The History of Motion Capture In Three Minutes (Plus Some Announcements)

At the 2017 The Life The Universe and Everything writing conference in Provo, UT on February 16th to 18th, I will be presenting on Motion Capture Technology. I’m very excited for this presentation and thought it would be fun to present this preview:

One of my favorite quotes from my film classes in college is that everything we can do now in film, filmmakers figured out a way to do in the silent era. The technology has changed and our ability to push the boundaries of how real something looks has grown exponentially. However, the concepts and the art of visual storytelling has the same core.

When I was putting together the video from clips across the internet, I broke motion capture into the following stages:

  • 1915-1970’s – Max Fleischer’s Rotoscope used for many animated films to hand-paint movement using live film as a guide.
  • 1970’s-1980’s – Digital motion capture developed for biomedical research. Similar technology was developed for digital puppetry
  • 1990’s-2000’s – Motion capture really grows in the film industry, leading to live action characters (Jar Jar Binks and fully motion capture animated films (Final Fantasy: The Spirit WIthin)
  • Mid-2000’s-Today – Motion capture becomes a hybrid between live action and ultra-realism. What was once impossible becomes live on screen, and the actor’s performance is blended into a digital character.

The presentation is covering a lot more territory and (ideally) will be filmed at the conference. I’ll be posting the PowerPoint once I’m done with the conference. There’s a lot of great material in there about modern technology used for motion capture, issues motion capture actors face, and resources for developing your own motion capture reel.

LTUE Schedule

Pulp Fiction Power (Thursday, February 16, 8-9 PM)

A panel on Pulp fiction writing and it’s powerful impact on current trends in books and movies with fellow authors David Boop, James Minz, Alexander Sousa, and Johnny Worthen

A Review of Motion Capture Technology (Saturday, February 18 10-11 AM)

Presentation on motion capture technology, including the history, how it’s done on set, and how it’s transformed into the films we love.

And Some Other Exciting Announcements

  1. We now know the name of Star Wars: Episode VIII

  1. After a lot of hard work and the help of some great editors, The Lady and the Frog (The Pippington Tales Book 2) is now nearly complete. I’ll be setting a firm release date soon. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this:
And so the formatting begins...

And so the formatting begins…


  • What’s your favorite motion capture performance?
  • What do you want to know about pulp fiction?
  • What do you think of the Star Wars Episode VIII title?
  • What do you expect next in the streets of Pippington?

3 thoughts on “The History of Motion Capture In Three Minutes (Plus Some Announcements)

  1. Pingback: CHUD good | Geek Show Podcast

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