Veteran Actor/Stuntman Dan Lemieux Shares His Knowledge With Henry Ford Community College Virtual Theatricality Lab

Krug, Kurt Anthony/HFC Press Release/August 12, 2011

Given his impressive background and experience in Hollywood as an actor and as a stuntman, artist-in-residence/consulting Faculty Member Dan Lemieux is an invaluable asset to the Henry Ford Community College’s Virtual Theatricality Lab (VTL).

“Working with Dr. Popovich in the VTL has been a wonderful experience. He is so passionate about it that it’s contagious,” said Lemieux.

Lemieux’s motion capture performance include the blockbuster film “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” where he played not one but all of the centaurs. Motion capture technology is also used in the video game industry. Lemieux has worked on the video games “Call of Duty 2,” “Call of Duty 3,” “Jade Empire” and “Tomb Raider: Underworld.”

“I’ve done so much motion capture – mo-cap as we call it in Hollywood – for six to seven years. When I moved back to Michigan, I applied to HFCC. Dr. Popovich noticed I had mo-cap experience on my resume and called me the next day. The rest, as they say, is history,” said Lemieux, of Plymouth, who has taught acting at Fullerton College in Fullerton, CA. He has his undergraduate degree in theater from Western Michigan University and a graduate degree in acting from DePaul University in Chicago.

The VTL offers a 12-credit Motion Capture Certificate program for students to become a Motion Capture Technician. Dr. George Popovich, director of Theater and director/founder of the VTL, developed this program.
Popovich and Lemieux developed the VTL’s motion capture performance class. Lemieu has extensive experience in motion capture, which is the process of recording an actor’s movement and digitally animating character models in 2D or 3D computer animation. The 2008 blockbuster “Avatar,” directed by Oscar-winning director James Cameron, used this technique.

Motion capture performance involves placing reflective markers on an actor’s body to identify the body’s various landmarks – including the face – and the 3D motion of body segments. Optical systems utilize data from the reflective markers to triangulate the 3D position of the actor between one or more cameras calibrated to provide overlapping projections.

“Dan Lemieux is an example of a working actor with the proper training. Dan has an MFA from DePaul University and is trained in classical and contemporary acting. Many of our students are ‘star struck’ and do not believe they need any training. This is a sure path to failure. Dan serves as an example an inspiration to our students. Dan has a wonderful California energy that makes his contribution to the VTL creative, sincere, and intelligent. I lucked out when he found us,” said Popovich.

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