Motion Capture Systems -
How to Choose
There are several important factors to consider when choosing a motion capture system. These factors can be summarized as budget and your requirements.
Meta Motion offers a wide range of motion capture systems from many different manufacturers which utilize many different technologies such as: active optical, inertial, bend sensors, electro-mechanical, video-based and more.
We have full body systems starting at about $1200 (US) for markerless motion capture software that works with webcams to $6000 for passive optical, to $8000 for electromechanical, to less than $60,000 for active-optical to about $72,000 for inertial to $100,000 for inertial and sonar hybrid systems and up to $100,000 for multi-actor active-optical systems.
We have motion capture gloves starting at about $645 apiece to about $2000 a pair for five sensor data gloves or active-optical capture gloves (requires active-optical system) to about 14,000 a pair for wireless 14-sensor wireless data gloves with MotionBuilder driver up to $30,000 to $40,000 for 18 or 22 sensor Cybergloves.
We also have facial motion capture software that works with video cameras for $895 (marker-based) to about $1500 for markerless facial motion capture with phoneme recognition. Our face trackers range in price from $8000 to $13,000 for a turnkey system to $20,000 and up (custom developed).
We are glad to pass along educational pricing for many of our products for schools, and staff, and students as made available by or manufacturers.
Meta-motion carries best of breed solutions from many manufacturers. Our experience helps you get the best solution for your budget and needs and redo a pretty good job of explaining the advantages and disadvantages of different products for your application.
To do our best job for you we have to know what sort of budget you're working with. Our approach to sales involves helping fit our available offerings to the budget you are working with while helping you fulfill your requirements as well as possible. Though we avoid discounting (which requires extra work while hurting our bottom line) you can count on us to do our best to save you money by recommending all the options available in your price range (as well as their pros and cons), even if some of our recommendations fall way below your budget. That's how we like to be treated we assume that's true for you too.
Requirements / Usage
Ease-of-use / Training time
Unlike a lot of systems out there the majority of systems that we offer will get you up and running pretty quickly with minimal or no training. One of our clients received three hours of training on a Friday and ended up doing a week of on-site captures by himself the next starting the following Monday.
The majority of our clients self-train though we're here to support them by phone e-mail or Skype at every step of the way.
Simultaneous number of performers
We offer a lot of different solutions to capture of multiple performers simultaneously. In the case of the different suits we sell such as the IGS-190 or gypsy seven more suits equals more performers. In the case of the PhaseSpace system we can accommodate 3 simultaneous performers with a 16 camera system. Additional cameras and suits in a largecan capture even more simultaneous performances with minimal marker swapping, even when the performers grapple or hug.
Amount of cleanup that is acceptable
There are some cases where you can further reduce cleanup time by adding additional cameras to the system. In the case of the IGS-190 system addition of sonar tracking accurately positions performers in 3-D space and dramatically reduces footstep cleanup.
Type of cleanup desired
In the case of our on the body systems, such as the IGS-190, or Gypsy 7 cleanup involves adjusting the actors root node position in 3-D space and some footstep cleanup. In the case of our PhaseSpace systems occlusion cleanup can be done with MotionBuilder or the excellent PhaseSpace Recap program (included with system purchase) further reducing the amount of cleanup time required (which is already about one third as much as other optical systems).
At meta-motion we have a lot of experience designing customized solutions for various workflows such as getting data into poser or Second Life or Maya or Max. As you are considering choice of systems will be glad to help you better understand the sort of workflow afforded by the systems you are considering.
Some of our offerings can easily be expanded at a later time allowing you to stay within your budget now while increasing their capabilities in the future.
For the most part all of our systems can be used for educational purposes as is though there may be some considerations in terms of providing additional access for numerous students.
Nature of Capture
What are you capturing:
Full body, face, hands, animals, science, industry
How will the animation be used:
Film games (cut scenes or real time), Pre-viz, performance, research, industry? Instruction?
Types of moves
What type of motions do need? Fast or slow? Simple or intricate? Number of simultaneous performers? How close do simultaneous performers need to get to each other? How are the performers interacting?
Desired Coverage Area
Coverage area is a very different consideration for her optical systems compared to on the body systems. We will be glad to help direct you regarding which systems will suit your budget and needs depending upon the area that you need to cover.
How do you like to work? Let us explain the various options available to or help you craft solutions towards your own unique needs.
Where do you need to capture Indoors, outdoors, permanent Space, temporary Space?
Do You Need or Want Real-Time Capabilities (for Rapid Feedback or Performance)?
Do You Need Real-Time input into your own software?
Do you need to synchronize to other sources such as audio or video?
Which software do you need to integrate with?
Do you need an API or SDK to write your own driver?
It helps us to know if you have a particular deadline to have a system in place. We can often pull strings to better accommodate your requirements. Sometimes the solution that you're looking for will be better suited by a upcoming product release. Knowing when you need to have a solution in place helps us accommodate you with a wider range of possible solutions.
Long story short: please let us know how we can help.