Tom Hillman and Jaime Torres of Toronto-based animation studio Ghost FX have become the creative force behind the innovative, guerrilla-style animation techniques used in the documentary film, The River of My Dreams: A Portrait of Gordon Pinsent. 

Working with the Director of the film, Academy Award winning filmmaker Brigitte Berman, as the creative team behind the animations, Ghost FX has combined out-of-the-box thinking and experimentation that has led to the innovative techniques in motion capture used to bring the animation within the film to life in stunning quality.

“As soon as you meet Gordon, it’s like you’ve known him your whole life. He’s a regular guy that suddenly becomes fantastic. When we strapped the motion capture suit on him, he danced around like a kid and then began performing Shakespeare and gave us chills.” – Tom Hillman, Ghost FX .

Since 1991, Ghost FX has been striving to bring highly experimental works to all forms of digital media.  

Gravitating toward the strange and whimsical worlds of imagination, they are ever-working to maintain a level of excellence within their craft. From plasticine stop-motion to the latest in digital scanning technologies and experimental motion capture, Ghost FX has lent their talents to the worlds of film, television, gaming and web, virtual and augmented realities. At a wonderful, rugged gem of a studio in Toronto, they continue to create, inspire and push the boundaries to utilize existing technologies and develop new ones.

“We created the digital versions of Gordon at various stages in his life from old photos and it was all accurate. When we formally presented Gordon to himself, he didn’t speak at first and I was a little nervous. He was looking at something he had never seen before, outside of a photo of himself. Then he said intensely, ‘WOW…that’s it!'” – Jaime Torres, Ghost FX.

Not readily available in Canada, motion capture technology has never been used before this film in the Canadian documentary circuit. 

Being developers of motion capture technologies, Ghost FX has experimented and found a low cost way to legally create high quality motion capture techniques

– including utilizing a piece of equipment intended for use as a gaming device. Behind-the-scenes videos on the film’s website showcase the process and technologies employed within the documentary, including a 3D face scan, facial motion capture and body motion capture, using a motion capture suit.

It is important to Ghost FX to share this ground-breaking information with the public: “Excited with our discoveries, we were committed to sharing this technology in order to strengthen the Canadian documentary platforms.” – Tom Hillman, Ghost FX. 

This is extremely valuable information for the creative community, as these techniques are now available at an extremely reasonable cost, which makes them attainable for smaller film budgets. 

To learn more about the motion capture techniques and technologies used in the film, or to learn more about the documentary itself, free information can be found on the interactive website, theriverofmydreams.com.

Photo captions

As well as being an accomplished actor, Gordon Pinsent is a director, playwright, screenwriter and a talented painter.

FX has found a low cost way to legally create high quality motion capture techniques