Virtual Stuntmen Fear No Danger

from the another-job-automated dept

If you’ve been to the movies lately, part of the MPAA’s ad campaign against movie piracy has a movie stuntman talking about how all those evil movie pirates are going to put him out of a job. Considering that the movie industry is doing better than ever, he’s pissed off at the wrong people. Wired Magazine is running a story about a company that makes virtual stuntmen that learn their actions through computerized evolution. The characters keep learning and trying new things, until users feel that it’s done the action properly, and can then put it into a movie or a video game. The technology made its big debut in the latest Return of the King, the final chapter of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. While digital animation in movies is nothing new, usually it relies on having an actor wrapped up in motion sensors to capture their motions, and then has the computer take over. That works fine for some things, but it’s tough to find anyone willing to be the motion capture subject for dangerous things like being thrown by a huge animal in a battle, or being tackled in a soccer game. Thus, those elements are usually poorly done. However, with this software, you can model a real human’s actions, and keep having the system iterate until it does an action that appears a lot more real than computer animators just trying to fake it.

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Comments on “Virtual Stuntmen Fear No Danger”

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todd says:

No Subject Given

I’ve seen an MPAA piece a few times at the movie theater that features a set painter, concerned that movie pirates are going to force him to lost his job.

Given that he gets paid long before a movie is released, his concern is wonderfully naive — and paid for.

The people who stand to lose most from movie piracy are those with a vested interest in the gross and the net. Gross profit participants include only the big-ticket stars and occasionally the director. They, collectively, stand to lose some whenever a movie ticket is not sold. Hard to say whether pirates would have bought tickets to see a movie, had they not sought and watched pirated material. Therefore, it is hard to say that the pirates cost these big stars money.

Now, no movie ever makes a net profit, in the black magic of hollywood accounting, but that is a story for another time.

So these stunt people, set painters, etc. who are portraying the “at risk” in the industry, should be glad that they get paid by the job or the hour long before a movie hits the silver screen. If they want to pick up a few dollars for acting jobs on MPAA advertisements, then good for them. These ads shouldn’t fool us, though.

drb says:

Re: Crafts and Trades

On a single movie, sure, the crafts & trades get paid as the movie is made. If [important qualifier] piracy reduces profitability to the point where it either doesn’t make sense to make movies, or at least to where it’s not practical to make big-budget films, then there would be less work for the crafts & trades, so there could be a threat. To suggest that there is no possible impact at that level is just as wrong as claiming that every pirated copy represents a loss of a full-price theater ticket.

dorpus says:

Degrees of Cartoonishness?

“Reality” is quite the loaded word in the computer graphics world, as real life scenery is often more boring than what audiences want to see. Fatal trauma wounds often leave no external markings. Japanese horror movies deliberately play into a cartoonish reality where dying people have the blood pressure of a fire hydrant, e.g. when a large group of schoolkids simultaneously jump off a high building in the classic “if your friends jumped off the empire state building…” scene.

The movie is

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