‘It’s really, really detailed but part of that is you cannot move – at all,’ recalls X-Men performer Shawn Ashmore. ‘If you move during a take the data is ruined’
Quantum Break’s lifelike visuals were captured using a combination of two separate filming methods in two different continents, the lead actor for the game has revealed.
X-Men, Animorphs and The Following performer Shawn Ashmore played protagonist Jack Joyce alongside other TV and film stars including Lord of the Rings’ Dominic Monaghan, Game of Thrones’ Aidan Gillen and The Wire’s Lance Reddick.
Speaking to IGN, Ashmore explained the need to record his performance twice to achieve Quantum Break’s high level of facial animation and fidelity, which ties into the game’s combination of rendered cutscenes with episode-length live-action interludes shot using the same actors.
“The facial capture technology that Remedy has – they have their own propriety system and it’s based in their offices in Helsinki – is not a headcam that you wear in the motion capture space,” he said. “So we essentially shot the scenes twice. We shot them in Los Angeles with all the actors in the spandex suits, the tracking marks and the head cameras that get a very good capture of the performance, but Remedy wanted even more detail. So they said, ‘We’re going to shoot those for reference and then you’re going to come over to Helsinki and be in [our studio].’
“We called it the Sweat Box, or the Sweat Closet, because it’s this tiny little room with nine cameras and it captures your facial performance to an almost photo-real level. It’s really, really detailed but part of that is you cannot move – at all. And when I say you cannot move at all, I mean you get into this room and there’s a bar behind you because you have to stay completely steady, and there’s a huge monitor that you can see with a crosshair on it that have to literally line your face up with, and don’t move. If you move during a take the data is ruined.
“The stuff in Helsinki for the really detailed facial capture was difficult. And every single line of dialogue in the game, from cinematics to gameplay, was captured through that. Even gameplay, when Jack Joyce is running around shooting people, if you spin the camera around and Jack is talking you’ll see a facial performance because we actually got that.”