Copyright Mimic Productions

Berlin's spirit resonated with my vision for fostering creativity and exploring new horizons

David Bennett, Founder Mimic Productions


Since 2012, Mimic Productions has dedicated itself to creating the world's most realistic digital characters for all industries and imaginations. Its founder David Bennett has worked on prestigious projects like Avatar, Batman Arkham Knight and Matrix 4. In our interview, he talks about why Berlin is the place to be, where Motion Capture will go and what else Mimic Productions has to offer.

You are an Early Adopter when it comes to Motion Capture, starting in the field in the 90s. What fascinates you about the craft you have honed for the last 30 years?

What captivates me about the field of Motion Capture, a journey I've passionately traversed for over 30 years, is the ever-evolving intersection of technology and creativity. I have been working with renowned companies such as Weta and Sony, I've contributed to several high-profile projects, including blockbuster films and AAA video games such as James Cameron's Avatar, Batman Arkham Knight and NBA 2k and The Matrix 4 to name a few.

My fascination began during the time I was a college student. I was already immersed in the world of VR, a field that was yet to make its mark in the mainstream 25 years later. My early days were filled with exciting gaming projects like Mortal Kombat, Ballers, Slug Fest, Red Card Soccer, and Blitz. It was during this time that I got my experience in games and got into motion capture.

This passion led me to a pivotal moment in my career, a job at Sony ImageWorks, where I had the opportunity to work on movies like 'Beowulf', Monster House and ' The Polar Express'. My work in the last mentioned was particularly groundbreaking: As a pioneer in the fieId, I developed a tool that revolutionized facial motion capture and enabled this blockbuster movie to be made. My expertise on facial motion capture led me to work on iconic films like “Avatar’, 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes', and 'Tintin' in New Zealand.

What developments have you witnessed in this time and where do you think the journey will go?

Over my three-decade journey in Motion Capture, a standout evolution has been the integration of NPC interaction in gaming and storytelling. In the early days of my career, gaming projects like Mortal Kombat and Ballers focused primarily on character movements within a set framework. However, as technology advanced, the ability to capture and convey nuanced facial expressions and realistic interactions with NPCs became a game-changer.

The evolution of NPC interactions has not only enhanced the gaming experience but has also played a pivotal role in elevating storytelling in both video games and cinematic productions. The integration of motion capture has allowed for more immersive and emotionally resonant narratives, where characters respond dynamically to the player's choices or the storyline's progression.

Looking ahead, I foresee a continued convergence of motion capture technology with interactive storytelling, blurring the lines between traditional cinema and gaming experiences. The potential for even more sophisticated NPC interactions, driven by advancements in AI and machine learning, holds immense promise. This could lead to a future where virtual characters not only react to the player's actions but also adapt and evolve based on complex algorithms, creating truly personalized and dynamic narratives.

As technology continues to advance, the journey is poised to explore new frontiers, providing creators with unprecedented tools to craft engaging and interactive stories that resonate with audiences in ways we can only begin to imagine. The intersection of NPC interactions, motion capture, AI and storytelling is a fascinating realm, and I am excited to witness and contribute to its evolution in the years to come.

Having worked in Australia, New Zealand and the US, why did you found your studio in Berlin?

After many years working abroad, I moved to Berlin in 2012 and started Mimic out of my house. I was driven to bring high quality animated characters into a variety of different industries, since at that time the technology was available only to big blockbuster films. The decision to establish my studio in Berlin was deeply personal. Berlin's vibrant creative atmosphere and its unique blend of artistic energy and entrepreneurial opportunities spoke directly to my aspirations. Unlike any other city I had experienced, Berlin offered a dynamic environment that nurtured creativity while providing a fertile ground for innovative ventures. The city's spirit resonated with my vision for fostering creativity and exploring new horizons in the world of animation.

Mimic has grown from a dream nurtured in my house to a renowned name in the 3D world. Driven by the company`s unwavering commitment to creating the highest quality of photorealistic characters, we have accomplished over 500 projects across many different industries.

