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Services Spotlight: Side

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London-based company Side specialises in the casting, directing and recording of actors, in both a voice and performance capture capacity.

The service provider has worked on a variety of games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic, as well as casting, directing and recording a new set of characters for Media Molecule’s PS3 title Little BigPlanet 2.

It has also worked on games such as The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, in which Side carried out full voice production, delivering over 20,000 lines of dialogue, whilst the company was also responsible for providing over 80 actors for Lionhead Studio’s Fable III.

Side co-founder and creative director Andy Emery (pictured, right) says the studio’s success is due to the studio’s “high level of skill and experience in this specialist area of game production”.

He adds that successfully matching the right actors on its roster with particular roles depends on the character brief the service provider receives from a client.

Whether the voice needs to be gritty, real or deep, or when considering the basics of physicality, age and accent, he says Side can provide the right actor for a studio’s needs.

“We’re looking for a truth to the performance, whether it be as a comedy cat or a war-bitten soldier,” says Emery.

“We hold auditions with professional directors who can really push the actors to the performance required. For performance capture projects we have fully-filmed auditions which allow us to capture the physicality of an actor as well as their vocal abilities.”

As well as a rugged process of trying to hire quality actors for its projects, Side also provides directors, which Emery takes very seriously, as a director can help bring to life an actor’s performance.

“Experienced, professional directors can bring much to recording and performance capture sessions – namely a special language with the actors and a focus on character and story,” he explains.

“They are going to make sure the characters’ motivations and actions make sense and are coming across to serve the game.”

As for the future, Emery says Side is continuing to grow its team of production managers, sound engineers, and casting and performance directors.

In March the company will be opening a new production and studio space at its central London base, where Emery reveals that the studio will be working on a number of triple-A projects.

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