February 26, 2018

The Future for Motion Capture

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24.02.2018, by Johanna Klemm


So Film is Using it – Why Shouldn’t We?

Motion Capture. Rings a bell, doesn’t it? Wait a second, did The Creative Lab not just cover that topic back in 2017? We sure did! But I would argue it is no brainer to any of us that any innovation comes with an ongoing process. Much can happen in a short amount of time and indeed – it has! Remember Smaug, the dragon, anybody? Yeah, The Hobbit, Benedict Cumberbatch. Do we need to say more? Cumerbatch’s outstanding performance aside – it is perfectly understandable that for many of us it is an intriguing idea to try out motion capture ourselves. And this is a train that the market has started to hop onto. What’s in it for us? Much more than just a great amount of fun, but social connection and the reach-out to those who might in fact feel safer to handle communication via motion capture and its characters created.

Exploring the World of Motion Capture

The Creative Lab has of course not been able to resist the challenge either to begin the production of the first ever holographic-animation-short-film for the Hololens (by Microsoft), The Dancer Awakens, as showcased at the Go Short Film Festival in Nijmegen last spring. Looking back at the dancing performance of Regina de Jong, bopping around came with an incredible amount of care for her. Falling off stage might easily result in a financial disaster regarding the price of the Xsense motion capture suit the team had been using and the sensitivity of the sensors the dancer had to perform in. Another guy, who definitely took the fun onto an entirely new level – and yes, that’s been years ago – is Andy Serkis. Yes, Smeagol, that one. With his very own Imaginarium studio, the actor and producer has opened a space for motion capture to literally run wild and explode into ideas and creations any of us could possibly dream of.

Rokoko Opening New Doors

So what’s changing for the curious consumer who is waiting for a try-out? The good news is, products such as the Rokoko smartsuit pro are happening right under our noses and, by all means, on a rather affordable level, as compared to what had been on the current market of motion capture technology. Of course, Rokoko’s suit still comes at a price of some hefty 2029 Euro. But let’s face it, we are living in the age of expensive iPhones and other tech. Peanuts for such promising technology to get involved with, guys! On top of this, the idea behind using motion capture is no longer based on simply creating characters on screen for an audience to watch a specific type of movie. In May of 2017, co founder and CEO of Rokoko, Jakob Balslev, explained in an exceedingly eye-opening Forbes video that the display of the characters might in fact function as a doorway to, for example, children with autism, making them feel at comfort when entering the world created via motion capture.

Motion Capture for all

Balslev certainly has a vision for the future of motion capture and how improved accessibility can make quite the difference to our lives: “the dream is, that an animator sitting right at his desk, with this on, just saying ‘ok, I have a crazy idea, let me test it’. And then he stands up, does a recording, sits down again and uses that straight into his film or game, or what he is making. It should be that easy!”. 

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