For the comedy “Ted”, Seth MacFarlane was not only directing this movie, he was also the actor and the voice of the fluffy bear ‘Ted’.
To give Ted the lifelike movements of Seth MacFarlane, they suit him up in an Xsens MVN system. They choose the straps so Seth could easily combine acting and directing at the same time.
In this behind the scenes compilations you can see how Seth and the crew worked. Most of the times Mila Kunis and Mark Wahlberg were talking to an empty spot while Seth was acting in a different location or room.
“The MVN suit gave MacFarlane the ability to work anywhere; no mocap volume was required for a dedicated shoot. Although “VFX likes planning,” the comedy process likes to be fluid, Jenny Fulle, the film’s VFX producer notes.”
“What we had to do was not make him get in a spandex suit to give his performance. So we worked with a company, Xsens, that creates MVN [motion-capture] suits. It [Seth’s suit] had to be robust enough to be on a movie set, not in some kind of controlled environment. It had to go on over Seth’s street cloths without a hassle and it had to come on and off without taking the director out of his job.”
AWN (Animation World Network)
“Every time we had Ted and an actor together doing a dramatic scene, Seth wore the MVN suit,” says Clark. “He was just out of frame, but they could hear him and react. This meant he had a kind of spontaneous proximity with the actors, which translated to the animators as well because they could pick up on that, rather than trying to figure out the pantomime later.”
So what our challenge was, was with our budget and our timeframe for getting it done was – how could we get Seth and his mannerisms and his voice and all that, get that into Ted. And not break the bank and not run the schedule over. So what we ended up working with was the Xsens suit, the motion capture suit – it’s basically a situation where you can go with a suit or you can go with straps, and we opted for the straps so Seth wouldn’t have to be in a unitard all day long.
“In our early meetings with Seth MacFarlane, who obviously also is the director of Ted, he actually wanted to be Ted. And he was afraid to do this, he didn’t want it to be cartoony, he wanted it to be real. He wanted it to be a real teddy bear that he could infuse his character into to bring it alive. So he knew when he was going in that he wanted to do motion capture in some fashion, some form or another in addition to doing Ted’s voice.
So what our challenge was, was with our budget and our timeframe for getting it done was – how could we get Seth and his mannerisms and his voice and all that, get that into Ted. And not break the bank and not run the schedule over. So what we ended up working with was the Xsens suit, the motion capture suit”
“MacFarlane also was able to devote time and effort to the degree Serkis did when essaying apes for Gollum or Mark Ruffalo did for his role as Hulk. The solution, Fulle said, was use of the Xsens MVN, a ready-made coverall-like solution, often used in videogame rendering, and recently in live-action films like Disney’s Alice in Wonderland.
“Seth didn’t have to walk around in a Lycra unitard,” Fulle said, “We didn’t have the luxury to do that, on many levels.”
Below The Line
But MacFarlane didn’t just hand things over to the special effects whiz kids. Not only did the Connecticut native lend his best Boston accent to the bear, he also wore the motion-capture suit off-camera, so he could animate the character and interact with his actors Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis throughout the production.
Even some of “Ted’s” lewd acts were performed by MacFarlane himself. “Yes, I did hump a cash register. That’s the kind of progressive, left-wing guy that I am,” he said.
Los Angeles Times