Hellish Quart, an interview with Antoni Olbrychski, a motion capture actor

Q: Antoni, let’s begin with a basic question – why the historical fencing? What inspired you to devote yourself to such a passion? Do you care for developing this discipline in Poland or you just do it individually, for yourself only?

A: The clash of steel and the deposition of thrusts is an addictive combination. I like the sport of fencing but it is a bit “toothless” to me. Historical fencing offers a possibility to use all kinds of weapons in a fight, which is rather unusual elsewhere – you cannot get bored with it! Combat has been my personal interest since childhood and I’ve always been developing my skills with new techniques, concepts and movements.

Antoni Olbrychski speaking on the phone
A photo from Antoni Olbrychski’s private archives

Akademia Szermierzy (the Fencers’ Academy), a club where I work as an instructor, has its significant share in the development of this discipline in Poland. Apart from regular training, we organize camps, workshops and events. We also present historical techniques in our YouTube videos; we often find out that our viewers became interested in historical fencing thanks to our channel.

We are planning to organize our own tournament, but it looks like the Covid-19 pandemics might, unfortunately, slightly delay our plan to make it happen.

Q: What was your reaction when Kubold offered to use your skills for the purpose of Hellish Quart game? Did you feel like it would be a fun adventure? Did you have any concerns? Do you play games at all?

A: I got very excited because I’d always wanted to take part in a motion capture session. Excitement definitely overcame concerns.

I used to be a big nerd who would have spent whole days playing games. Then, gradually, sports started winning over the games but I still happen to play.

two Hellish Quart game characters in a battle
A shot from Kubold’s Hellish Quart

Then “THE” day came, the day of the shoot at Bones Studio. Did you know what to expect? How did the motion capture session go and what were your first impressions?

I did not know what to expect but the Bones’ team made it pretty clear from the start. When I finally took the sword in my hand, I was just doing what I’m passionate about. The motion capture session is hard work requiring a lot of creativity and imagination but it is also very satisfying.

Q: Was it easy for you to impersonate the character from the game? What were the biggest challenges and surprises?

A: At the time of the mocap session it had not been determined yet which character I would be lending my cuts and footwork to, so I wasn’t thinking too much about it, I just focused on making my moves look good. Certain combinations were quite difficult to perform. Kuba needed cuts from different directions, made in different variants of footwork. A feint of the cut to the head, finally executed with the upward cut from the left side twisted me a lot, but we managed to record all the combinations 🙂 

The T-poses every single time were the biggest surprise, I had no idea that it was a part of motion capture.

Q: Would you like to be a part of a motion capture session again? Perhaps as another character?

A: Surely! Transferring movements onto the screen is super fun! 

Q: Do you have any advice for those who are about to perform at Bones Studio for the first time? 

A: Yes, make sure where the studio’s entrance exactly is 🙂 I struggled to find it 🙂 *

(*Bones’ comment: we already have a big banner, board and a sign on the door)

Q: And the last question: will you play Hellish Quart to check which character has your moves? 

A: For sure! As soon as I find some free time I’m going to check the virtual fencing in Kubold’s game.

Q: Thank you very much for the interview!

A: Thanks a lot, Bones, for this conversation. It’s so cool that thanks to your studio and Kubold, historical fencing is exposed to an even broader audience. Hope to work with you again!

Antoni Olbrychski at Bones motion capture studio
Antoni Olbrychski at Bones Studio
Author: Marta Frankel-Dominik
Let’s keep in touch. You can reach me out at: [email protected]