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What Are We Talking About!? A glossary of mocap terms

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

At the home of motion capture it's no secret that we're a bunch of nerds. Our native language comprises of abbreviations, acronyms, portmanteaus and general jargon. In case you're wondering, here is what some of means...

We thought we'd start with an easy one. Now you've got MOCAP, how about these:

OPTICAL MOCAP Using outside-in optical camera arrays for tracking markers INERTIAL MOCAP Using IMU sensors (think gyro, accelerometer and magnetometers like your phone uses to rotate the screen) to track local rotation and use walking or lowest point algorithms for determining global position

MAGNETIC MOCAP Tracking using probes that intersect with a generated magnetic field MARKERLESS MOCAP A computer vision or AI system for tracking without any markers or sensors in use

ACTIVE TRACKING Motion Capture tracking using LED lights

PASSIVE TRACKING Motion Capture tracking using retro reflective markers

So, where does it take place?

THE VOLUME The space in which the mocap system lives THE STAGE The the space in which the mocap volume lives

What about those things you shout during capture..?


The best recorded take both technically and physically SAFETY The 2nd best take


The queue a mocap engineer receives to record the mocap system


Markers can be seen by the optical cameras


The performers first position before action is called


The queue for playing the music FACE THE GREEN PLEASE

Positive direction of our origin point in our Hoxton studio


Our technicians are flagging. They need coffee!

How should I stand?


The start and end pose which the mocap system uses to calibrate a performer's skeletal proportions. Always used at the start and end of each recorded take.


A loop or return pose that is often used in motion blending


Tracking the tips of each finger and interpolating the 2nd and 3rd segments


The dance we do to calibrate the mocap system


The dance we do when calibrating the mocap system. Sometimes used in combination with the Dolphin Dance for maximum accuracy.


Walking the volume in a grid pattern. Mostly used when calibrating the mocap system.

I've heard there are a lot of processes?

You bet...

WANDING The process of calibrating the mocap system. AKA the Dolphin Dance or Figure of 8 Dance

SETTING THE GROUND PLANE Defining the center point of the mocap system

ORIGIN POINT The centre of the world or worlds

ROM A cheeky acronym of Range of Motion. Typically run the start of each shoot for performers to test the mocap system. Also used for the initial post character editing

HERO SELECTS A process of going through each take to mark the best, both performance wise & technically

DEMARKER Getting rid of the lovely balls on the performers. By balls we of course mean markers


A short calibration process to fix a knocked or bumped camera


Drawing out and analysing the magnetic fields in a space prior to an inertial mocap shoot


The process of applying data to a model to fix scaling, foot plants and limb to body relationships.


The process of removing any erroneous data from the shoot


Creating walk or animation cycles that perfectly blend together

This sounds...violent?

Not at all. Although we have combat fighters on our books, all the props are plastic!

SOW Our statement of works, defining the responsibilities of each company or person

RELEASE FORM The contract to allow for publication of captured images, video and data

CALL SHEET The form containing the contact detail and specifications for the shoot

SHOT LIST A document outlining the sequences and movements the require capturing in a shoot

Still don't know your inertial mocap from your idle pose? That's what we're here for. Target3D guide you in choosing the most suitable mocap products for your project. Mocap service work is also our speciality - either in our large volume studio, or on location to suit you. Get in touch with Target3D, the home of motion capture.


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