Motion Capture

The evolution of technology in Filmmaking

Motion Capture

The use of motion-capture technology to create some of the most fantastical creatures and effects has become revolutionary in recent years, and Andy Serkis has been at the forefront. From acting as a consultant on films through his performance-capture studio, The Imaginarium, to actually portraying these digitally rendered characters, the actor has essentially become the face of this cinematic movement. He returned to the world of the 'Apes' this past weekend to continue the story of one of his most famous characters: Caesar.

Motion-capture performance has certainly come along since it was first utilized, but it seems to be only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Serkis even said that, with 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,' there've been changes in technique since 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes,' and this technology is still evolving.

With 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' now in theaters, marking a high point for this art form, we take a look back at some of the most incredible instances of motion-capture performances, and see how this art form has evolved.

The early technology that would come to birth modern motion capture was used as early as the 19th century, when photographer Eadweard Muybridge studied the motion of humans and animals through stop-motion photography. The basic principles of his study would soon serve filmmakers when Max Fleischer invented something called a Rotoscope in 1915. In essence, a camera would project a single frame onto an easel so that the animator could then draw over it, frame by frame, to better capture realistic movement for on-screen characters.