in Research

Motion Capture Workshop

When Kristy told us that we would be attending the workshop with Prof Biju, I was pleasantly surprised. Motion capture was something that I had never thought of trying out before, and I was curious to know how it could be incorporated into projection mapping because I always assumed it was strictly used for films and animation.

To help us understand the mechanics behind motion capture projection mapping, Prof Biju gave us some knowledge on how cameras work. While I was confused at first as to why we were talking about cameras, it was in fact vital to think about how they work in relation to projectors because the 2 are actually more similar than we thought (the projector is putting out an image while a camera receives one).

Prof Biju and Naga had set up a projector and some markers, and using these they managed to show us a very simple example of mocap mapping using 3D software. This was pretty mindblowing, I had always thought of projection mapping as something which is static and that the content which is projected on the surface relies solely on the video which the creator has input into the projector. With mocap mapping, it adds another layer of interactivity as the viewer/performer is now able to have some level of agency in deciding what is going to happen in the projection. It’s something that I feel is really worth pursuing as an interactive media artist because it’s a great way to incorporate performance art elements or audience interaction in a way that is technologically current and exciting!

One example of combining motion capture and projection mapping in a public setting is the video above, by NuFormer who does a 3D projection mapping with a character who is animated through live motion capture in order to create a narrative video. I was surprised to find out that this project was done 7 years ago, meaning that this technology is not new so I’m surprised it’s not been more widely done yet! As they have stated in the video, “Each Mocap Mapping is tailor-made and always a unique experience” and I agree with this sentiment. Whether it is for a performance art, audience interaction or for creating a narrative video, the live nature of motion capture means that the video will not be the same at any 2 points in time as it is dependent on the human input of the performers or audiences.

I really enjoyed the workshop and I would definitely research deeper into mocap mapping and try to incorporate it into my future works! Thanks to Kristy for organising and Prof Biju and Naga for conducting this eye-opening workshop!