Storytelling school

Motion-capture suit signals future of storytelling at Carcross – Yukon News

Last Thursday’s dance demonstration at Haa Shagoon Hidi in Carcross showed how digital data capture can record performance, storytelling and craftsmanship.

Jayden Soroka, owner of Outpost 31, demonstrated how new digital technologies can preserve the past and bring the past into the future.

Soroka captures human movement in all its nuances using a motion capture suit.

At Haa Shagoon Hidi, Soroka recorded dancer Dakhká Khwáan Keinas Áxh Łdóos Johnson (Gary Johnson) teaching Tlingit dance moves while wearing the costume. The data was captured digitally and projected immediately onto a screen behind him.

“[The suit] allows us to capture a performance story in a way that has never been available,” Soroka said. “Basically everything from the way they move their hands, to the way their face moves, to the little squinting of their eyes, to the way their body moves.”

This means that the child in the back, who can barely see the instructor in the front, can get a better view, either immediately or later.

Soroka explains, “You can actually give it to your students on their computers, they can slow it down, and they can actually walk around Gary to see how he moves, and back and forth. It’s a way of teaching. »

If the same child wants to see their favorite Marvel action hero perform Tlingit dance moves, then that too is possible.

The collaboration between Soroka and Johnson has spanned more than three years, exploring different ways to preserve history through digital acquisition.

Last year, Outpost 31 Media received funding from Economic Development and CanNor to bring cutting-edge digital technologies such as animation and virtual and augmented realities to the Yukon.

Soroka designed the training program, and then the funding helped him hire four trainees. Now those interns are employees who have repeatedly exceeded his expectations, he said.

The creative team behind the scenes

Three of the four original trainees traveled to Carcross for the demonstration, and their new colleague Kelly Lu followed. They talked about the transformative nature of the training.

Sam Fleming described his change.

“Well, I was an apprentice welder, and now I make movies. I love that. The work itself is very fulfilling and creative; and my satisfaction with life has increased,” he said.

Annie Johnsgaard, who grew up along Carcross Road, said: “It really changed my idea of ​​where I can put my creativity. It is something that has many practical and usable applications. It’s a way to tell stories and get creative in a way that can be both a money maker and a way to reach more people.

As a student at the Klondike School of Arts and Culture in Dawson City, Johngaard studied drawing, painting, sculpting and now she builds things in 3D digital space.

“It’s not a work of art that stays with one person,” she said. She sees a lot of communication possibilities now. “It was crazy, the amount of options that are out there.”

Fleming added, “We are stepping into new emerging worlds and setting the bar for what can happen in the North. Because this work has never been done here before, and it’s huge.

Ajoonagosh, the team’s game engine genius, said, “I’m working on animation, so there’s a big change there. It shows me that there is a path that I can walk and live in my home community and also touch the four corners of the globe.

He goes on to explain how the technical requirements and cost of animations have dropped. He said there was a time, years ago, that 15 seconds of animation took a year to develop. Now some software applications are free and open-source, although he admits that very specific and expensive niche hardware is still needed.

But still, he says, “It’s much more accessible than ever.”

Harnessing the creative soul of the Yukon

These trainees (now employees) are looking to the future. Now, projects for the North can be done in the North, without the need for outside digital media experts. And the creative and collaborative soul of the Yukon permeates the work.

Kelly Lu, who just arrived from the south, spoke of the openness she felt being part of a creative team in the Yukon.

“I like everything to be an open conversation, I feel very respected all the time in the workplace,” Lu said.

“It changed my way of thinking coming from coastal communities where it’s all about competition. It’s just very collaborative.

In 2010, Soroka came to the Yukon from Regina where he was making animated films. A small-town child, he fell in love with the Yukon when he arrived. “It was a place full of culture and creativity, because it’s a city and for the first time I felt like I was home.”

Young people are the future of the territory

“We need to give young people access to opportunities,” says Soroka. He laments that each year the Yukon loses its youth and talent. “It is possible to bring them back.”

Soroka thinks the future is full of possibilities.

“This field across the planet is growing like crazy,” he said.

And because the field is in its infancy, the North has a tremendous opportunity to be part of this wave.

He says that if “we build a sector here and start training young people in school – it has to be done in school – we can see the Yukon become a place of digital content creation, a digital industry, because the time has come”.

He says, “We could be ready for when it takes off. We need to start helping young people in schools learn things because this industry is going to explode. »

Contact Lawrie Crawford at [email protected]