Audio director John Morgan and his crew at The Coalition, the award-winning development team behind the billion-dollar Gears of War franchise at Xbox Game Studios, used Lectrosonics wireless equipment to capture actors for Gears 5’s cinematics.
“Motion capture, or performance capture, is the process of recording sound and motion for a virtual world. We use it mainly for our cinematics,” says Morgan, referring to the scenes that move the story forward in between periods of gameplay. “Boom and room mics are meant to give you the perspective of the camera, which is appropriate for a traditional film scene. In motion capture, the ‘cameras’ can be anywhere, and the whole point is that you need to capture a 3-D, 360-degree perspective around the actors to accommodate any direction the game might go. So, fitting the actors with lavs and body packs is essential.”
The Lectrosonics SMV and LMB transmitters were selected for being compact and light. “The actors need to have complete freedom of movement,” explains Morgan’s colleague, The Coalition sound designer Edward Bauman. “The bodysuits are tight because we need an accurately body-shaped network of sensors for the camera array to pick up. The Lectrosonics packs velcro inside them without being distracting to the actors, which is important when someone might be doing wire work and hanging upside down 20 feet off the ground.”
“We also have up to eight actors performing at once, which makes it handy that Lectrosonics gear is so quick when it comes to frequency-scanning,” notes Morgan. “At the beginning of a shoot, we can scan once — we use two different blocks —and never have any problems with interference. You can mix all the channels and it sounds crazy because you hear all the breathing, all the grunts, all the noises actors are making due to their physical efforts—in the video game world, that stuff is gold. It might prove usable anywhere in cinematics or gameplay, so you want to keep all of it. So, we need the best audio quality for stuff that isn’t words as well as the dialogue.”
He adds, “We won a Motion Picture Sound Editors award for our cinematics on Gears of War 4, and we hope Lectro helps us do it again!”
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