Research Nugget 6, Is it real? or is it fake?

Citation: Freedman, Y. (2012). Is It Real…or Is It Motion Capture? The Battle to Redefine Animation in the Age of Digital Performance. Velvet Light Trap: A Critical Journal Of Film & Television, (69), 38-49.


The claim is this; There is an increasing amount of motion capture being used in films; replacing more traditional forms of animation (computer generated or otherwise) and the author looks to see who deserves credit for the effectiveness as a medium.

” The definitions of both animation and live action, there-fore, hinge upon how we understand motion capture. The technology may have advanced to the point where raw motion-capture data can constitute a performance, but the images still require significant manipulation before they are considered viable for exhibitions”

“Bird was insistent that motion capture was only as good as the additional artistry layered on top of it. “if you don’t muck with mo-cap” he claimed, “you don’t get the nuance of real actors and you don’t get the selective caricatures of animation. The best mo-cap that I’ve seen has all been messed with by animation, in much the same way the best rotoscope done in Disney’s time was really mucked with”


Ok before delving into the nuggets that were torn asunder from Yacov Freedman’s text, let them be summarized in a most brief fashion.

The good scholar duth explore the depths of how motion capture is created, and implemented by its creators. Yacov continues by comparing it to its ancestor Rotoscoping (drawing a picture over a model) and how it was begot from that most exalted practice. finally it is spoken upon how even the greatest of mo-cap’s requires the hand of a skilled artist to guide it to greatness.

And that my friends leads into what Freedman says in those nuggets. Both of these nuggets deal with the limitation’s of motion capture technology and how it needs to be later enhanced by a visual artist for it to truly be realized in its full glory. I like this for two reasons, one it shows the limits of a form of CGI i had not really looked into before. Secondly Practicle effects are also only at there best when they are altered in post production. This creates a tentative link that both forms of visual effects are flawed and require extra work to be brought to their full potential.

Interestingly enough, this state of needing touch ups agree’s with some of what Barbara Roberston said in her article Dark and Light. In a lot of area’s the effect was created, such as the flying Bat mobile thing, and something needed to be taken out to make the shot believable. Such as the car that it was basically nailed to the top of, or the crane that was lifting it off the ground.

2 thoughts on “Research Nugget 6, Is it real? or is it fake?”

  1. Sorry about my lack of film knowledge — but what is motion capture? Is it a form of CGI? You say this article “shows the limits of a form of CGI i had not really looked into before.” How so? (This passage leads me to think that motion capture IS a form of CGI).
    Motion capture needs “another layer of artistry” — what does that mean? I’d like to hear more about this.
    I do think this article seems to give you some information I haven’t seen before in your earlier summaries. : )

  2. I myself don’t have a whole lot of background in film but i’ll take your word, and his for it! Having an expert’s opinion on motion capture is the way to go in order to make your argument better. In a day when computer animation and CGI are taking over practical effects, I think we need to try to keep focus on what makes what we see on screen the most authentic.

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