Record, monitor and analyse movements at the touch of a button, in extreme conditions, without any hardware nearby.
Motion-capture technology has become nigh indispensable in today’s video games, visual effects and film industries… and is also beginning to make big waves in extreme sport. But how can you get the most out of motion capture?
Choose your costumes, props and set with care.
For the first time, it’s now possible to record action-packed movements in virtually any circumstances; from vigorous sports, to video game stunts.
Xsens have introduced on-body recording pack sensors that can store motion data directly to on-body hardware, eliminating the need for computers, cameras and other heavy-duty equipment nearby. Take advantage of this. Select an appropriate location rather than turning to postproduction edits to fill in the gap.
Hein Beute, Director of Product Marketing at Xsens, explains: “For instance, you could capture a Motocross rider’s movement from the start of a race to the end; or if you’re performing ergonomics on a hands-on profession like lumberjacking, the subject can work deep in the woods without the need for a nearby power source. MVN Studios 4.4 makes mocap more accessible than ever.”
Don’t make editing harder for yourself.
Define a clear system for naming your motion capture assets, which will inevitably save time sifting through hours of recorded kinetic graphs. You want something that embeds key data: names should include an indication of the scene, character, action, and a take number.
Take extra time to keep data as clean as possible.
Whether working with an optical or magnetic system, interference is always possible and precautions should always be taken. For optical systems, this mean rigorous calibration of both the space and the actor. For magnetic systems, the freer the space of magnetic noise, the better the result.
While many steps of the process can be automated, checking for noise movements or swaps first hand will catch many glitches early in the pipeline. If a file is particularly noisy, filters can be added to improve the data, but these can dampen the movement if used too excessively. For this reason, it’s a good idea to pass the file onto someone else for a fresh look before exporting the file.
Playing back movement at a slower speed is also particularly useful in a quality check. Using recent technical advancements, production teams can even do this on set from their smartphones.
Reaching a photoreal future
By capturing the movements of a live subject, then applying these motions to a CGI character, you instantly eliminate many of the glitches found in traditional keyframing animation. Motion capture now powers numerous high-end, global productions such as Avatar, Final Fantasy XV and FIFA. Each production is notorious for its photoreal, dynamic action.
In fact, Xsens are currently providing mocap hardware for anticipated titles LawBreakers and Hellblade. With on-body recording now available, no doubt you will soon see even an greater range of cinematic athleticism. To keep up with the industry push for photorealistic human simulations, motion capture is more essential than ever before.