We’ve published a number of article on dealing with human mocap, but what are the tricks when it comes to animals?
Here is a little piece to get you interested:
First and foremost, any large animal needs a correspondingly large amount of space to move around in – and even the most well-trained horse can be unpredictable. Animatrik, therefore, sourced suitable riding stables in which to stage the action. “A studio just isn’t set up to have horses galloping through it,” commented Cameron.
Before the shoot, Animatrik undertook tests at an indoor riding arena specifically chosen for its low light levels – beneficial for a motion capture system that uses infrared light. The next step involved renting a life-size plastic horse. The team covered its body with retro-reflective markers to ensure the data would accurately reflect bone length, joint change and other specific elements of motion. Since the markers would need to stay in place at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, the team also tracked down a sweat-resistant adhesive made specifically for horses.
“I tested the markers on my Rottweiler and got her to run around the studio,” recalled Cameron. “The tape didn’t bother her, which is important – the animal’s safety and comfort is our first concern. But, as we discovered through shooting, dogs don’t sweat through their skin the way horses do. On the first day, the horses were dripping with sweat and markers kept falling off!”
The solution was to tape up four horses at once. If the markers fell off one horse during a gallop, the others could continue while that animal went back to a motion capture specialist to be recalibrated. As each horse dropped out, another was always available to take its place.