FilmSpeed: A Forza Motorsport 5 Live-Animation Experiment

Posted: 21 November 2013
Category: Features Comments View Comments


The worldwide release of Forza Motorsport 5 is imminent so, to whet your appetite, here's an amazing reanimation of in-game footage that was accomplished by driving a McLaren C12 fitted with a camera around a track lined with panels of images taken from the game.

FilmSpeed: A Forza Motorsport 5 Live-Animation Experiment

Forza Motorsport 5, the latest installment in the popular racing-simulation series, is being released tomorrow overseas (in South Africa we have to wait until 2014, unfortunately). Its launch has been scheduled to coincide with the worldwide launch of the Xbox One and, to increase excitement and anticipation for the new game, Microsoft partnered with McLaren Automotive, stunt driver and Top Gear USA co-host Tanner Foust, and some skilled filmmakers to put together Forza FilmSpeed, an advertisement that was flighted on ESPN in the US but which is also available on YouTube for the rest of us to view.

To demonstrate the speed and graphics of the new game the team set up an elaborate, highly technical zoetrope. Six-hundred-and-eighty animation frames taken directly from the game were printed onto aluminium panels that were each 5.5 feet wide (roughly 168 centimetres), which were then placed with meticulous spacing around a racing track in various zones. (To save you from the maths, that's just under 23 seconds of footage at 30 frames per second.)

FilmSpeed: A Forza Motorsport 5 Live-Animation Experiment

A Phantom Flex camera was bolted onto the engine block of a McLaren 12C supercar with extensive equipment, batteries, and rigging placed inside the car to assist the camera, which included remote controls and a monitor set up in the front of the passenger seat so that the director, Jeff Zwart, could control the camera from inside the car and film the panels as Tanner Foust drove the McLaren C12 around the track.

That was the easy part.

FilmSpeed: A Forza Motorsport 5 Live-Animation Experiment

The different zones required the car to be moving at different speeds - in some places as fast as 120 miles per hour (193 kilometres per hour) and in others 80 miles per hour or 100 miles per hour - so, to ensure that the result looked like an animation and not a messy blur, very precise calculations had to be made to take into account various variables, including the camera's shutter speed, which was filming at 30 frames per second; the speed of the car; and the placement of the boards. If there were missteps in any of those areas, the experiment wouldn't work.

It was, of course, a success, which you can see in the video below, although there's no mention of how many times they had to drive around the track to get it just right.

[ YouTube link ]

There are also a number of behind-the-scenes videos that delve a little deeper into certain aspects of the project (although, for me, they are marred by the appearance of Rutledge Wood). For Forza fans, specifically, the "The Car Behind FilmSpeed" video shows some in-game renderings and footage of the McLaren 12C that is almost indistinguishable from real-life photographs and video, to give you a taste of what to expect when you pick up the game.

[ YouTube link ]

[ YouTube link ]

[ YouTube link ]

[ YouTube link ]

[ YouTube link ]

Tags: #games, #screen

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