Xsens had the privilege of participating in one of this year’s highly anticipated E3 events, by helping to bring a live DJ performance into the future at UploadVR’s annual E3 after party. We collaborated closely with Ned Atkins, Marketing Producer for UploadVR, who described the event theme as “futuristic and space age,” featuring psychedelically lit LED furniture, dozens of VR demos, stilt performers resembling giant cyborgs, and even a robotic looking waitress serving gin and tonic shots directly from the mechanical apparatus on her uniform.
Ned’s vision was to have stimulating musical performances that conveyed the theme. One way they accomplished this was by having notable DJ, Grimecraft, showcase The Wave, VR technology that enabled him to perform his entire set using an HTC Vive and a 3D music visualizer.
In his production research, Ned also came across visuals of Skrillex’s 2011/2012 world tour, where the artist wore the Xsens MVN motion capture suit in order to drive animated characters that were shown live on a large screen behind him. It exemplified everything they were looking for.
Ned determined that the Xsens MN suit would be “ideal for this use case because it is easy to put on, wireless, and works easily with custom content creation.” He was convinced it was “the most accurate motion capture system for a musical performance with an avatar.” After teaming up with Xsens, Ned enlisted MVN aficionados Yehuda Duenyas and Ben Kato of Mindride to serve as the technical supervisors on site. The final component was provided by the team at House of Moves, who created top notch digital assets to show on several massive screens behind the DJ booth.
The result was nothing short of stunning. The robotic avatar, driven by up and coming DJ, Christofi, appeared to have a command on the crowd and the overall impact far exceeded the hopes of Ned and the UploadVR team to create a musical experience unlike any other.
“When the avatar is linked with the motion of the user, it creates the illusion that the avatar itself is controlling the performance. It creates a surreal atmosphere. It changes the entire vibe of the performance, because it’s no longer just a human element, it is an extension of the artist. Many [attendees] mentioned they had never really seen anything like that before.”
The state of the art DJ set served as a great example of the evident change that is coming to live performance and the potential for motion capture in this arena. As an event producer, Ned has high hopes for the future of live music production,
“Something that’s been a trend, obviously, has been integration of more and more tech in live performances. A lot of that has been spurred by electronic music, which has exploded in the last 5-10 years. So much music is created digitally on computers, and the visuals paired with the music are just as important in creating the overall performance. Visual FX have gotten so good – artists have started incorporating 3D effects and holograms. Virtual reality is another extension of media, which I think is going to really enhance musical performances. Going forward, once the wave of augmented reality hits, I think mixed reality festivals and concerts are going to be a huge thing.”