Best way to do motion capture for cheap?

HeySiri
HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*
edited January 2019 in Practical Filmmaking

For a short film I'm making there's a large alien... imagine Thanos... my "Thanos" can either be filmed in post or live on set, I don't care, but how do I do good motion capture for cheap? I know Hitfilm can't do it, but I've heard Blender can. What's the best way to do this?

 

Note: cheap means just as cheap as possible with still being moderately good, preferably no more than like $200 but I can stretch that a tiny bit... not too much though...

Comments

  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,096 Moderator

    @HeySiri Indeed Blender can use motion capture data for sure.  This guy has some pretty good Blender tutorials and he is associated with CG Cookie as well.  This link is to one about using motion capture data available to apply to models made with Make Human.  It may help you out. 

    As far as capturing data that's a huuuge ball of wax and I think it needs special cameras and such, but I haven't reached the point where I have needed to try that yet myself.

  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

    Yeah, I've found tons of tutorials of how to do it once you've got the data in blender... just can't find the cameras that would be best for my project.

  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,096 Moderator

    @HeySiri Wouldn't you know, I logged into Youtube just now and I guess because I viewed that video I linked above it gave me this one that may be more what you are looking for:

    At least it starts out showing using something called Kinect (I think) to capture data.  I suppose it works a little like  a Wii controller bar that sits on top of the unit??

  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

    @tddavis I've heard of the Kinect. Thanks for the video I'll watch it!

  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

    So it seems no matter almost whatever software I get... I'll need to get a Kinect camera (since it works with almost everything.) Anyone have one and say it's a good purchase?

  • zobo1942
    zobo1942 Posts: 46 Just Starting Out*

    A Kinect is the device which is an accessory for an xbox360 or xbox One. You can probably pick one up cheaply at a second hand store or pawn shop.

  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

    So let's say I'm in a warehouse, and I'm doing motion capture for a Thanos-like creature——I have my Kinect setup somewhere off camera, recording. I have my person walk through the actions. But, when I overlay the model, I can see the person still because he's small compared to the model. How do I fix this? I could film each scene twice and keep the camera still, but I'd rather be able to move the camera around. What can I do about this?

  • Palacono
    Palacono Posts: 3,423 Enthusiast

    Why would you overlay the model on the original motion capture clip? Motion Capture is just to get the data and you discard everything else.

  • CleverTagline
    CleverTagline Posts: 3,316 Ambassador

    @Palacono My guess is that the Thanos-like critter will be interacting with other actors in the scene.

    @HeySiri My only thought on how to pull this off would require Mocha Pro. You could use its Remove module to take out the performer representing the creature, while still keeping everyone else. (Disclaimer: I don't own Mocha Pro, so I can't give you more details on the exact steps to make this happen, but I've seen tutorials online about the process.)

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,078 Ambassador

    @HeySiri as a general note you're planning a very complex shoot. Just a reminder that as we work through your questions you should start test shots to get your workflow down before you commit to the main shoot. There's a possibility you're biting off more than you can chew here and you'll want to determine where you need to scale back a bit before you commit. 

    I'm gonna make some tea and look at other threads, then I'll come back here. 

  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

    @Palacono the reason to overlay the model is so that the acting between mocap alien and the actors is realistic and real-time.

    @Triem23 I fully intend to do test footage before filming any VFX scenes, to make sure it'll work.

  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

    I still can't find a mocap software for Mac. At all. At best, some for nearly $100 but money is a problem for the time being I'm looking for a cheap or free software for Mac. Does anyone have any ideas? Preferably something that works with Kinect.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,078 Ambassador
    edited March 2019

    What you're asking for basically doesn't exist. At "under $100" it really doesn't exist. 

    In the mocap world  anything under about $10k is considered cheap. 

