QD&ME – FLORENCE FOURNIER, Lead Motion Capture
Quantic Dream: Please introduce yourself! What’s your name, where are you from, and what is your role at QD?
My name is Florence Fournier, I come from the south of France, from the city of Grasse more precisely, the world capital of perfume. I am Lead Motion Capture, which means that I manage the technical part of the shootings on our set.
Quantic Dream: How did you come to work in the video games industry? Was it a lifelong dream, or did you luckily stumble into it?
With my brothers and sisters, we started playing video games at a very young age, on PC, thanks to our father who would bring us floppy disks. We played Flashback, Fury of the Furries, Prehistorik, Aladdin, Flight of the Amazon Queen, EcoQuest… That’s how got into video games! My sister, the eldest of the siblings, used to help us on ADI, an educational software in which you could unlock games, like Goblins 2 and 3, if you’d complete some lessons. As I grew up I kept on playing, and as video games were quickly evolving, I wanted to take another step into this small world. I joined Quantic Dream at the beginning of the development of Beyond: Two Souls. At the time I was working in industrial design, but since I was a hardcore gamer, I gave that up to join the video game industry.
Quantic Dream: Let’s talk about your job at Quantic Dream! Could you elaborate more on your role, and the role of your team?
Between two productions, my role is to design the systems of the motion capture set, to meet the needs of future shootings, for real-time footage and sound capture. We then validate these proposals and research with the production and animation teams, who work jointly with us. Then, we launch test phases to make sure that everything works perfectly and that these new solutions fit all of our projects. During these production phases, the role of the entire motion capture team can evolve; it goes from the preparation of the shootings, to determining the limits of our tools and finding alternative solutions, to the delivery to the Animation team of the captured and processed data, for direct use in the game creation engine. Until now, outside of production periods, my only colleague, Pierre, is managing all the filming, from the calibration of the system – so that each camera knows its location in space in relation to the other cameras – to the capture of all the animations of the day. We then take care of the data processing together. Then when we get into production, the Motion Capture team expands so that the actors’ equipment, the management of the shoots and the processing of the captured images follow a more intense rhythm.
Quantic Dream: Tell us more about the members of your team. Any fun story to share?
For my graduation project, I had done motion capture with my cousin, on whom I had put markers; I then used a free software, not very powerful, but it was enough. MoCap was not very common back then, but with these first experiences I started to train myself, and then finally I managed to get an opportunity with Quantic Dream. Stephen Olsen then took me under his wing to teach me everything he knew about this job.
Quantic Dream: Can you describe to us a typical day for you? Does a typical day even exist for you?
We have two types of days in motion capture. When there are shoots, we come first; one of us does the calibration, the others get the actors ready. We shoot all day long, everyone has different tasks, depending on the current and upcoming shootings. At the end of the day, we help the actors take their MoCap gear off, we copy the data to the servers, we do the laundry and get the set ready for the next shooting.
Now, when there’s no shooting, either we’ve just finished some sequences and we start processing the data, or we prepare the following shoots with the directing team, including work on the props – the items and set elements that serve as references for the actors. And of course, when we don’t have a shooting or image processing project to deal with, we constantly look at the various improvements we can make to make our tools more and more efficient.
Quantic Dream: What are your external inspirations that are reflected in your job?
We always look at what other companies are doing, but it’s more about technical than artistic inspiration. For example, when there’s a making of that’s coming out, on a AAA movie or game, obviously we look at the solutions used for the shootings. For example Avatar 2, which takes place in the water, I’m following it very closely, it can inspire us to bring new technical answers to questions asked by our own screenwriters. By the way, there’s a Facebook group gathering many MoCap teams around the world, we often exchange tips on how to deal with new issues. I also like the idea of filming with animals, it’s something we haven’t tried here yet. The same goes for choreographies with harnesses; we do them, but not in a very advanced way yet. Same thing with props, the elements we give to the actors to make certain things more tangible on the set: we look at what the other companies are doing, sometimes it can help us find a solution we haven’t yet thought of.
Quantic Dream: Be careful, BIG question… What are your favourite games?
It’s very complicated, I have favourites for different genres! I really like good old-fashioned point and clicks, like Day of The Tentacle and Runaway, whose offbeat humour I love. In another genre, I also loved Resident Evil 4 – I’m Team Leon! – even though the sound of the chainsaw was pretty scary to me. As for platformers, I’m a fan of Guacamelee! Its Mexican atmosphere, being either a hen or a wrestler in a world of the dead or the living, it’s just great. I even bought it on Switch so I can play it on the go. I also have a soft spot for This is the Police, a strategy game where you play a police officer, stuck between the Mayor and the Mob; besides being fun, the game made an impression on me with its very jazzy soundtrack. I can also mention Ico, whose dreamlike side offers an incomparable journey and moment of emotion. More recently, Rime made me think about it a lot, by the way. And finally, I want to talk about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, two games I played way too much. My passion for side quests has made me spend more than 150 hours on each of them; I sometimes can become obsessed by a game, I have to complete every single quest! On Breath Of The Wild, for example, I can spend whole days looking for Koroks! (laughs)
Quantic Dream: Tell us more about your hobbies outside of work.
When I’m not at work, on weekends I like to sew, to craft simple things like covers, small kits and I recently started making facemasks.
Quantic Dream: All right! What does your perfect Friday night look like?
Having a drink with my boyfriend and a few friends sounds perfect to me.
Quantic Dream: Do you have a message for our readers?
Come to Quantic Dream, we have cookies! More seriously, don’t hesitate to apply to join us, we are constantly looking for new people for our projects.
Quantic Dream: Final question! Chocolate cake or Fruit pie?
Both! I’m a sweet tooth, I must admit, but to be honest I love food, so make it sweet or salty, it’s all good to me!
Pictures by Julien Braconnier