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This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.



Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A Cast of Little People Take 2

When I drew up the list of characters for the model (see blog Wednesday, 11 May 2011) I didn't realise I'd be working with little Romans again in 2011.

When we started to think of a different way of showing what people did in the Baths and Spring, for the new development in the West Baths, we soon came up with the idea of a new model with moving figures and an overhead screen to show details of a day in the life of 7 people.

To get avatars of less than 10mm and moving images of the characters in the baths, I visited Audio Motion, motion-capture experts in Oxford. They have a huge studio with many cameras that create data which can be used to make digital people and objects. The studio has worked on some big productions requiring "mo-cap", including the films Gladiator, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2, and Iron Man II, and the games Kill Zone3 and Kinect Sport

Avatars
Lee and Sean were our patient actors who took everything in their stride, including strigilling themselves with paint rollers for "the detail can be added later digitally", as I kept on being told. They were kitted out in body suite, with many reflectors stuck on them which reflected the light from many lamps and gave 3D co-ordinates to a computer as they moved. The hardest activity they had to do was mime taking off a toga (which would have been 7m long and made of heavy woollen cloth, but we couldn't use a real one as it would block the signals to the sensors). Clyde, from the company, ISO, who we'd worked with before for a touch screen interactive, directed the proceedings with utmost patience and understanding. In the weeks that followed, his incredible team managed to transform the data into believable Roman characters.

Finished Projection Table
So now, projected down onto a plan of the baths, are many of the characters who appeared in the model, once again reminding visitors that it wasn't just fun and games at the Baths (well, we have got 2 men playing ball); there were people working there as well. We see young Belator puffing away, stoking the fires from (almost) dawn to dusk, Flavia bathing, having a massage, scolding her slave Apulia and, of course, chatting to friends, and Bellinus, one of the maintenance men carefully painting the walls.

What will these little Romans do next?

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