Back to Top

If Shakespeare was alive today he would want to do this

 Tuesday, 20th September, 2016

Tony Orsten, CEO of Andy Serkis’ The Imaginarium Studios, gave a Performance Capture Masterclass at The Hospital Club


Tony Orsten, CEO of The Imaginarium Studios, spoke to a crowd at The Hospital Club on 15th September at a Performance Capture Masterclass event.

Orsten showcased some of the work by The Imaginarium Studios, who created the video for Coldplay’s Adventure of a Lifetime and are currently using their technology for the RSC’s production of The Tempest, which is set to debut on London’s West End in November 2016.

Although he was unable to share much of their current work on the production, Orsten did reveal that: "The things we are creating and doing for The Tempest is really mind blowing stuff. We like to think that if Shakespeare was alive today he would want to do this.”

The Imaginarium Studios, founded in 2011 by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish, is Europe’s leading Performance Capture studio and production company, and despite working on a variety of big production titles and films, Orsten believes that this kind of technology is available to everyone if they possess the right technique.

“It’s not just bigger production companies or films with big budgets who can use Performance Capture Technology; it is available for independent companies to use right now, starting today,” he said. “Performance capture is all about the technique. You need technology to do it but it’s the technique that makes it great and will enable you to capture the imagination.”

Storytelling is everything

Orsten had words of advice too for anyone who was looking to use Performance Capture Technology. “My advice is to come up with the idea and plan how you want to tell the story from the outset. Do not decide to use performance capture technology first and then create the story. You need the story first. The essence of everything we tell is a story, and without a story to tell the technology is irrelevant.”

Orsten continued to showcase the incredible work that The Imaginarium do, including a Virtual Reality interview they did with pop icon Bjork earlier this year. Both Virtual and Augmented Reality seem set to play a greater part in our lives with this technology becoming more available and the long-awaited Oculus Rift being released this month, and the creative industries are leading the way in embracing this technology.

The Creative Industries

“The creative industries are growing constantly. I think we are currently seeing an 8-9% growth each year,” said Orsten. “There are also more people working in the creative industries in the UK than in finance, and this is driven by developments in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Special FX.”

And Orsten doesn’t see this slowing down anytime soon. “Augmented Reality is a very important part of our future,” Orsten said. “There are lots of fantastic ways this technology is shaping the world of television, film and games and Augmented Reality in particular presents a phenomenal opportunity to write and create stories in the real world.

“It is fun, it’s exciting and it’s incredibly interesting, and as content creators and performance capturers, we want to know what we can do with that, which is why we are constantly looking at new ways to use AR. Technology and digital trends completely change within six months, but it is wrong to think that this is because we can’t keep up with tech – it is because tech can’t keep up with our imaginations.”

Tony Orsten was speaking at an exclusive talk in partnership with The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the organisation behind the Oscars. Click here to find out more about their work.