The live-performance ‘The Phoenix’ is the inspiring result of a new partnership between some of Italy’s strongest creative forces. Teaming up with Rokoko, the team pushes technology to reach new acrobatic milestones.
Andrea Cerrato is an italian contemporary circus artist, who specializes in the Cyr Wheel and travels the world with his performance. He is also the and world-record-holder of the Cyr Wheel.
The Pindarica Theatre is a italian digital agency founded by Matteo Cionini & Paolo Arlenghi that creates breathtaking theatrical experiences, mixing live theater and digital performance.
Both parties were searching for creative partners when serendipity brought them together at a street festival in Tuscany just over two years ago. The surroundings were beautiful, the beers were cold, and the trio were at the beginning of what will soon become theatrical extravaganza.
“The initial adaptation of the technology for people like us, that have never worked with a mocap system, was organic and had a natural implementation process. Like any other new technology, we had to understand how it affected our normal workflow and then adapt to our performance.”
After some initial development they were introduced to motion capture. Originally thinking the technology was too expensive and immobile for their needs, they quickly figured out that the Rokoko Smartsuit Pro was a perfect fit for their creative vision.
Soon, “The Phoenix” was born - a live-performance event uniting the physical movements of Andrea with an endless digital landscape by Pindarica. They wanted to animate a digital avatar that repeats the exact moves as the artist on stage. This Would have been extremely hard using traditional keyframe animation. So the Rokoko Smartsuit Pro was the perfect tool that connected the trio and enabled them to express themselves physically; capturing every little detail.
“We wanted to animate a character that repeats the exact moves as the artist on stage which would have been extremely hard. So having the possibility of recording the choreography allowed us to synchronise the projection and the artist perfectly. Without Smartsuit Pro this would have been impossible or extremely complex.”
Pindarica captured the stunning acrobatic movements of Andrea using the Smartsuit Pro and created small pieces of digital choreography. These were then retargeted to a character in Cinema4D and transformed into various visual outputs aligned with the theme of the performance. The assets were then imported into a 3D scene and rendered in Unreal Engine before finally being projected to a huge screen canvas behind the performer in front of a live audience.
Their work with Smartsuit Pro has already sparked another collaboration between Pindarica and Andrea. Without spoiling too much, they are going to take it to the next level, experimenting with more actors on stage and a fully interactive relationship between the live performer and his projected digital avatar. During the Covid-19 epidemic the trio had plenty of time to train and optimize their work, so get ready for something extraordinary.
The Rokoko crew are eager to follow the successful trio’s next acrobatic steps and see how they will further develop the integration of mocap in live performances. One thing is for sure, Andrea, Matteo and Paolo are more than ready to go on the road again and once again have the chance of performing for a live audience.