Bringing the Battle of Bannockburn to life for the 21st century

28 Sep 2012

A first glimpse into the behind-the-scenes work to bring the story of the Battle of Bannockburn to life for visitors like never before has been released.

The project’s interpretative designers Bright White Ltd are working with the combination of an Academic Advisory Panel featuring some of the UK’s top historians and state-of-the-art 3D technology to produce a new interpretation of the battle, to be launched at the world-class visitor centre in 2014.

The new motion capture video reveals the first ‘making of’ footage of fight sequences used to create the sparring medieval warriors featured in the online teaser trailer. The victorious axeman featured is Charlie Allan from the Clanranald Trust who has been working on the fight choreography for the project, and has previously worked on over 180 movie productions including roles in the movies Gladiator, Robin Hood and most recently, Snow White and the Huntsman. 

The footage gives an insight into the cutting-edge technology and expertise that will allow people visiting Bannockburn to experience medieval battle in a completely new way. 

The Academic Advisory Panel, including historians Dr Fiona Watson, Prof. Michael Prestwich, Prof. Edward J. Cowan, Prof. Richard Oram, Dr Michael Penman, Scott McMaster and archaeologists Dr Tony Pollard and Derek Alexander are advising on the development of scripts, story boards and character profiles, playing a crucial role in authenticating the complex history of the battle for the production process. 

The motion capture technique used is similar to that which famously brought the character ‘Gollum’ to life in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and provides a degree of realism that could not be achieved using traditional filming methods. Reenactors use replica weapons to engage in a real fight provoking genuine reactions, and by means of digital enhancement the swords and lances are shown striking and penetrating armour and flesh.

Motion capture can only feature three or fewer people at a time, so for the more complex battle sequences featuring a cast of thousands, motion-capture data will be combined and post-production effects employed, to create the intense spectacle of a full-scale battlefield.

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