12 Oct 2022
It has been a wonderful 40 years for Motion Analysis – how time has flown!
To celebrate our milestone birthday, we’re sharing some of our favorite motion capture projects and customer stories from the past four decades – from film and animation to industrial applications, biomechanics, broadcasting and more – while we look forward to what lies next for mocap.
We loved Andy Serkis’ portrayal of Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Did you know that his final Mount Doom scene was brought to life using the Eagle Digital System – the award-winning motion capture process developed by four of our engineers, including Ned Phipps.
Ned has pioneered mocap technology in film and animation for more than two decades. He and the Motion Analysis’ engineering team proudly won an Academy Award for their esteemed mocap work on Peter Jackson’s films.
We have been working with Centroid Motion Capture since 1996, on high-profile projects like Assassin’s Creed, Dr Strange, and seasons 6 and 7 of Game of Thrones.
Using the Raptor camera system, Centroid captures high volumes of performance data in all sorts of locations. They also use it to track animal movements. Centroid uses Cortex, our motion capture and editing software, for everything from previsualization to skeleton solving to retargeting.
Our software is also instrumental to boost mocap for industrial applications. PhD student, Chiara Ercolani at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland used our drone capabilities for 3D motion tracking in a wind tunnel facility.
Drones and active marker tracking can be used for 3D gas source localization, which ultimately detects gas leaks without putting human lives at risk, in a number of challenging environmental conditions.
A luge coach at Canadian Sport Institute Calgary, Pro Stergiou of Sport Product Testing and University of Calgary graduate, Luciano Tomaghelli utilized our technology as a “gold standard” for mocap for biomechanics; collecting large volumes of data to research the effect of starting technique on luge performance.
Comparing accelerometer data to that captured by our cameras and markers, and collecting kinematic data to assess a luge athlete’s pull and paddle technique, these pioneers in this field helped validate how starting technique and analysis could help improve a luge athlete’s training and performance.
Biomechanics was also at the heart of our research work alongside Dr Franky Mulloy at the University of Lincoln’s MoCap Hub, working on trampoline development and load carriage systems for the police and the military. Designed for any business to quantify movement, here Dr Molloy used our software to track kinematics and integrate with multiple third-party tools.
Our Cortex software assisted in gaining precise kinematic movement data to help identify issues leading to injury, as well as offering solutions to redesign ergonomic products for highly dynamic activities.
To craft vivid imaginary worlds, video game production relies on mocap for animation to track bodily and facial movements of actors (in ‘bodysuits’) and enhance them with CGI imagery. In this demonstration, you can see how Respawn Entertainment used MAC cameras and tracking sensors on the actors’ suits to animate alien machinery for their game, Titanfall.
Ice hockey equipment brand CCM Hockey uses MAC’s Cortex software for its own biomechanics performance lab. As you can see in this video, their system can be set up on the ice to test equipment, and analyze player performance in slow motion using markers on their hockey sticks.
While Ford is a forerunner in industrial history, we have helped the brand continually innovate. Using mocap for biomechanics, manufacturing plants can be designed – this video details how our mocap bodysuit helps make risk assessment decisions according to movements used in assembly lines, and subsequent virtual reality headsets train factory workers to handle heavy machinery safely.
Steph Curry is one of the most jaw-dropping basketball players in the world. The capabilities of his endorsed Under Armour shoe were tried, tested, and improved using mocap for biomechanics, which you can see in this video: Steph gets fitted with mocap markers and analyzed on an interface via Cortex software.
We love to see our technology used for broadcast purposes too. During the UK’s general election in 2019, the shots of Jeremy Vine in front of Downing Street were achieved through greenscreen and our system tracking the in-studio cameras.
Here’s a behind the scenes virtual reality tour from Vine himself!
We can’t wait to see what the future holds in this industry! Already, we’re working hard to develop lighter, more accessible systems that we hope will add a new level of application to this list of amazing motion capture projects.