Subtleties of acting are lost when face is recorded separately, says Uncharted man

Nolan North: Face and body mocap should unite

Nolan North, the voice of Uncharted’s Nathan Drake and one of the most prolific game actors in the industry, has given full-body motion capture a shining endorsement.

"After my experiences on the Uncharted franchise, where the actors do both performance and voice, I can honestly say there is absolutely a difference," North said in an interview quoted by CVG.

"I wish it wasn’t done separately," he said, in reference to many studios and technologies that split the two forms.

"Don’t get me wrong, the mocap actors do a great job, but there will always be somewhat of a disconnect when it’s done this way. The cut-scenes are shot exactly like a film or television program, so the actors interact more naturally and unique and subtle elements to the performances are captured. Don’t think for a minute that gamers don’t notice. They’re a savvy bunch."

Naughty Dog’s [reference is to capture the actors’ face and body animations in the same take, while also insisting that actors in the same scene are all recorded together.

Creative director Amy Hennig recently said that the best way to capture drama on stage is to mocap the scene, not the person. Traditional mocap and acting for games production involves individual actors reading off scripts – a process which, some say, does not have the chemistry and improvisation that is at the very core of acting.

“Any actor will tell you that acting is reacting,” Hennig said, “so it’s ironic that in most game productions, the actors are performing alone in the recording studio without any real context, and without the other actors to play off of.”

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