Most times when someone says “director of photography” they’re talking about television media or movies; in the case of Activision’s Call of Duty series they would be talking about games. The director of photography for the upcoming Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Jeff Negus, explained that the game was shot and filmed similar to how Hollywood movies are done, but there’s an extra layer of editing that goes into the process thanks to the whole thing being virtual.
Speaking with former esteemed director Kevin Smith on the IMDB yacht at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Negus and a few of the crew were on hand to talk up and promote Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
According to Negus, they filmed everything on the set while he took notes and then after rendering everything through a rough pass on PC, they implemented the camera angles and shots that they would use in the final render.
Negus, a Hollywood veteran of 20 years, states in the IMDB interview…
“It’s kind of crazy… the level of fidelity these days and the process. What we do is we have all of our actors on set in the motion capture facility, so they wear these suits, we capture all their motions and basically I run around with this virtual camera. This allows me to see all these angles from different places on the set, and kind of guess where maybe a camera should go here and there, and kind of find the coverage while the actors kind of organically figure out what the scene is – because we’re not shooting for an angle specifically, we’re just kind of getting it how we want.”
This kind of befuddled Smith, who questioned “but there is no set?” and that’s a pretty good point considering that when it comes to performance capture the whole thing is basically done on less than what you might see on a set using a green screen.
Negus further explained how that worked, stating…
“The thing is, we come in with a virtual set. And we build little touch points into the motion capture stage. So you touch a wall and it’s not really a wall, it’s some speed-rail piping. So you touch the speed-rail and in the game we apply the motion capture data to their models [and] put them into the volume and I’m actually able to see on the set, on the day, to be able to see them inside the game. So it allows me to just kind of walk around as a cameraman inside the virtual world. And from there I just kind of go back to the office and we create a bunch of animated cameras based off of those.”
Negus explained that he has more of a background in filmmaking than video games so it allowed him to “combine both of those tenets”.
Whether you like Call of Duty or not, it’s sometimes kind of cool to see the process of how the wizard’s magic works behind the curtain. The entire segment is actually 21 minutes long and is available for viewing over on IMDB. You can check out the embed below.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is prepping to get raped in sales this fall by Battlefield 1 when Infinity Ward’s title launches on November 4th for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. You can learn more about the game by visiting the official website.