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Motion Capture: The Art of Studying Human Activity

Learn about how to record, visualize, and analyze human body motion.

444 enrolled on this course

Motion capture illustration

Motion Capture: The Art of Studying Human Activity

444 enrolled on this course

  • 6 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Learn about how to record, visualize, and analyze human body motion.

This online course from the University of Oslo is for everyone interested in human motion capture. You’ll start by learning the basics of human anatomy and biomechanics. Then we’ll move on to setting up, calibrating and recording with an infrared optical motion capture system. Some other sensing technologies will also be presented, including accelerometers, muscle sensors, and video recordings. Examples will be given of how such systems are used in various types of music research. Finally, you’ll learn about some of the ethical and legal challenges of working with human motion capture.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 18 seconds So what actually happens internally  in his body is he’s using his muscles

Skip to 0 minutes and 27 seconds So that’s on his side and we go anterior  is towards the front and posterior  Hi and welcome to this RITMO course on motion capture My name is Alexander Jensenius and I’m a professor of music technology here at  the University of Oslo But what is actually motion capture Well that’s actually a very good  question because it’s not so easy to answer because some people think about motion capture as  these suits that you put on with markers etc But you may also think about motion capture as more  generally just a way of being able to capture   some kind of human body motion And in general I would say that you can kind of separate between observational based motion capture Another one is to use different types of technologies to be able to capture the motion and that’s the focus  of the course that we’re going to have here now   but then Jonna, why do we actually want  to work with motion capture in the first place   in music research and also outside of music research?

Skip to 1 minute and 25 seconds Yeah well that’s a very good question


  • Week 1

    Welcome to the course

    • Introduction

      Learn about the course and its learning outcomes.

    • Human movement analysis

      Learn about different approaches to studying human movement.

    • Reflection

      Reflect on your own interests in motion capture.

  • Week 2

    Anatomy and biomechanics

    • Introduction

      Learn about RITMO and the fourMs Lab.

    • Anatomy

      Understand the basics of the musculoskeletal system.

    • Biomechanics

      Understand the basics of how the body moves.

    • Reflection

      Summarize your thoughts on this week's course activities.

  • Week 3

    Infrared motion capture

    • Introduction

      Learn about the basics of an infrared, optical, marker-based motion capture system.

    • Camera setup

      Understand how to set up cameras for a high-quality motion capture session.

    • Marker placement

      Learn how to position markers on the human body to capture different kinds of motion.

    • Calibration

      Learn about how to calibrate a motion capture system.

    • Post-processing

      Learn about different approaches to post-processing motion capture data.

    • Reflection

      Reflect on some of the challenges you may face when working with infrared motion capture.

  • Week 4

    Additional sensing

    • Introduction

      Learn about alternatives to infrared motion capture.

    • Video analysis

      Understand how video recordings can be used as the basis for both qualitative and quantitative analysis.

    • Accelerometry

      Learn about accelerometers and other inertial sensors.

    • Muscle sensing

      Understand how electromyography (EMG) can be used to capture muscle signals.

    • Reflection

      Reflect on how you can use additional sensors for your project.

  • Week 5

    Use cases

    • Introduction

      Learn about RITMO's approach to using motion capture in research.

    • Motion capture of performers

      Understand how motion capture can be used to study music performers.

    • Motion capture of perceivers

      Learn about strategies for capturing the motion of music perceivers, such as audiences.

    • Motion capture of musicians and dancers

      Learn about some challenges when capturing the motion of multiple musicians and dancers at the same time.

    • Reflection

      Develop your own complete motion capture research design.

  • Week 6

    Project planning

    • Introduction

      Learn about how to get started with project planning and the principles of open research.

    • Data management

      Learn about the different steps involved in managing research data.

    • Ethics

      Understand the importance of considering ethical and legal concerns when planning a project.

    • Intellectual property rights

      Learn about how to consider copyright and apply the right license to your data.

    • Reflection

      Reflect on how you should consider data management, ethics, and copyright in your own project.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the musculoskeletal system and biomechanics of the human body
  • Reflect on the usage of various motion capture systems for different applications
  • Describe the setup of an infrared marker-based motion capture system
  • Identify challenges working with different types of motion capture systems
  • Explain some ethical issues related to motion capture of human participants

Who is the course for?

This online course from the University of Oslo is for everyone interested in human motion capture.

What software or tools do you need?

The course describes several advanced motion capture systems. You can complete the course without any specialized equipment but will need access to a motion capture lab to get hands-on experience with the presented technologies.

Who will you learn with?

Professor of music technology, Director fourMs Lab, and Deputy Director RITMO, University of Oslo

I am a senior engineer at RITMO. I split my time as lab engineer and data manager.

Researcher, RITMO, Department of Musicology, University of Oslo.

Research interests: music ensemble performance, attention and mental effort, music and motion, collaborative creativity.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Musicology, University of Oslo.
Research interests: Embodied music cognition, music and motion, rhythm and dance.

I'm a postdoctoral researcher at RITMO, UiO, where I study human movement in relation to music. I have background in human movement science and mechanical engineering.

Associate Professor of Music Cognition at the RITMO Centre, University of Oslo

My research interests are music and emotion, empathy, and the social and embodied cognition of music

Who developed the course?

University of Oslo

Founded in 1811, the University of Oslo (UiO) is the highest ranked institution of education and research in Norway.

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Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$59/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 14 Jan 2023

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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