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I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Volumetric crowds for final pixel

From the writer of 2018’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ comes a celebration of the life and music of Whitney Houston, featuring digitally generated crowds in the largest volumetric capture production to date. This approach points to the future of filmmaking with both production and commercial advantages. Explore our case study below as well as spotlight articles from British Cinematographer and Before & Afters.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody | Before & Afters

3D crowds and epic audiences

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody” uses volumetric capture to create digital humans, enabling the VFX teams to generate tens of thousands of concert-goers and recreate epic stadium shots, in what is considered a 'first' for the use of volumetric capture in digital crowd creation and photoreal filmmaking at this scale.

Historic big screen scenes

Dimension volumetrically filmed nearly 300 people and 1000 captures in 2K and 4k on set in Boston, Massachusetts, over a two week period. We were supported by our US partner Avatar Dimension in the deployment of the volumetric stage.

Scalable pipeline

Once selects were made, the tech art team processed a total of 510 minutes of volumetric content over 8-weeks, using the Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture solver. The processed assets were delivered to the film’s VFX studios at Zero and Redefine.

Proprietary processing tools

All assets were globally lit, allowing the VFX team to edit lighting at a later date, helping to composite characters realistically into required scenes. The assets also allowed for recolouring of clothing and hair replacement to increase variety. 

Dimension’s proprietary prop replacement and motion vector pipelines were used to add relevant accessories in post-production, such as US and South African flags, and to create realistic motion blur, making the end result highly realistic.

Advantages & new possibilities

While capturing all the nuances and uniqueness of each crowd member's full body performance and detailed facial expressions including all the detailed movements of clothing and props, volumetric capture also enabled complete control over the actions of the crowd populating the 3D concert environments. In fact, in-camera actors were often replaced by volumetrics.

“We’re thrilled to have partnered with Tim Field, Paul Norris and the VFX teams at Zero and ReDefine. Dimension’s focus on virtual production and digital humans continues to push the boundaries and volumetric capture for crowd scene creation is the latest example of our endeavors working with filmmakers to bring state-of-the-art technologies into production. The versatility and efficiencies of volumetric assets is key for filmmakers, enabling decisions to change in post, new camera paths or shots to be considered, and with advantages over traditional crowd approaches.”

Simon Windsor | Co-CEO, Dimension

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