East Africa's Only Motion Capture Studio Opens at ADMA

Patrick Salomon Ndaruhutse jumps while performing in ADMA's new motion capture studio in Kigali. Photos by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/ADMA

Patrick Salomon Ndaruhutse jumps while performing in ADMA's new motion capture studio in Kigali. Photos by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/ADMA

When Patrick Salomon Ndaruhutse watched the movies “Avatar” and “Lord of the Rings,” he never imagined he would one day have a chance to use the motion capture technology that makes those films so spectacular to watch.

But on a recent Tuesday, Patrick pulled on a custom-designed black bodysuit, had 41 little reflective balls – called markers – velcroed to the suit, and then jumped and cartwheeled around the room in what was one of Rwanda's first motion capture sessions. 

“It’s something I’ve been seeing in movies and on the Internet but doing it here was something else,” Patrick said. “I was thinking of all the future opportunities with this. ”

ADMA's mocap studio is the only facility of its kind in East Africa and Rwanda is the third African country with a studio, after South Africa and Nigeria.

Motion capture is the process by which live movement is recorded and the data is used to more efficiently create realistic animations for film and TV. ADMA's motion capture studio, which has been over a year in the making, uses 24 cameras mounted around a specially designed room.

Feature films are the most well-known use of motion capture. A more common use is in TV commercials. That’s how Chris Marler, ADMA’s Rwanda-based director, envisions the technology being used in Rwanda, at least at first.

"After we get the students trained, we anticipate using the technology to create some local TV commercials that will increase awareness about the ability of Rwandans to do this kind of production work," said Chris.

Jacques Karamutsa, an ADMA student, adjusts one of the motion capture cameras at ADMA's new motion capture studio in Kigali.

Jacques Karamutsa, an ADMA student, adjusts one of the motion capture cameras at ADMA's new motion capture studio in Kigali.

ADMA instructor Ryan Yewell places markers on student Patrick Ndaruhutse.

ADMA instructor Ryan Yewell places markers on student Patrick Ndaruhutse.