How to Make A Motion Capture Movie For Cheap!


I'm sure you've heard about Avatar, the technical marvel that reinvented the digital wheel and recently took the movie world by storm. It's a motion capture movie. Last year, some animator friends and I made a motion capture movie called Be Amazing for Mental Floss -- and while we were operating on a much, much, MUCH (much, much ... ) simpler level, the basic principal of capturing points of motion in space with infrared cameras and using that information to create animated characters was at heart the same technology employed in Avatar.

Our lead actor/motion capture performer, Chris Emerson, just edited together a neat behind the scenes video of the day we spent doing motion capture side by side with the finished product, and I thought I'd share it here. Oh, and for those of you who are interested in making a film like this yourselves for cheap, here's how to do it:

1) Find two super talented animators who just got out of film school and took a class on motion capture animation taught by the guy who more or less pioneered it, Robert Zemeckis.

2) Do the motion capture at USC film school, the only school in the world to have their own motion capture room (or at least this was true a year or so ago), and hope you don't get caught.

3) Spend a year animating. And voila! Internet gold.

Here's the behind-the-scenes (thanks again, Chris!):

And for those of you who haven't already seen it, here's the finished product in its entirety.