Pretty much everyone's a fan of Michael Jackson's music and pretty much everyone, at some point in their lives, has attempted to dance like him. Those iconic moves are infectious, the only problem is most of us don't have the skill or dedication to pull it off. All we have is our own self-delusion (your ten-year-old self may've convinced your mom you're as good as MJ, but let's be honest: you sucked). But how about if you could dance like Michael Jackson just by using facial expressions? That surprised look you've just pulled, well that could be a small moonwalk.
This is the idea behind a project from our New Cinema hackathon, a collaboration between The Creators Project,Eyebeam, and Framestore that explored bold new ways of cinematic storytelling. This particular project, called Face Dance, involved filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost (aka Supermarché) and creative coders Aaron Meyers,Lauren McCarthy, and James George. The group decided to use facial recognition software and motion capture of a Michael Jackson impersonator to create a bank of moves for a program that allows people to control a projected image of the King of Pop by moving the muscles in their face.
Motion capture facilities and mentorship courtesy of Framestore.