‘The Wrestlers’ is a project by Ava Porter, University of California in San Diego. It is an innovative combination of technologies such as 3D scanning, motion capture (with Xsens MVN), motion building, and CNC milling, The Wrestlers creates a contemporary artistic iteration of the wrestling body in motion.
Editing is where a film is ultimately shaped. And this idea of “shaping” evokes a simile in the minds of many filmmakers and editors – a comparison between editing and sculpture. For example, Andrei Tarkovsky’s film memoir is titled Sculpting in Time, and Thelma Schoonmaker has said of the editing process, “It’s absolutely like sculpture.”
By merging contemporary cinematic technologies such as 3D human capture, motion capture, and animation, it is now possible for the film editing process to be not just like sculpture, but sculpture itself. The Wrestlers sculpture bridges the gap between 2 and 3D space by marrying photography, filmmaking, motion capture, motion building, 3D modeling, and CNC milling to create a sculpture that captures an ephemeral moment in a fight, one which would otherwise be impossible to see in person or in a traditional film or photograph.
Xsens’ motion capture suits were integral to the process. To capture the motion of two wrestlers with optical motion capture would have been impossible, barring to capture data between bodies. Xsens’ sensors maintained the data of each wrestler’s body individually, even when they were pressed together. Once the sequence was captured, they used MVN both with Maya and Motionbuilder to select the moment to be sculpted and then adjust the pose according to aesthetic concerns. This step of the process was simple and straightforward thanks to Xsens and Ava will continue to use Xsens gear and software to produce sculptures from motion in the future.