Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Digital Emotion Being Added To Actors' Performances

Via slashdot.
From a welling tear to a wounded stare, the ability to project convincing emotions in close-up is the test of a cinema actor. But now it appears that there is more to some star turns than meets the audience’s eye.

Directors have started to manipulate actors’ performances in postproduction.

In the “before” shot Jennifer Connolly, the leading lady, was shown talking on her mobile phone. The digitally manipulated “after” shot showed her talking on her mobile phone with a tear rolling down her cheek. Such alterations are becoming increasingly common, but practitioners are discouraged from discussing this work.

They are even able to add limps in, change facial expressions, edit out actors who breathe or move when they are supposed to be dead. Tom "The Couch Jumper" Cruise is already adding in clauses to his contract to not allow this to be done to him. I guess he is afraid a pissed off director will have Cruise "saying" that he is bat shit crazy and the whole Xenu volcano thing was pretty ridiculous now that he has the introspection from therapy and medication (or something like that).

Film buffs, critics, actors, what do you think? Is this just an evolutionary process or is it a bastardization of the film making process?