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Facial Motion Capture: Best Practices - Equipment Setup

Facial Motion Capture: Best Practices - Equipment Setup

12 May, 2023
Best Practices: Equipment Setup

The process of facial motion capture is a critical element in creating realistic and believable performances in video games, film, and other entertainment mediums. Before you get rolling, it's essential to ensure that all of our equipment and settings are set up correctly. Taking the extra time to prepare now will help us avoid any unexpected hurdles during the performance capture. In this guide, we will provide you with our recommended specifications, framing, camera settings, and lighting for the best possible results.

General Specifications

Video Feed and Resolution: 720p - 1080p

To ensure our software captures your facial features in all their glory, use a high-quality camera with 720p or 1080p video resolution. Anything lower will harm tracking quality, and anything higher will increase storage needs without improving tracking.

File Format: mp4, mov & 60 fps

For optimal results, save your video files in .mp4 or .mov format with h.264 or ProRes codecs. Shoot at 60 fps for high accuracy and minimal motion blur. Faceware software can accept standard fps outputs such as 24p and 30p but avoid any fps higher than 60p.

Timecode: LTC Input

Our camera doesn't record timecode, so you'll need an external solution. Our digital recorder that comes with the Mark IV has an LTC input for this purpose. Note that the timecode FPS should be even multiples of the camera frame rate.

Hardware Setup

Camera Settings: The Usuals

To capture high-quality data, check your camera's resolution, frame rate, and focus. Like previously mentioned, make sure your frame rate is not higher than 60. Use focus assist on your QC monitor. White balance if there are blue or green screens, always in your main capture volume.

Lighting: Equal Distribution & Under Control

Lighting is an essential element of capturing high-quality facial motion capture data. Ensure Head Mounted Camera light is evenly distributed across all facial features. Be sure the camera’s light is the key light. Keep lighting consistent throughout all recording sessions. Never record near an open window or any natural light source. Always test the performance capture environment to ensure lighting creates even exposure of the face.

Framing: Everything Visible

Capturing high-quality facial motion capture data requires proper framing. Start by adjusting the mounting bar so that the camera sits just below the performer's eyeline, with the Faceware logo pointing up. The aluminum blocks should be tightened to fix the bar's position.

The camera should be pointed roughly straight ahead and squared in frame with the performer's forehead and chin roughly equal in plane. There should be enough space between the brows and the rim of the helmet to avoid confusion in the tracking program.

Make sure the camera is not too far down the face so that you can still see the brows and eyes clearly. Ask the performer to open their jaw wide during recording to ensure that it stays in frame. Keep framing consistent throughout all recording sessions, and an HMC technician is recommended to ensure consistency throughout production.


By following our recommended specifications, framing, camera settings, and lighting, your next capture session will surely entail high-quality facial motion capture data for your animators. Make sure to check out our other blogs on Calibration Frames and Preparing Your Performer, so that you're fully prepped and ready to for your next PCAP session.

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