.

Demonstrating extraordinarily lifelike CG footage at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, DeSouza – a partner in 3D production company RealVision -- predicted that completely realistic human animation will arrive within two years. Critics have complained about the peculiarly dead quality of computer-generated faces in movies such as Tintin and Polar Express – a problem known in the VFX trade as “uncanny valley.” DeSouza showed his audience that this will soon be a thing of the past.

Not only that, but CG technology is within reach of low-budget indie filmmakers, he showed. DeSouza demonstrated motion-capture technology using nothing more sophisticated than an Xbox 360 Kinect. The worlds of computer gaming and moviemaking are converging, he said. “It’s about time that traditional filmmakers embraced motion capture. The technology is coming down in price.

“The biggest challenge for filmmakers remains putting emotion into computer-generated people. Filmmaking is about emotion –- even in artificial reality films.”

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DeSouza called for the United Arab Emirates to create its own CG and 3D technology. “There are a lot of talented people out here ... It’s one thing for the Middle East to put money into Hollywood blockbusters. We should be creating our own tech. Then we would have intellectual property to sell,” he said.

DeSouza criticized Hollywood for converting 2D films into 3D, which, he said, needed to be filmed in stereoscopic 3D right from the start.

He also lambasted poor 3D work in The Amazing Spider-Man: “Spider-Man was shot badly. They didn’t understand 3D, it was flat. They shot a lot of stuff completely flat just to be safe.” 

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