motion capture and other gestures

Thecla Schiphorst (
Wed, 21 May 1997 20:48:35 -0800

>> To my knowledge,
>>nothing like this has been attempted. Lifeforms linking with animation
>>packages might help us better compose dances or dance videos, but there
>>is little on the capture side other than Sally Jane Norman's experiments
>>(again seemingly aimed at arriving at an animation) or musicians using
>>a variety of motion capture devices for gestural input (e.g. Axel Mulder,
>>George Logemann, Cyberbeat Brothers; systems like Very Nervous System,
>>Em trackers and BodySynth).
>I've been working with a variety of motion capture systems for some years
>now, but by far the best I have worked with is BigEye, made at and
>available from STEIM. This is a realtime program that captures a video
>image at full framerate (given good enough hardware/RAM) and with a
>scripting environment that lets you analyze the incoming image from a
>number of different perspectives (colour, difference) and map that
>information onto MIDI. It's fabulous. It's also not dissimilar to Very
>Nervous System (from all accounts - I haven't actually seen that system

i have also been working with a number of motion capture systems,
including the very nervous system, with lisa naugle, we have actually
created a couple of performances that incorporates the vns system which
like the big eye captures video frames (30 frames per second) and analyzes
the change in light intensity in the image. also like the bigeye, vns
connects to midi
which means a lot of live performance control over image, lights and sound,
and of course it also means a lot of collaboration ...

also lisa and i have worked on a performance in which we used light sensitive
resistors to produce our own very crude replication of the vns, controlling
an 8 by 8 matrix of light 'pools' and sound

>It doesn't let you map to an animation program, though. If that was the
>intent of your message above, please ignore this!

one of the mostion capture systems i have been working which
_does_ map to life forms, actually it is something which i have
done the interface and conceptual design for along with sang mah,
has been developing for the last 3 years .... we are presenting this
work at SIGGRAPH '97 this year, and gave a preliminary session
in 1995 at the "3rd Dance & technology conference" at york university
in toronto, canada. this system uses ascension technologies 'flock of
birds' an electro magnetic motion capture system .... its whole
premise is based on choreographic intention and exploration,
and unlike the typical animation motion capture systems, which
capture movement 'literally' it begins from the starting point that
movement and gesture is generative, and therefore that movement
can also be 'captured' metaphorically .... a gesture of the arm
for example can be 'mapped' to other parts of the body,
phased over time, the maps can be stored and re-used,
movement generated can be stored in life forms and used as
any other phrase might be used ... really if you think of how
sound samples can be re-iterated, reversed, intercut, phased,
the notion follows this idea of translating movement, again,
the idea of exploring movement possibiliites ...


thecla schiphorst
1128 rose street
vancouver bc canada
V5L 4K8

phone 604 251 9630
fax 604 251 4618