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Affordable Facial Motion Capture Helmet

Intro

In previous videos, I demonstrated how facial motion capture works with an Apple device with a True Depth Sensor. These devices include the iPhone X or higher, or the iPad Generation 3 or higher. But what if you want to be mobile while capturing your facial performance? You need a facial motion capture helmet.

If you search online for facial motion capture helmets, you find some rather expensive solutions. Now for all the support and features they offer, the prices may be justified. However, an indie artist on a budget may not be ready to invest a laptop budget into a helmet.

The DIY Facial Motion Capture Helmet

The first thing such an artist will seek out is DIY solutions. That led me to create a setup based on this video. The basis of this helmet is a bicycle helmet with a small tripod tied to it with zip ties. Then the tripod needs a flexible arm attached to it, along with a phone holder at the end. This allows for the positioning of the phone. I prefer phone holders that allow for vertical positioning to better capture the entire face. Also, consider tying small weights to the back of the helmet to counter the weight of everything else. Trust me, this helmet gets HEAVY.
Helmets like this one will get the job done. However, there will be some shaking and undesired movement no matter how much you tight you tie everything down. That may not be an issue for most performances, but if you were to rapidly move your head, you may negatively affect the capture.

One step beyond

Here’s a look at what I’m currently using. It’s a tactical bump helmet with GoPro Arms and a phone mount.

Affordable Facial Motion Capture Helmet using a tactical bump helmet along with GoPro style arms and a phone holder.

Here are the parts on Amazon. At the time of publishing this article, the combined cost is around $125. That is a lot less than $1250.

GoPro Compatible Helmet Mount
Tactical Helmet
GoPro Style Phone Mount (to hold the phone vertically)
Helmet Mount Extension Arms

And this is the first video where I put this helmet to work. This helmet is lighter and there is less unwanted movement. There are probably many other workable solutions without breaking the bank. I just wanted to help someone out with this one. Thanks for your time

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