back to article Boffins fill a dome with 480 cameras for 3D motion capture

Move over Gollum: Carnegie-Mellon boffins are working on 3D motion capture that works without tracking sensors, and can pull together images from hundreds of sensors. Their work, documented in full here, goes way beyond the motion capture tricks that let Peter Jackson give Gollum and King Kong to the world: they put their …

  1. Zola

    Vertical Video Syndrome

    For example, hundreds of camera-phones capturing live sports could become the input images to MAP, rather than the controlled environment of the Panoptic Studio.

    Will MAP automatically ignore all the phones being held in portrait mode? That should cut down the processing load to barely anything at all...

  2. Mikel

    I had thought of doing this some time ago

    A natural first application: porn.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Dome ?

    Stephen King + Steven Spielberg

  4. frank ly

    Camera phones at sports events

    How will MAP know where the phones are? I'd have thought that this would be vital information for 3-D image reconstruction.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Camera phones at sports events

      I'm not a computer imaging expert by any stretch, but I expect that with enough images, you can build a map of all of the stationary objects, and use that to determine the location and orientation of all of the imagers in space.

    2. Salts

      Re: Camera phones at sports events

      you do have gps, exif, wifi and bluetooth data, being recorded/transmitted on smart phones.

      I don't see it as being easy, but possible, imagine I enter a stadium via gate 'f' smart phone in pocket, the time and location could now be known, but even if I was pointing my smart phone in the right direction, it is improbable it will capture anything worthwhile, as reference to my location, via mapping of the stadium shows this. However those that enter through gate 'c' should have a good view, with gate 'a' also possible.

      You could also grab facebook and twitter for the event/incident and match up the data.

      post mortem, you will certainly have something worthwhile, whether this is a 3d image or not, I can see law enforcement, marketing, sale etc. loving the idea, time to get my tinfoil hat :-)

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Camera phones at sports events

        > it is improbable it will capture anything worthwhile

        Tag the picture with GPS and compass data and you might be able to calculate line of sight to see if its worthwhile adding the image to the processing stack.

  5. Captain DaFt

    No way I'm getting near that thing!

    First thing it reminded of was 'The Gadget', the original nuclear bomb!

    Check out the resemblance:

  6. Crisp
    Paris Hilton

    maximum a posteriori....


    Paris, because she's got a maximum a posteriori.

  7. Joe_H

    Seems like an evolution of something available for stills

    Try looking at the point-cloud for this

    which I believe is generated purely from the photographs.

    More photographs = more accurate positioning.

    This studio seems like an application of the same sort of thing for movies

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems like an evolution of something available for stills

      I can believe it's generated purely from photographs

  8. DrXym Silver badge

    And it goes without saying

    That a porn studio will be first to pioneer this system

  9. Tom_


    I work in game development and we capture our animation data with three web cams. We record whole body movement down to individual fingers. We don't use markers or those funny suits - just process the video feed.

    1. Lionel Baden

      Re: 480?

      But could you capture confetti, and track multiple objects.

      Not saying it doesn't sound extreme, but back in 1999 i worked on Ir motion capture and even then you got odd frame drops in the middle. this sounds more like a always working no drops perfection type of deal.

      I wish i had stayed in the mocap industry.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i should think 480 cameras is daft. surely 6 would do it. let me see: one to the left, one to the right, one in front, one at the back, one underneath and one on top. did i miss one?

    1. cray74

      A couple of comments about 480 cameras.

      First, making a probably-inappropriate analogy to GPS satellites, more is better. You can figure out your altitude, longitude, and latitude from 4 satellites overhead. You firm up your position considerably by being able to spot additional satellites. Further, more than 4 satellites helps compensate for interruptions by trees, terrain, buildings, weather, etc. The alternate GPS constellations help further.

      Similarly, additional cameras help (at this time) because - per the article - help see past blockages. A few cameras are sufficient for now when you've got a single actor Golluming around the sound stage looking for his precious, but putting a dozen actors and complicated terrain in the mix will block line of sight from multiple cameras. (Not that a dozen actors will fit in this trial unit.) More cameras are more chances to bypass blockages

      Second, the application benefits from 480 cameras *now*. The lessons here are probably going to go in two directions: harnessing more cameras (per the numerous suggestions in comments to integrate lots of public cameras), and streamlining a studio rig to fewer cameras. Technology seems to move that way frequently: the first time a new capability debuts, it is overengineered and complicated. Successive generations of the product get simpler as engineers build experience and figure out to milk more from less.

  11. A K Stiles Silver badge


    So effectively kind of an extension of the Hawkeye technology they've used at Wimbledon, etc. to replay disputed line calls for the last 10 years or so, but tracking something other than white lines and a fuzzy yellow ball?

  12. Joefish

    But can it still track you

    if you cover your other hand as you enter your PIN?

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