Motion Capture Hamlet

Posted: January 16, 2011 in Technology

I’m really fixated on the idea of a realtime, motion captured CG model of the Ghost from Hamlet doing a scene with Hamlet in my presentation.  Having an actor somewhere other than the building, in front of motion control cameras performing with a real actor is a thrilling high-wire act.

To that end, I’ve contacted ipisoft, a consumer level motion capture software company in hopes that they could help me.  Here’s a video of what they can do…


And here’s the letter I sent them.

There’s a good chance I could do this by myself, but part of my own personal project is learning how to delegate a little bit.  Asking these guys would make my life much easier and this would be a spectacular display.



My name is Mike McCafferty and I am currently a graduate student at California State University Northridge pursing a degree in theatre arts.  The time has come for me to do a graduate project and I’m tackling the application of combing theatre with technology, social media and game theory.  It’s an ambitious project, especially considering that theatre practitioners in general tend to be a cloistered and paranoid of new things.  My goal is to show them the benefits of new and present technology to bring more interactivity between them and the audiences they serve.

One of my main ideas is that of virtual acting, that is actors who aren’t necessarily on the same stage.  I’d love the idea of Sir Ian McKellen being able to play hamlet’s ghost on Broadway, while standing in front of a camera in New Zealand.

Even more interesting is the idea of adding to those virtual actors with motion capture.  If Hamlet’s ghost could be projected next to Hamlet (via projection or rear screen) flying, disappearing and then reappearing with a completely different look, I think that would be a victory for the technology and the theatre.

So I’m asking if your company would be willing to participate in my project on some level.  Optimally, I’d love to have an actor show up at your studios the night of my presentation and perform the ghost role, live and from where ever you guys are, with my Hamlet on stage.

I imagine this could get some unique press attention.  While I am a grad student, I’m also an actor who’s been on TV and movies occasionally (I was in  Idiocracy), and I live in LA, so the possibility for good coverage is excellent.

I’m planning on doing the presentation (A Steve jobs like Keynote parody) in Mid-March.  If you agree to this, I can set up actor in your area and any other details on my side.  From you, all I ask if for your technical experience.

If you can get back to me on this either way soon, I’d appreciate it.  I really hope we can work together and make this something rather new for an old medium.


Mike McCafferty


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