Brett Ineson has close to 20 years’ experience in visual effects, 15 of which has been spent in the field of performance capture. Brett sits on the board of the Motion Capture Society. He has worked in production with industry leaders such as Weta Digital and in technology development with Vicon, Lightstorm Entertainment and Autodesk. In 2004 he founded Animatrik Film Design to specialize in performance capture for film, games and television.
He is recognized as an expert in his field and continues to provide Virtual Production consulting services to industry leaders such as Autodesk, Natural Point, DreamWorks and Ubisoft. He consistently pushes the boundaries for Virtual Production as a whole through the development and deployment of new solutions and innovations. Brett’s film credits include District 9, Elysium, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Warm Bodies and Lord of the Rings: Return of the Kings.
Six questions with Brett
Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
As a kid I had always pursed computer programming and animation as hobbies. This eventually led me to attending Vancouver Film School to study their 3D animation program. Once I graduated I started working at Mainframe Entertainment as an animator. Eventually I became a technical director. At one point, Mainframe started on a show for Sony called Heavy Gear. The mandate was to motion capture the character performance, so as a TD I was invited to join the motion capture team. My career in performance capture grew from there.
What are some of the biggest projects you have worked on during your career?
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Warcraft and Enter the Matrix.
What are the most exciting projects you have worked on during your time at Animatrik?
Lord of the Rings was my first big film. It was exciting for me because I was a fan of the stories, and I was a fan of the country of New Zealand. Traveling there to spend time in that part of the world and work on something I really cared about was a good time for me. Gollum was the by far the greatest achievement in our field at the time; he was just so believable. So, as as a character animation guy, I felt quite lucky to play even a small part in that success.
District 9 was also very exciting; that was the first film for Animatrik as a company. We shot that with a tiny crew, and I literally did all of the data editing, solving, and alien retargeting myself. It was an incredible volume of work to pull off. Only the excitement and energy of a start up can turn something like that around.
Warcraft was by far the largest virtual production effort of any film to date. It was an enormous effort, on a scale that I don’t think will be duplicated any time soon.
What specific expertise do you bring to the Animatrik team?
I’ve been doing this for a long while, so I’ve had some time to become an expert in character animation, software development and camera technology. It’s the marriage of these disciplines that come together to do this job well.
What really excites you about performance capture today?
What is really exciting to me is that our industry and us as of company are coming into our own. The product we produce has reached a certain maturity. What I mean is performance capture can deliver digital characters that are not questioned by audience as being CG – they are believed to be alive.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Outside work I love to backcountry ski, snowboard, and mountain bike.