Motion capture technology – The Core IAS

Motion capture technology

What is Motion capture technology?

Motion capture, or mo-cap, is the name for the technology that records the movement of people or objects. The data thus captured will be transferred to a computer programme and can in turn be translated to a CGI character. Mo-cap, in detail, tracks specific motions such as facial expressions and body movements, so that the features can be provided to the computer-generated 3D character on screen.

According to StudioBinder, the technology works with the help of components such as a mo-cap suit, a head-mounted camera and the software required to create the digital character. While the mo-cap suit captures the body movements of an actor, the head-mounted camera tracks their facial expressions, including the minute ones.

Once these two components capture all that’s necessary, the data is then transferred to computer software to create a fully realised digital character.

According to software giant Adobe, motion capture, as we know it today, was first used in the film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, in which Andy Serkis, as Gollum, wore a mo-cap suit on location, with special cameras recording his movements and facial expressions. But it was James Cameron’s Avatar that popularised the technology across the globe.

Characters such as Thanos (Josh Brolin) in the Avengers series, Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Caesar (Andy Serkis) in Rise of the Planet of the Apes were created using this cutting-edge technology.

Fantastic Four, Guardians of the Galaxy, A Quiet Place, The Lion King and Ghostbusters: Afterlife are some recent films that utilised this technology.

Soundarya Rajinikanth’s Kochadaiiyaan was India’s first photorealistic motion capture film.