Performance Capture Editing

First off, 50% of what people tell you for live action editing is totally wrong for performance capture editing processing, and the other 50% is so trivial compared to performance capture editing that it should be used as a starting suggestion only.

I’ve waisted a lot of time doing editing and story development like a live action film, performance capture editing is much more like animation editing.  In animation editing the editor is involved through the entire film, completely involved in the entire films process and music.  But i’d say classical cell animation editing is about 10x times easier then performance capture editing since performance capture editing is around 240 frames per second while cell editing is really 12 FPS with inbetweening(frame between primary frames for motion blur and movement).

So first off, why is performance capture so many FPS, well I think a easy way of thinking about it is if your simulating bouncing a ball, and the simulation steps where every 24th of a second, that ball would often be hitting the ground not exactly at 24th of a second so would go “under” the floor frequently.  So in order to both simulate and capture the physics of the world, you need to have a sample frequency of about 10 times your view frequency in order to model complex behavior.  (i’m actually doing some simulations at under 1 billions of a second).

Also the story development process is totally different in performance capture in that it’s much more about game theory: the actor is given tools and problems to solve; the story is the actor stretching to solve these problems which creates a character arc.  So performance capture story development isn’t just telling a actor what to do at 240 fps, it’s about giving actors tools and problems to solve in a sequence in order to stretch the actor and create a character arc.

There’s probably about 20 other fundamentally different things about performance capture editing, only advice I can generally give is watch some of the behind the scenes stuff of films like “avatar” and “the hobbit”.  Also really understand animation editing, the film “inside out” behind the scenes I think does a great job on that.  Finally ignore anyone that is telling you to do something in a specific order, and really listen to people that are giving you tools to help you solve problems.  The book by Murch, in the blink of an eye, even though it’s a old school book is more about understanding people, their problems and tools – so some of the old school stuff is a great reference.  The how to step by step people should be avoided.