Awesome Apes featurette showcases advances in mo-cap tech

Twentieth Century Fox this week released a featurette for their upcoming reboot/prequel of Planet of the Apes, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The video offers a look at the work of the effects studio which was brought in to do the motion capture scenes and give life to the CGI apes. 

The film marks the most advanced mo-cap techniques to date, surpassing even the wildly popular Avatar in the versatility they have brought to the technology.

WETA, the effects production company, is using mo-cap outside for the first time ever, and in scenes with massive numbers of actors. Before this, mo-cap had to be done one actor at a time in front of a green screen in a light-controlled environment. The ability to increase the range of filming options for motion capture is a huge step, and opens all kinds of possibilities for future filmmakers.

The most interesting and impressive footage here is the side-by-side comparison of the finished shots of Caesar the chimp with the original footage of Andy Sirkis – who might not be famous outside of the industry, but is well known as an excellent mo-cap actor, playing the part while wearing all of the complicated-looking mo-cap gear.

I can’t imagine it looking any more perfect. When I first saw the posters for this film many months ago, I wasn’t sure what to think, but now I find myself looking forward not just to this film, but to the Planet of the Apes films which are sure to follow if this one is successful.

This new synopsis of the film, focusing on the effects, came along with the video:

Rise of the Planet of the Apes combines fantastic storytelling with the next leap in Visual Effects for an emotional and action-packed motion picture experience unlike any other. Man’s arrogance sets off a chain of events that leads to intelligence in apes and a challenge to our place as the dominant species on the planet. Caesar, the first intelligent ape, is betrayed by humans and rises up to lead his species’ spectacular race to freedom and the ultimate showdown with Man. In Caesar, WETA – the Oscar-winning visual effects team behind Avatar – have created a CGI ape that delivers a dramatic performance of unprecedented emotion and intelligence.