Mirror's Edge LARP

When I first saw this video, I couldn't decide if it was real -- in which case, it's amazing -- or if it was a motion-captured render and/or composite -- in which case it's amazing.

But my second thought, as someone who has spent far too much time embroiled in construction projects, was perfectly encapsulated by this comment:

no no look out for that SOLAR PANEL oh christ there's a duct BE CAREFUL WITH THAT DUCT it's just aluminum you can't stand on that oh god ANTENNA ANTENNA WATCH OUT fuck you're going to break that window sill right off aren't you SATELLITE DISH DON'T TRIP ON THE SATELLITE DISH do you have any idea how long it takes to calibrate those fuckers AAAAH COMPOSITE SHINGLES those things are more delicate than they look you're going to fuck up the shingles and that roof is going to start leaking DON'T STEP ON THE LOOK OUT SUNROOF WINDOW LOOK OUT oh hell now you've loosened the caulk by yanking on the frame and it's going to leak too dammit

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26 Responses:

  1. Jason Scott says:

    All I could think of was the girl who fell several stories to her death while doing urban exploration that a lot of mutual friends of her/me were sad about.

  2. crowding says:

    If I'm seeing the shadow correctly, he's holding the camera with his teeth.

    Which I suppose would get you more stable video than a helmet mount.

    • crowding says:

      After seeing some of the polygon-hallucinators on here, I should make it clear I'm not saying "where's his helmetcam," I'm saying "look at the thing sticking out his mouth around 1:52."

      • Adolf Osborne says:

        That's not a camera. That's just where he keeps his extra set of balls.

  3. DaveL says:

    To pile on to what crowding said, the camera work is way too stable for this to be real. Also, much of the time when you see the legs, they seem to be a bit jaggy-rich. Still, it's an awesome job.

    If it's real I'm glad I'm not his insurance company.

  4. skreidle says:

    See also, Cambridge Parkour POV - James Kingston, which appears wholly real and wholly dangerous.

    As an aside, ea.com/mirrors-edge has lorem ipsum as its meta 'description' content, also visible in the Google search: https://www.google.com/search?q=mirror's+edge

    • Jon says:

      I recalled that Cambridge vid whilst watching this one, which looks really like Cambridge. I haven't compared the two but I did suspect someone painted Mirror's Edge gloves on top of the hands of the Cambridge vid.

      • Nick Lamb says:

        Same company, different runner and mostly different places though in the same city.

        Not so much addressed to you as to many others in this thread: This doesn't look anything like a render. If you think movies (let alone video games) are rendering visuals like this then you urgently need new glasses.

        There are giveaways that could plausibly be faked (but weren't here and probably wouldn't be anywhere unless someone was specifically aiming to fool you). For example the alignment between the title overlays and video isn't quite right, meaning the titles don't quite perfectly "hang" in the 3D space. That happens naturally with live action and costs a lot to fix/ avoid, but you'd have to go out of your way to fake it in a render.

        But there's also stuff that you can't fake. Or rather, to fake it you have to spend monstrous amounts of money. The real world is full of tiny details, which cost nothing to capture in live action because they're just there. But rendering them means at least getting an artist to make a 3D model, texture it, place it into the environment. And you have to repeat that everywhere, because the real world does it everywhere. Putting some paving slabs on a roof walkway? Nobody will care that they're all different and some are cracked. Unless they're faking it and would rather just model one slab and copy-paste.

        It's actually easier to tell with the real world (as here) than with movies. A live action movie is fake already, copy-paste was good enough for matte paintings long before it was good enough for 3D renders. When a Hollywood movie shoots a scene in somebody's bedroom the "bedroom" was probably built in a day by carpenters, painted, dressed with stock items and used for a few shots over the course of an hour. It doesn't have the detail of a lived-in place because it never was one.

      • Ru says:

        It is Cambridge. It also has remarkably similar artefacts around the shadow and legs of the, uh, parkour-person in the Cambridge Parkour video. So either they're both faked similarly, or they both used the same camera and compression algorithm.