Mimic Productions has a lot more to offer than Motion Capture. Please give us an overview of your latest ventures.

At Mimic Productions, our creative ventures extend beyond Motion Capture, encompassing a diverse array of cutting-edge projects under three distinct brands.

Our Mimic XR brand  is at the forefront of cinematic metaverse creation for both film and gaming. This innovative venture explores the boundaries of immersive storytelling, bringing to life captivating narratives in virtual realms.

Another venture of ours is Mimic VFX , a dedicated platform  to VFX and virtual production pipelines. Here, we leverage advanced technologies to enhance visual effects and streamline production processes, ensuring seamless integration for filmmakers and content creators.

Mimic Minds embodies our foray into the realm of AI-powered digital humans. We explore AI technologies to create lifelike and emotionally resonant digital personas, opening up new possibilities for interactive and realistic virtual experiences.

These ventures collectively showcase Mimic Productions' commitment to pushing the boundaries of creativity and technology, offering a holistic suite of solutions that redefine the landscape of digital content creation.

What are possible applications for these services?

Our services have wide-ranging applications across industries. Mimic XR's cinematic metaverse creations find implications in enriching storytelling for films, gaming, and virtual events. Mimic VFX, specializing in VFX and virtual production pipelines, enhances visual storytelling in film, television, and advertising. Mimic Minds, with its AI-powered digital humans, is applicable in entertainment for realistic characters, customer service through virtual assistants, and immersive training simulations. These services collectively redefine digital experiences in entertainment, marketing, and training, with a particular emphasis on delivering cutting-edge solutions for gaming, immersive environments and experiences. Our aim is to provide support and complement the skills and knowledge to game developers, animation and production studios.

This affords a huge number of professionals in different fields. How do you evaluate Berlin’s workforce in that regard?

Berlin's workforce stands out as a dynamic and diverse pool of professionals, offering a wealth of talent across various fields. The city's vibrant and inclusive atmosphere has attracted individuals with a wide range of skills, fostering a collaborative and innovative environment. In the realm of digital content creation and technology, Berlin's workforce showcases a remarkable blend of creativity, technical expertise, and a forward-thinking mindset, making it an ideal hub for companies like Mimic.

However, the city's popularity has led to increased competition for skilled professionals, making talent acquisition a competitive endeavor for companies like Mimic.

Games-wise Berlin is an indie studio hotspot. How can one make costly services like yours more accessible to small studios?

Our commitment is to consistently offer competitive pricing and cultivate enduring partnerships with our clients. Whether collaborating with small studios on modest budget projects or engaging with large corporations on expansive endeavors, our goal remains to deliver top-notch services at the most competitive rates. To achieve this, we employ a strategic and flexible approach. This includes the implementation of adaptable pricing models which are project-based. We are always open to Collaborative partnerships through grants and other initiatives. Additionally, we provide scaled-down versions of our offerings that cater to the needs of smaller projects, enabling access to essential components without overwhelming costs. Coming from the arts field and having experience working with very low budgets, I understand that flexibility is key. Therefore, we continually assess and adjust our offerings to ensure they align with client needs.

Walking among the film and games industry alike, do you see the two converge? What are possible implications and potentials of this development?

The convergence of the film and gaming industries is unmistakable, offering profound implications and potentials. We can see that cinematic techniques are increasingly integrated into video games, enhancing narrative depth and character development. Simultaneously, interactive storytelling elements from games are influencing film narratives, creating more engaging cinematic experiences. This blending of traditional boundaries results in hybrid entertainment experiences that can be amplified by technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). Collaboration between professionals from both industries enriches the creative process, despite challenges in reconciling distinct production timelines and audience expectations. As technology evolves, I believe we will have  more innovative and boundary-defying experiences at the intersection of film and gaming, reshaping the landscape of entertainment and how we experience interactivity.