Since the beginning of lockdown I’ve been worried about motion capture of my performance. With no facilities open and people not willing to travel it’s been hard to figure out an alternative that I could use.
First I started from testing home made solutions using Kinect. It’s not very hard to set up and is quite cheap technology. Second hand Kinect together with the appropriate cable comes to about £50. To make Kinect work with computers there is also software that has to be downloaded: Kinect SDK. When Kinect is connected to the computer in order to activate it SDK Kinect Configuration has to be run. Once the Kinect is recognised by computer the red light on it will light up. Now as Kinect is connected we need to set up other software that would actually recognise that we are capturing motion. Kinect is equipped with a true depth camera which means that it captures a surface of everything that is in front of it. Meaning it will capture the entire room, so it will need to be directed to what it is supposed to be capturing.To do that I used Brekel’s software:
In order for Kinect to work well, the performer has to keep a certain distance from Kinect and also cannot come out of the scope of the camera. Also more complicated movements won’t be captured. Actions should be simple and defined. Despite that I’ve kept motion to minimum I found that the animation captured was a bit messy. One of the legs moved in a completely different way than intended. I’ve made quite a few tests and came to the conclusion that when using Kinect there have to be post processing applied in order to fix the animation. However, the amount of post processing can be so extensive that it is better to capture the motion with other solution. Especially as post processing is done with using Maya or Motion Builder which are quite costly.
I’ve decided to go back to my initial test I did with geospatial suits: Neuron and Rokoko. With lockdown easing I started to think how I can get my hand on any of them. Luckily some time ago I met Ryan Garry from Unlimited Motion. He owns a Rokoko suit and also a Leap motion tracker for capturing hands. He also has experience with face motion capture which I’ll mention in a separate entry. I managed to book sometime with Ryan and decided that we will capture the performance at my home. That’s the beauty of geospatial mocap solutions; they can be used anywhere, as long as there is not much disturbance which comes from metal. We’ve spent a few hours capturing the performance and discussing post processing and how hands,body and face will be put together. Also there has been a bit of a learning curve for me in terms of performance with mocap suit and camera but that's the essay on it’s own. Now as the performance is captured different animations have to be put together: body, face and hands. This will take some time but I’m looking forward to seeing the first draft ;)