  5. Ewen McNeill says:

    Given that Mirror's Edge is a POV computer game, and the video looks rendered (skin particularly, but also buildings, lack of motion blur matching movement, physics of landings, etc), plus there are some interesting editing choices, I think it's supposed to be seen as a really skilled playthrough with Parkour type movements. I don't see anything in the YouTube description that claims it's live action/LARP; that seems to have been added by Metafilter (at least without any reference to why they say that).

    It's a pretty skilled playthrough though.


    • jwz says:

      If that's from the game, that's the best lighting and shadows I've ever seen. Which is why I said: whether its real or not, it's impressive as hell, but in totally different ways.

      • One of the reasons it's impressive is that the field of view is always narrow. The bulk of the scene is very high resolution textures draped over the model data, and all of the GPU is available to make the close-up surfaces look real, without having to spend lots of effort culling detail from distant parts of the scene.

    • Jon says:

      A cursory glance at any Mirror's Edge game videos demonstrates that this isn't from the game.

  6. I just watched it up close on my 55" TV and it definitely looks rendered, especially the protagonist's limbs.

  7. Ben Harris says:

    I'm impressed at the number of people who think this isn't real, since a fair amount of it is set on the site where I work and if it's not real then someone's put an awful lot of effort into modelling our site in the last six months (after our new server room was commissioned but before Anglian Water started digging up the sewers). Much easier to believe that it's one of our local traceurs having fun.

    Roof-climbing has a long history in Cambridge, so I suspect that any buildings that are going to leak do so already. My office certainly does, though that may be the fault a century of inadequate maintenance rather than daredevils on the roof.

  8. Meep says:

    It's possible that the person is modeled and the background is real, but if that's the case the sync work and the shadows are incredible. There's no way the buildings are rendered though, this would have cost a fortune.

  9. DaveL says:

    What Meep said. Still, it's a damned impressive effort.

  10. The default youtube view looks rendered to me, but the 720p looks much more real. I am very surprised to learn than compression artifacts look like rendering artifacts.

  11. Owen W. says:

    For some of those shots, there's no way to get "real" footage that stable given what we see. Based on the shadows, there's no rig that small to compensate for that much motion*. A post-production motion-smoothing process would show large amounts of stabilized motion blur (ie, frames that were blurred from motion but are now stable -- it results in a weird jittery effect) or distortion artifacts (from when barrel distortion is repositioned). Hypothetically they could have un-distorted the footage, stabilized the footage, and then re-distorted the footage. But now we're talking real VFX even there would still be rolling shutter artifacts from the gopro or whatever small camera was used.

    So VFX are involved somehow, likely using photographs taken of real places and then perhaps projected onto geometry. This may be "amazing" rendering for a game engine, but I doubt it's a game engine. For VFX, this is pretty high end but not crazy-amazing (especially given how static the geometry is).

    But that doesn't mean all of it is vfx! There's no reason they couldn't shoot some pieces with a head-mounted camera, other pieces comped, and other pieces fully rendered. Or even blends of real to vfx. The fallacy is looking at individual shots and assuming the whole thing was done one way.

    *Last thought: they might have shot it all for real with a steadicam or Movi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg4aIsd0n1Y), painted out the rig, and replaced just the shadows / body stuff. That would be easier than a full render.

    • Ben says:

      You and all the other polygon illusionists in this thread are fascinating.

      I guess the visual effects people should feel really proud that you guys think they can do stuff like this now.

      • Owen W. says:

        What makes you think I've never done vfx? If nothing else I'd want to know what camera they were using and how much they had to stabilize the video. I'm mostly looking at the 2:10 mark when the movement is weirdly smooth.

        Just for comparison, here's a similar POV video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LS7ALA6VSM This has the jitter and bounce I expect, although truth be told some parts do look a lot more stable than I would have thought.

        • crowding says:

          Good comparison: that is clearly using a helmet mount, while the Mirror's Edge video as I noted above is using a teeth mount.

          There's a whole lot of relative motion between head and helmet, and the neck is quite a good shock absorber if you can get more rigidly attached to it (you have no problems reading street signs with your eye-cameras while jogging, yeah?)

          • Adolf Osborne says:

            Also, too: The whole concept behind this sort of activity is the conservation of momentum. This means, in part, that the runner is moving far more fluidly than most people can imagine, let alone muster.

            Of course the shots are ridiculously fluid. So is the rest of this person.

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