A group of programmers is developing a system that aims to save actors from the most intense scenes. The system creates digital doubles identical to the characters and hardly distinguishable by viewers.
The special effects used in this system have long been explored by film technicians, who used technology to create spaceships, monsters or scenes that are difficult to reach in a real situation.
However, the technology that is now being developed will allow the creation of virtual models of real people that can be introduced in violent or physically demanding scenes for the actors.
Paul E. Debevec, a researcher at the University of Southern California, says that with this system they are about to «be able to create actors and heroes using computer generated graphics».
The process to create a digital double starts with the capture of photographs of the actors in different positions in the Aguru Dome, a futuristic-looking booth where images are captured in detail and with the «best resolution in the world». With the actor’s face in the right place, the lights begin to be focused in 546 different directions and captured for 93 computers.
According to experts, the technology «not only captures the shape of the face, but also the way the light falls on the face regardless of the angle».
After this process, the data is processed in order to start the image manipulation. In this way, directors can create action scenes that in reality could never be filmed.
For the time being this technology is not being used in the studios although some have already tried it. At the moment there is no intention to use the system in entire films, only in more risky scenes or to «replace» an actor who, for some reason, is unable to continue recording in the middle of filming.
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