Creativity in Isolation: A Motion Capture Project by Studio Giggle

When plans for a motion capture performance project were thwarted by Covid-19, Studio Giggle—an immersive content studio based in Bristol, England—set about to create something that instead would convey the feelings of loss and solitude being experienced during the lockdown.

Isolation, is a film inspired from an article on grief read in the Harvard Business Review by Studio Giggle Creative Director, Jonathan Brigden. The film would be a reflection on the individual grief people are coping with as they mourn their previous lives and adjust to their current isolated condition.

In March, Ed Vosper and Iina Kuula, digital artists at Studio Giggle, headed to London to attend a training on the Perception Neuron Pro motion capture system and Axis Neuron Pro software at motion capture company, Target 3D, in Hoxton. Having already been fully skilled in Notch VFX, the team decided that this knowledge of the real-time graphics software would meld perfectly with Perception Neuron's motion capture capability to create compelling visual content.

"We thought the [Perception Neuron] mocap suit would be a really good platform and learning experience for us to try out,” shared Vosper.

The plan was for an artistic mocap project in the near future that would feature two professional dancers and their performance capture being translated into digital art. Plans, of course, are always subject to change, and that they did when the stay-home orders came. The team then embarked on a journey to create a collaborative film in which, using a Perception Neuron Pro suit, they could each contribute their own personal sequence from isolation. They virtually drew up a storyboard, and went about filming each of the sequences from home.

After recording his mocap session, (being mindful to maintain social distancing guidelines), Vosper delivered the suit to Kuula’s doorstep so she could complete the film with her own motion data. 

“We often find the best creative work is born out of constraint,” says Kuula.

A synopsis of Isolation:

The film follows two indistinct characters as they leave each other before lockdown. Their moods and colours change throughout the film as they try to keep busy. They both experience denial, bargaining, anger and depression. But this all changes when one character communicates through the internet and companionship resumes. The characters are now able to exercise together, chat and dance together. The film concludes as the constraints are released, and the two can meet again.

“It all just seemed to come together,” said Vosper. “The story, the creation and the music was there waiting for us.”

Learn more about this remarkable project and view the making of Isolation at the Studio Giggle blog.