In the play De misdaad (The Crime) Guy Cassiers uses an extraordinary, new and still experimental visual technique for the first time. Actor Johan Leysen’s face is edited live and transformed by ‘crossing’ it with the face of actor Liesa van der Aa.
The technique in question consists of a software tracking programme which can recognize faces in a video image and track them live. It knows where the eyes are, the corners of the mouth, the nose, the eyebrows, etc.; it also knows where these points are in relation to each other. In this way the different facial expressions are recorded.
The process is applied to two faces at once: to the live face of the actor and to a ‘new face’ in a photograph. The texture of the 'new face’ is placed on the live face. The texture of the ‘new face’ follows the track points of the live face so that the latter moves with the actor’s expressions and gives the impression that the actor is speaking live with a different face.
Briefly, what this means is that someone else’s facial expressions can be transferred live to the projected image of the actor on stage. In the video image it is then as if he can speak with someone else’s face. The advantage of the system is that this can be done live and nothing is recorded in advance.
The system is still experimental and still vulnerable. The live facial recognition may fail if the actor’s movements are too brusque or the lighting conditions are not ideal, thus preventing the software from analyzing the texture of the human face correctly.