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Feature Motion Picture

For shots where Mowgli is riding creatures, an innovative animatronic greenscreen approach was used for Baloo, the Elephant, and the Bison. The creatures were actuated using a 17-axis electric/hydraulic animatronic which simulated movement underneath Mowgli. The machine was controlled by two Overdrive systems. The first system generated gross body movement of the creature with a 6-DOF motion-base, performing a live Inverse Kinematic (IK) solve for the gait of the walking creature. The second system generated the musculature of the creature by moving ten linear actuators inside the animatronic itself. An Inverse Kinematic (IK) solve of the creature's limbs and muscles was performed by a custom Overdrive math plugin. The software derived joint and muscle positions from a Maya point-cloud representing more complex Pre-viz animation from VFX. The Creature, Camera moves, CGI pre-viz, and background plates were real-time synchronized via streaming Ethernet cues between Overdrive, Motion Builder and the camera control system. This integrated process expanded the capabilities of the Simul-Cam system which allows CGI and practical photography to be placed in the same worldspace. When creature, camera and CGI elements are viewable together real-time during shooting, the DP and Director can frame the shot and see what they're getting. This new process is a significant innovation compared to blind-capture and unsynchronized motion traditionally used to simulate creatures on greenscreen. It is by virtue of this process that Mowgli's body motion matches exactly the motion of the CGI creatures on which he is riding.

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