Xsens MVN motion capture systems are now easier to set up, able produceXsens-mvn5
data suited to production previs and animation. Pipeline integration is also
extended to more 3D applications.

Xsens Mocap Tracks Cleaner, Faster Data for Previs & Animation

Xsens MVNwearable, inertial motion capture systems and software have now been updated to set up faster and produce cleaner data suitable for production-quality previs and animation. The suits and trackers are now made of tougher materials as well, to handle continuous use in demanding environments.

The Xsens MVN product line has two hardware versions, MVN Link and MVN Awinda, with characteristics suited to different purposes.MVN Linkis a full-body, camera-less mocap suit with 17 wired trackers. Small groups of actors, each wearing a suit, can be connected to a single access and monitoring point, carried in a suitcase to wherever the performance is to be captured. The suits have been rebuilt with Kevlar-reinforced wires and allow two minutes of on-body data buffering to help prevent drop-outs. The life of the suit’s battery has been extended now to 9.5 hours. The trackers are smaller and lighter, and instead of having to re-thread them each time you change your set-up, you can access the trackers and wires through external zippers.
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TheMVN Awindasystem is strap-based, working well for animators who need to be able to capture motions spontaneously. Individual wireless motion trackers are attached to straps that can be quickly snapped on over clothes or exchanged between actors, record for a total of up to 6.5 hours. In this case, the actor has 17 battery-powered trackers and performs without wires. One Awinda station, portable in a backpack, is required per actor.

Both MVN Awinda and Link systems have verylow latency, and usually take about 10 minutes to set up and calibrate. Link is best suited to work on stage where real-time performance needs to be guaranteed or on-set where redundancy is important due to the pressure of production. Awinda is better for animators at smaller studios, for education and research, or for VFX artists who want to quickly capture isolated motions.


MVN Studio3D motion tracking software has been updated as well toversion 4.0, and is used to calibrate the trackers, and to visualize, playback and edit the motion capture data. Its most significant new development is to theXsens Mocap Engine, allowing it to now supportheight trackingin real-time. Motion data can be streamed on a local area network.

Xsens has expanded MVN Studio’spipeline integrationto make its mocap data more available to VFX and animation workflows, specifically to the standard industry software pipelines such asAutodesk Maya, 3ds MaxandMotionBuilder, HoudiniandCinema 4D, plusUnity3D,CryEngineand theUnreal Enginedevelopment kit,UDK. The primary export format is.FBXbut the MVN Open XML format, .BVH and .C3D are also supported.

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An important aspect of the MVN system is its use ofinertial motion capture, as opposed to optical systems that rely on camera data. Inertial motion capture literally measures both absolute and angular acceleration, that is, the rate at which the speed changes over time. While optical systems derive their motions from positions of markers per captured frame and often need to filter the data to remove jitter, the inertial system is only concerned with the tracked changes in the speed and direction of motion, generally producing a cleaner result. The refinement of these measurements are what allow the updatedXsens Mocap Engineto capture height data now.

The new MVN products can be used by teams or individuals working onfilm production, animation, VFX, game design, movement analysisor generalhuman motionmeasurement. Before release, the new systems were tested at the studios of existing customers. The motion capture supervisor atDouble Negative, Simon Kaysaid, “We started using the MVN system about five years ago while working on ‘Paul’ and have continued to use it ever since as a tool for previs and animation blocking. After trying out the new MVN system first hand, we’re looking forward to integrating it into our production pipeline."

“The portability of the MVN system allows us to get true interplay between a CG character and the rest of the cast,” saidWebster Colcord, motion capture specialist on the movie ‘Ted’. “This is particularly important in comedy, where improvisation and timing are everything.”  www.xsens.com