Eve Grinsztajn, a premier ballet dancer from the Opera National De Paris visited London for two days to work on an art animation for UVA. The ballerina's movements were captured with multiple Kinects. The reason for using scanning cameras like the Kinect rather than a regular video camera is that the Kinect can capture a scene in 3D. The 3D data is then loaded into motion graphics software and effects added.
We were hired by UVA as a technical partner to capture the ballerina's dance movements. Normally we work with real-time software such as vvvv. Because this project required 3D files to be created that could be edited in non-real-time software, we opted to use iPi Soft. iPi can be programmed to use multiple Kinects to capture a scene, each Kinect has its own PC that is connected to a network.
iPi Soft is normally used for 3D character animation, it's actually very good at capturing spins and jumps, but a ballerina's posture is something quite rare, so the skeleton tracking needed a lot of tweaking. iPi has a mode for capturing the 3D mesh, this feature works great because the view from each of the networked Kinects is automatically sown together into one scene.
The lead artist was Cai Mathews. Working under Matthew Clark's (UVA) art direction, Cai used the Kinect data to create the compelling motion graphics piece. The animation reminds me of early Russian stop animation, aesthetically interesting with beautiful movements.
The art commission is part of the Opera National De Paris's collection on dance, have a look here and be inspired.