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Motion Capture - The New Face In Film

The Rise and Dawn of Motion Capture

Motion capture, also known as “mo-cap,” has been around for the past few decades. The #technology came into light in 2002, when the second “Lord of the Rings” film debuted. The character of “Gollum” portrayed by Andy Serkis was the first mo-cap character to truly come alive on screen.

On the set of Lord of the Rings, Andy Serkis portraying the character “Gollum”









In order to get “Gollum” to physically react similar to Andy Serkis on screen, Andy must wear Lycra bodysuits and face-mounted cameras to capture the emotions and body language for “Gollum”.

In order to bring “Gollum” to life, Andy had portray dramatically by his facial characteristics to his actions on set. Andy’s face was studied for two and a half years, and the animators had created a whole range of “Gollum’s” expression as templates for Andy to use. Below is a link to how Andy’s physical movements on set creates Gollum’s movements on the computer.

The recent #movie, #DawnOfThePlanetOfTheApes also used #MotionCapture using the same technology, which also stars actor #AndySerkis.

Behind the scenes of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes



Actor Andy Serkis on the set of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes












Matching the actor’s and the character’s facial expressions















Once the facial expressions and action shots are complete, it is time to make the magic happen using #ComputerVisualization.

The process of computer visualization










From the physical actors, to the many different stages of computer generation, the end result of the characters in the movie is strikingly realistic.

Here is a link to how the new #DawnOfThePlanetOfTheApes movie is made, and how motion capture is used in the making of the movie:

Lord of the Rings and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes aren’t the only two movies that used motion capture, there are many other movies that used “mo-cap” technology. Remember the film “Avatar” by James Cameron? The movie blew audiences away with its motion capture technology and it created a whole different spectrum of advanced technology in the film industry that we didn’t know existed.

Behind the scenes of “Avatar” using motion capture.




Motion capture “Avatar”

















Not every motion capture character is beloved by everybody, for example, Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars was definitely not loved. Here is a link to Jar Jar Binks worst moments:


Overall, the film experience has changed so much, and it will keep changing for the better. What we see on screen is what we experience; whether it may be through emotions, visuals, inspiration, relation to characters, and so forth. I personally have a feeling that the experience is getting more and more realistic, like living in a whole different world for two hours.

Television and movies are known to be an escape from reality, we all enjoy the action and the drama which is known to be highly unrealistic, but astonishing to see on screen. Especially when it comes to characters that are so detailed and relatable through their actions and expressions which we couldn’t even imagine a century ago, and that my friends, is the power of motion capture.

If you want to know more about the history of “mo-cap,” you can check out the article “A Brief History of Motion-Capture, from Gollum to Caesar” written by Oliver Lyttelton.

Not every motion capture character is beloved by everybody, for example, Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars was definitely not loved. Here is a link to the characters funny moments


Fun Fact: Motion capture isn’t just used for films, it is also used for many different purposes, such as; the military, entertainment, sports, medical applications, validation for computer vision, and robotics. You can check out more information on Wikipedia about the different uses of motion capture.

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