    This is probably your closest bet http://ipisoft.com/?gclid=CjwKCAiA2fjjBRAjEiwAuewS_VsUgJ9gbXrnLzZUFhUQvTJAYn_u9pUWLt3_nxKaQlKuX6Xoqpo2PhoC108QAvD_BwE

    Or this. 

    https://www.reallusion.com/iclone/mocap/

  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

    I found free softwares that work for Windows. They exist. I just can’t fijd any for Mac.

  • triforcefx
    triforcefx United StatesPosts: 1,302 Moderator

    Then perhaps your best bet is to use Windows? If you don't know anyone that's willing to let you use their computer, then you may have to dual boot your system or use a Virtual Machine (though virtual machines don't always work with GPU intensive software). 

  • GrayMotion
    GrayMotion Posts: 1,599 Enthusiast

    Plenty of Mocap software for Mac...but nothing free.

    https://www.fastmocap.com/

    Sorry HeySiri...but like I told my son and now one of my Grandsons.....if money is an issue...get a JOB. Makes life much easier.

  • If you found PC software in your budget maybe you can find someone who will loan you a PC to do your project.

  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

    @triforcefx and @BrianScanlon I might have access to a PC. I could record with a PC then do all the Blender work and everything else on my Mac Mini at home.

    @GrayMotion I plan to get a job in the next few weeks. Just having trouble finding a place.

  • SXethely
    SXethely Posts: 7

    I coundn't find any free software for Mac myself, had to use Win.

  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

    @SXethely which Windows program did you end up using?

  • SXethely
    SXethely Posts: 7

    MoCap all the way

  • FlyingBanana78
    FlyingBanana78 Posts: 477 Enthusiast

    The kinect does an ok job with the ipi software, however that said you will probably require more than one kinect to be able to get and actor rotation cause just one does not work other than straight on movement. Also it is limited as to the distance it can accurately capture without losing track. Look at some behind the scene footage of films such as Planet Of The Apes and Avengers and look at the setups they have on their actors.

    It is possible to do this without actual mocap software in blender but requires you to object track and can be quite tedious but can produce nice results. Think of roto work, that is similar to what you would run into with doing it strictly in blender with say tennis balls fixed to the actor or the rig setup on the actor to simulate the locations of the CGI character that would be mocapped. Also doing it manually would require someone to be able to create an armature rig to be able to apply to the CGI character. So depending on the time frame vs budget it may be more effective to farm this type of shot out and look at what it may cost and weigh the pros and cons/budget/timeframe. 

    I can't find my clip of the blender result I got to show as an example but this one is similar. And as I mentioned it is a lot longer process than using a mocap as the mocap brings a skeletal rig in with it. 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHxKQBADLZQ

  • mmocap
    mmocap Posts: 1

    Hey everyone! 

    I'm selling a mocap system (World Viz). Please let me know if interested. 

  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*
    edited June 2019

    Continuing my adventure in my many attempts to find a mocap program, I've come across the free iPi Recorder, which is able to record the data from Kinect cameras/sensors, but it says it needs iPi Mocap in order to do motion capture. Does anyone know if iPi Recorder is able to export data to another program to do mocap?

    Thanks.

    EDIT: So, I found a free mocap way thanks to Remmington Graphics. Just need to get my Kinect V2 and a PC...

  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

    So I decided to take a chance and I got a Kinect V2—and I got it to work on my mac! No Windows software needed. I used Ni-Mate (the mac version) and their Blender plugin and it all works perfectly. Software completely free and work on mac!

  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,096 Moderator

    @HeySiri Good to know.  I'd only ever heard of it before when o brought it up long ago, but had no clue how it worked.

  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

    @tddavis it was as simple as opening up NI mate and plugging the Kinect in. 

  • pinthenet
    pinthenet Posts: 150 Just Starting Out*
    edited July 2019

    @HeySiri : looking at the Ni-Mate page the free version doesn't allow you to save?

    Should have checked before asking - you used the Blender plugin

  • HeySiri
    HeySiri Posts: 382 Just Starting Out*

    @pinthenet if you use the blender plug-in it exports completely free