Actor training for the zero wall of motion capture

Robert Lewis, Dominique Sweeney, Andrew Hagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Actor training incorporating digital technologies acts as a portal for actors to go beyond the physical world. Imagination for the contemporary actor is more important now than ever and virtual studios and motion capture systems are the perfect arenas to exercise actors’ imagination and allow them to play in a limitless world. Actors have come full circle: imagination (without digital technology) pragmatism (with limited technology), back to limitless possibilities. This paper discussed how Motion Capture (MoCap) assists the actor in creating a 360-degree awareness of their kinesphere through various techniques. The implementation of Laban's Shape Qualities and Space (kinesphere, spatial intention and geometric observations) allows the actor to have a full awareness of time, place and space. Consequently, Lecoq training exercises actor’s imaginations. The MoCap system defines a Volume, giving actors a set boundary to work with. This training challenges the actor/audience relationships of traditional static camera/stage perspectives. In MoCap, the actor is not working with a 4th wall, an audience, or one single camera. In fact, it is ‘zero wall’ (no wall) actor training. This increases the awareness of the actor. The rendered avatar is an obvious dimension that provides a portal. The relationship of movement to the base object structure actually transforms as a result of certain movement training techniques. In the framework of the virtual performance space with various physical attitudes, could the base object transform into other possible object structures? Could an actor through the particular adoption of attitudes and specific movements become living or inanimate objects if they adopted the appropriate attitude and physicalised with that attitude? The power of acting is in the ability to transform to other people, beings and objects. MoCap can make this happen and training for this medium is just as important as conventional stage and screen actor training.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalScreen Thought
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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