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Chapman University Showcases Xsens Motion Capture Solutions at CTN 2014

Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts showcases the new Xsens MVN motion capture system live on the show floor at CTN 2014.

Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts was one of the many exhibitors at last month’s CTN animation eXpo, where the school showed off the new Xsens MVN motion capture system live on the show floor.

CTN, which took place November 21-23, in Burbank, CA, brings together the top professionals from both the traditional and digital worlds of animation. Hosted by the Creative Talent Network, this event, now in its sixth year, has captured both the industry and local community’s attention as a resource for education, employment, inspiration and business opportunities.

The Xsens MVN portfolio consists of full-body, wearable motion capture solutions. The new Xsens MVN is simple to use, has robust and reliable hardware, and produces production-ready data, making it an ideal tool for professional animators.

At CTN 2014, Chapman University student James Bourne showed off the strap-based MVN Awinda motion capture system, which includes 17 wireless trackers and data link with an indoor/outdoor range of up to 150 feet.

Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts has been using Xsens MVN motion capture technology in classrooms for over a year, and students are now working more and more with MVN outside of class to tackle midterm and final projects. Recent short films using MVN include Trellis, a story about a plant that comes to life and kills a young boy’s abusive father; Comic-Con International official selection Some Like it Bot; and Mr. Bananas, a story about a young boy who gets a terrifying visit from the stuffed animal he has been torturing.

“Xsens has facilitated an amazing relationship with Chapman University,” comments Kc Wayland, Digital Applications Specialist at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, who was also at CTN 2014 to help demonstrate the new system. “From the first time we demo’d their motion capture suit we have been working hand in hand bringing some of the newest and most advanced technology right into the hands of the students. We look forward to many more years of collaboration and integration of Xsens hardware and software into our curriculum.”

Senior film production student Jeff Hodges insists that users are still just scratching the surface in terms of what is possible with motion-capture, although he acknowledges that some of the earlier projects at Chapman using the technology weren’t entirely trouble-free. “We didn’t exactly make it easy on ourselves for our first project with the system,” he says. “We went ahead and built a story around a character that was maybe two feet tall. We spent a great deal of time discussing the kind of scale we had to deal with in order for our actor to accurately match up with the elements in real world that the CG character would be interacting with. What that really taught me, though, is that your character and your story have to match the way in which you’re generating animation data. You can’t use mocap for everything because sometimes it just doesn’t make sense.”

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.