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Here is Everything About Motion Capture Filmmaking Technique

Motion Capture Filmmaking Technique

Film Production

Here is Everything About Motion Capture Filmmaking Technique

 ‘Motion Capture’ is a particular Animation filmmaking technique that is used for captures the realistic movements Humans, animals and inanimate objects and convert it as a 3D animated data.  Mainly, this technique is used in Video Game Development, Filmmaking and Tutorial Videos. Sometimes, the term ‘Motion Capture’ is also known as ‘Match Moving.’


This Technique was initially introduced by Walt Disney productions in their film ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ (1937).  But, this film was not being exactly produced by ‘Motion Picture Capture Technology,’ that was produced by using a technology called ‘Rotoscoping’. 

Rotoscoping is basically the process of turning a live action into an animated feel. Here, the Animators trace-over the video footage, frame to frame, to make the real video into an Animated Film. The main disadvantage of Rotoscoping is it needs a lot of time; also in this process, there are chances to occur diverse of Human errors.

‘Motion Capture’ is quite distinct from ‘Rotoscoping,’ here the character movement is measured and captured by CG (Computer Graphics). This technique was attained popularity after the character creation of Davy Jones from the movie ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.James Cameron’s historical movie “Avatar” (2009), Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey(2012) and Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin (2011), were created using Motion capture Technology.

Types Of Motion Capture

Principally, there are four main Types of Motion Capturing

  1. Optical-Passive Motion Capture
  2. Optical-Active. Motion Capture
  3. Video/Markerless Motion Capture

Among the three, the optical passive is the most common method that has been widely using in the Industry for a long time.

How Does The Motion Capturing Technique Really Work?

 Before start discussing about the Motion Capture Technique, you must be familiar with some ‘Terms’ that we are using in this section.


Markers (Retrospective Markers) are small sensors that are placed in the appropriate parts of the performer’s body (especially In Joints), for capturing the motions and expressions of the performers. Markers are available in varying ranges such as Single Marker, Hand Finger marker, Facial Markers etc.

Markers motion capture technology

Markers: Motion capture Technology

Motion Capture Camera:

This camera is used only to capture Motion and shape of performers. It identifies the shape of the performer from the Marker’s sensor system. For an instance, if you put few ‘markers’ on the performers face, then the motion capture camera will identify only the face of the performer, not the rest of the body.

The minimum FPS (Frames Per Second) of motion capture camera is 100. Motion Capture Camera works same as like a Digital camera, it is connected to a digital screen where a filmmaker can preview the performer’s movement. Usually the number of motion picture cameras using in a film set were ranging from 6-300. Motion capture Camera is sometimes also referred in the name ‘Virtual Camera’

Motion Capture Camera

Motion Capture Camera

Filming Technique

Optical-Passive /(Passive Markers)

These markers that are placed on the actor’s body (particularly In Joints) have integrated sensors, which having the capability of sensing the performers movement and expressions.

Now the Infra light that emits from the motion capture cameras hit on the Markers that placed in the performer’s body and the rays again reflect back to the source, i.e. Camera.

The Software that is placed in the Cameras recognizes and records the performer’s motion and expression in according to the marker’s position.

Latter, that recorded animated-Skelton characters footages were developed as real time-characters through a motion capturing software.

Optical-Active/(Active Markers)

Instead of Infra light, here in this process, LED sensor markers that are connected by wires to the motion capture suit. This LED sensor will capture the motions. In this method a charger pack is also being worn by the performer for lightening the LED. Active markers are found as disgusting for the majority of performers, why because the suit that they wore is too heavy and it causes the inflexible in movement.


As the name implies, there is no marker used in this technique, instead it tracks the motion of the subject through particular software. Though this method is easy too, lots of real-time errors had been noticed in this technique.


High Resolution and faster-shutter speed cameras are needed for the task.  The Megapixel Of the camera is ranging from 4 to 16. Minimum Price Range for a set of motion capture camera is $600USD


Some leading motion capturing software are  AutoDesk Motion BuilderOptitrackIPSOFT and Vicon

How Much Does It Cost?

It is all based On Your Requirement, if you are looking for a big set up, then it will cost millions, but for a small setup (Four cameras +1 Software) it will only cost around $8,886. 


Thanks For Reading, We would Like to Hear the opinion Of Our Readers, please mark your option on the comment section below


What is called Virtual Camera?

Motion Capture Technology : Video Tutorial From Full Sail University 

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