Motion Capture: Brief History And Interesting Facts


Film directors and camera operators receive more and more abilities nowadays. Earlier we dealt only with black and white films without sound, then with colored ones and finally with films which have great effects and sound. Feel free to do your class with our website have good results.

What about cartoons? Striking difference can be seen between old and new cartoons. That is because abilities nowadays are huge. Old cartoons were traced on paper while nowadays everything is easier. So let’s look step by step at technology that allowed to do things more beautiful.

1. What is motion capture at all?

Motion capture is a way of animation of different characters. In other words, this method allows some characters as mythical beasts or animals to talk and to behave, as director requires it. This method makes them more true to life. If you like different films or series feel free to look at our top of television series.

2. Where is this method used?

It is used in different computer games as well as in animated cartoons and films. One of the earliest examples is “King Kong” of 2005. The later examples are such films as “Harry Potter” (method was used for Lord Voldemort) or “Avatar”. There are many interesting films were this technology was used. Look at great movies to appreciate life and raise your mood and motivation.

3. How it works?

There are special costumes with sensors. Actor wears it and with the help of special equipment and cameras, movements of actor are copied and superimposed on definite model in 3D. For example, in “Avatar” there was an actor who played and then al his movies were superimposed on model of character with unusual color of skin. There are some places even in real life, where strange things can be found. Feel free to check some information about Chernobyl.

Now, when things are little clearer than they were, and something is known about this technology, let’s go back to the times when everything started.

4. How everything began?

1915 year

First date which is usually named is 1915 – year when rotoscope technique was discovered by Max Fleischer. This technique had some steps:

- At first common person acted in definite movie

- Then video was projected (on glass for example)

- Finally, painter made drawings of every frame changing something if it was needed

First movie was only about minute in length, however about a year was spent to create it. Time doesn’t stand on one place and everything is in development. It can be seen in every sphere of life. Even talking about unusual animals that nowadays became pets:

Gradually, Max Fleischer’s technology became more and more popular and such companies as Disney began to use it. Such cartoons as “Alice in the Wonderland” and “Cinderella” were made using this technology. Fleischer’s animated cartoons were extremely popular. All this finally lead to development and constant interest to first motion capture. If you are interested in history, feel free to get acquainted with brief history of blues.


Suddenly doctors began to use new invention: they stick some sensors to the bodies of patients in order to examine their condition. This method was later taken into film industry and cartoon industry. During many years, they were modified it and that was a long path.

1983 year

This year some first attempts to use motion capture in films were made and first trying to reflect person’s movements by electronic equipment and on screens. However, those attempts were not very successful and some years passed before finally motion capture was used in its full volume. Want to work in the full extent? Ask us for help with your test and receive more time for you job or things you appreciate.

Before we will come to modern epoch of this technology let’s digress.

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1990 year

It was decided that motional capture technology is ready for commercial world. It firstly appeared in film “Total Recall” with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the leading role. Effects were great for that time, however, motion capture technology didn’t show itself as something great. However, despite these problems and difficulties, it was developed and even famous actors began to pay attention to this technology. Want to know more about our service? Online class mentor provides students with high-level help. We can help you with any subject.

1990 – 1995

During this time, new and new modifications were made. In 1992, first real time motion capture technology was used. Then in 1994 new technology appeared which allowed capturing and then animating face of character better. The highest peak was in 1995 when first computer game that used motion capture was released. Since then this technology widely used in video games and of course it was changed a lot.

5. Modern age of motion capture

As it was mentioned some attempts to use technology were made earlier but movie “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” became first great example of technology in its modern shape. Later, in 2002, Gollum from “Lord of the Rings” saw the world and it was great example of character created by motion capture technology. His movements were realistic as well as voice. Read about other interesting inventions here:

Later animated cartoon “The Polar Express” was released. There main character was made with help of a real person and it was Tom Hanks. It was first movie where about 10 characters were depicted with usage of motion capture.

Next well-known example was “Avatar” (2007), where we can see absolutely realistic world as well as great actors’ work.

So we can see that nowadays motion capture become more and more popular and usable. Famous director, Steven Spielberg admitted than since 2007 this technology was used more and more often.

Motion capture has some advantages and disadvantages so why not to mention some of them? First advantage of this technology is that one actor can play many different characters. It can be combined with usual animation. However, some disadvantages should be mentioned too. The first and main one is price. This technology is very expensive. Comparing it with 3D animation we can say that latter one gives more possibilities, for example usage of motion capture doesn’t allow making unusual movements or fly in the air while with 3D animation it possible.

However, this technology is still in development so maybe it will be cheaper and more productive that it is now. We won’t argue about is it good or not, but we can say that such actors as Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie and others supported this technology and stared in some movies where this technology was applied to them. There exist even lists of best performances with usage of this technology.

Although there is an opinion that films, which are made with usage of motion capture, don’t receive Oscar as usual, there are some great examples which show another point of view. Of course, they are few but they exist and here can be named “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Lord of the Rings”.

To sum up it can be said that motion capture technology gives more possibilities for film industry and allows directors to make films more interesting. Of course there are some argues about this technology, however latest films as “Ted” or “The Avengers” show us that discover of this technology was absolutely right step as well as its constant developing. So, watch some movies with motion capture, try to imagine what did actors do and how it looked and enjoy.

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