For the Shanghai launch of the BMW IPA, Elastique’s CEO Andreas Schimmelpfennig was tasked with providing an immersive experience for in-person event attendees. Together with his talented team, they devised an LED column with a moving humanoid avatar to convey BMW’s user-centric message.
Technical director Tobias Hoffman searched for a solution to animate the effects-heavy avatars on their short timeline. Optical motion capture was quickly eliminated as an option as it requires the use of an expensive studio and a large production team — a tricky task during covid-19. After some searching, Tobias discovered the Rokoko Smartsuit Pro, which uses inertial technology (not camera-based) and can be operated by just one person.
Once delivered, the Rokoko Smartsuit Pro took only 4 hours to set up and provide quality animations within Cinema 4D — Elastique’s software of choice. Tobias recorded the motion capture data in Rokoko Studio and exported it into Cinema 4D for easy retargeting to their rigged 3D character.
“Motion capture is no longer rocket science. Especially for smaller productions or time-critical productions, the self-sufficient systems are worth their weight in gold to simplify and greatly enhance their work.” Tobias Hoffmann, Technical Director
With the animation workflow significantly reduced, talented motion artist Maximiliane Wadler quickly digitized human movement into character animations, in her own words, “without much effort”. This allowed the team more time to play around with various animation and effect dynamics combinations. They tested the best range of motion for each avatar effect, refining performance and fluid dynamics.
“Using Rokoko's motion capture tools we were able to realize our idea quickly and efficiently. The Smartsuit helped us to generate realistic-looking motion sequences and allowed us to stage the interaction between 3D character and Unreal environment.” Maximiliane Wadler, Motion Artist
But the work didn’t stop there. Elastique built the entire Shanghai-based set to scale in Unreal Engine and used virtual event production workflows to optimize all show elements without setting foot in the physical environment. All the data was supplied remotely with zero in-person interaction. All the client had to do in Shanghai was click play.
In a world where travel and large-scale productions can be risky, inertial motion capture paired with VR previz democratizes the creation of immersive experiences to boutique marketing and creative agencies.