The wonderful thing about this job is that occasionally you get to do something brand new and which calls for learning new skills very quickly.
Once upon a time we were putting together some tutorial videos for a client who were about to roll out a new web service to their clients. The teaser video had been done, the scripts written and the voiceover recorded. All we needed now were the visuals.
We just needed to show someone using the new website by recording their mouse movements on screen. Simple right? I mean it's not like we were making Avatar 2.
In fact it is really easy. Unless you're the one who has to move the mouse with the recorder rolling. Now I'm no stranger to the art of the digital rodent. I was there when they starting infesting our desktops. I'm older than they are. I remember when mice still had some balls.
So why when all I had to do was roll a cursor across the screen in one smooth motion and click on a massive green rectangle, did this hitherto tame dormouse of a device suddenly turn into a crazy, erratic, click-monster gerbil? Even real mice can be trained to move from one point to another and press a giant green button for goodness sake. What was wrong with me?
The issue of course is stage fright. Try it for yourself. I want you to move your mouse from one corner of the screen to the other in a smooth, straight line without pause or stutter, oh and if you could just slow down gradually and come to a stop that would be marvellous. Could you do that for me? Too easy? Ok, well ask someone to watch you do it and critique your performance.
It's an odd thing watching back what you've done knowing that thousands of people will see your talents turned into pixels and none of them will ever see your face or hear your voice. This must be what it's like to be Andy Serkis when he straps on that motion capture suit. I wonder if he's looking for mouse handlers?
I do my own stunt work.
Martin Walton is available for feature length tutorials, web-based commercials and online Bar Mitzvahs.
Due to the volume of requests we are afraid Mr Walton cannot do personal appearances.