Key Release: OptiTrack motion capture cameras

Key Release: OptiTrack motion capture cameras
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

October 30th 2012 at 2:30PM

Develop takes a look at a new range of high-end motion capture cameras

Amoung the motion-capture hardware providers, OptiTrack is memorable for its drive to democratise motion capture.

Having previously released cameras and supporting tech as suitable for an indie or prototyping studio as for an industry giant, now OptiTrack is taking its technological equality in the other direction.

Democracy, after all, is about involving everybody, and that means developers requiring top-of-the-range equipment for high volume capture spaces need some attention too.

PRIMED TO DELIVER

Which is why OptiTrack is now launching the Prime Series of cameras, each designed to meet the requirements of mo-cap’s most demanding practitioners, apparently at a fraction of the cost of parallel solutions.
“Our unofficial motto is that mo-cap never should have been so expensive in the first place,” reveals OptiTrack CEO Jim Richardson.

“We are determined to completely turn this market on its head – the Prime Series is just the next step in the democratisation process. Entry-level systems were our bread and butter for years, and that’s a market that we’ll continue to serve as we move forward. But we’ve had our sights on the high-end for a while now.

“We firmly believe that triple-A developers deserve access to reasonable pricing just as much as our smallest indie client.”

In fact, says Richardson, before the Prime Series’ creation, high-end mo-cap customers were bound to the same inflated pricing that kept smaller studios out of the market. And OptiTrack is keen to change that.

The Prime Series has been designed around a core concept of offering high precision of tracking, long-range capture, and a better yield of data in larger volumes. Furthermore, it’s about liberating actors to perform free of restriction.

“The Prime Series is all about scalability, range, and precision,” explains Richardson. “Practically, this means that mo-cap performers can explore huge volumes knowing that the system will capture every nuanced motion with high fidelity.”

And, argues Richardson, it’s not only the actors that are set to gain from using the new range of cameras.

“Often there’s a physicality and interactivity to game animations that can be challenging to keyframe. Prime 41s can easily track body, fingers, and props for multiple actors engaging in complex, meaningful interactions. This simplifies and expedites the animation process while producing data true to performance.”

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION

To accompany the new camera range, which has debuted with the currently available Prime 41 OptiTrack is also finalising a new editing and take-management system on the software side, set to offer rapid data processing.

As for the evolution of the Prime Series from a single camera to a true range, OptiTrack is currently working on the Prime 17W, a super-wide FOV camera designed to maximise capture volume within slightly smaller setup areas. The 17W has been crafted for customers that don’t posses enough real estate to build out a complete Prime 41 system, but still require a high-fidelity capture.

“After that we’ll continue to flesh out the Prime Series,” concludes Richardson. “The goal is to have an OptiTrack camera that can perform any application and meet any budget.”