Uncharted: Golden Abyss behind the scenes mo-cap video

By on January 23, 2012

It’s goofy.

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It’s always awkward to see grown up men wearing tight suits with tiny white dots attached to their bodies, blurting out dialogues in an empty grey room, imagining a fantastical world of greenery and overly done bloom effect. The behind the scenes video from Uncharted: Golden Abyss is no different. In fact, it’s kind of goofy.

The video below has Nolan North and Richard McGonagle act out a scene from one of the chapters from the game called “Without a Paddle”. The scene is set in a forest-esque setting with Nathan Drake and Sulley rowing through a narrow river-bed in search of a location, which eventually almost goes wrong.

And this is how it looks in-game:

Fun facts about the motion-capture ways and technology:

• 86 infra-red cameras capture the actors’ physical performances with remarkable precision and a built-in soundstage captures dialog in time with actor performances, avoiding the clunky feel that can come from capturing these elements separately

• The mo-cap stage is a completely blank space, and so actors are shown reference photographs, sketches, and in-game artwork to help them imagine the world their character will inhabit in the game

• The Uncharted series employs a huge variety of props, from plastic guns to vehicles built from wooden boxes and sandbags. These look basic on set, but are digitally transformed into the huge variety of perfectly-rendered objects that make up the world of Uncharted: Golden Abyss

• A team of assistants is constantly on hand to pass the actors props and collect objects when they are done using them. By not wearing mo-cap suits, these assistants are completely invisible to the infra-red cameras but whenever Drake pulls out a journal, or holsters his gun, these ‘human pockets’ are always on hand

• The actors will often play multiple roles in any one scene. Though he is best known for playing Nathan Drake, Nolan North might also be acting out the guard he is shooting! North says “in Uncharted 2’s train sequence, you’ll notice that one soldier runs with a bit of a limp. That’s me, chasing me, and getting blown up by propane tanks”


Mufaddal Fakhruddin is the Editor for IGN ME and thinks writing in third person about himself in an about me section is weird.

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