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Getting Started

Main PageQuick Start GuidesGetting Started

Welcome to the Quick Start Guide: Getting Started!

This guide provides a quick walk-through of installing and using OptiTrack motion capture systems. Key concepts and instructions are summarized in each section of this page to help you get familiarized with the system and get you kick-started into your capture experience.

Note that Motive offers features far beyond the ones listed in this guide, and the capability of the system can be further optimized to fit your specific capture applications using the additional features. For more detailed information on each workflow, read through the corresponding workflow pages in this wiki: hardware setup and software setup.

GettingStarted Intro.png

Hardware Setup

Preparing the Capture Area

Example capture area

For best tracking results, you need to prepare and clean up the capture environment before setting up the system. Remove unnecessary obstacles that could block the camera views. Cover open windows and minimize incoming sunlight when capturing indoors. Avoid installing a system over reflective flooring since LED illumination from cameras will reflect off of it. If this is not an option, use rubber mats to cover the reflective area. Items with reflective surfaces or illuminating features should be removed or covered with non-reflective materials in order to avoid extraneous reflections.

Key Checkpoints for a Good Capture Area

  • Minimize ambient lights, especially sunlight and other infrared light sources.
  • Clean capture volume. Remove unnecessary obstacles within the area.
  • Tape, or Cover, remaining reflective objects in the area.

See Also: Hardware Setup workflow pages.

Cabling and Load Balancing

Ethernet Camera System

Ethernet Camera Models: Prime series and Slim 13E cameras. Follow the below wiring diagram and connect each of the required system components.

Single PoE Switch Setup

Ethernet system components setup.
  • Connect PoE Switch(s) into the Host PC: Start by connecting a PoE switch into the host PC via an Ethernet cable. Since the camera system takes up a large amount of data bandwidth, the Ethernet camera network traffic must be separated from the office/local area network. If the computer used for capture is connected to an existing network, you will need to use a second Ethernet port or add-on network card for connecting the computer to the camera network. When you do, make sure to turn off your computer's firewall for the particular network under Windows Firewall settings.
  • Connect the Ethernet Cameras to the PoE Switch(s): Ethernet cameras connect to the host PC via PoE/PoE+ switches using Cat 6, or above, Ethernet cables.
  • Power the Switches: Each camera is powered by the PoE switches. The PoE and PoE+ switches must support full power (15.4 and 34.2 Watts respectively) to every port simultaneously.
  • Ethernet Cables: Ethernet cable connection is subject to the limitations of the PoE (Power over Ethernet) and Ethernet communications standards, meaning that the distance between camera and switch can go up to about 100 meters when using Cat 6 cables (Ethernet cable type Cat5e or below is not supported). For best performance, do not connect devices other than the capture computer to the camera network. Add-on network cards should be installed if additional Ethernet ports are required.
  • External Sync: If you wish to connect external devices, use the eSync synchronization hub. Connect the eSync into one of the PoE switches using an Ethernet cable.

Multiple PoE Switch Setup for Higher Camera Counts

Ethernet system components setup for high camera counts.
  • Uplink Switch: For systems with higher camera counts that uses multiple PoE switches, use an uplink Ethernet switch to link and connect all of the switches to the Host PC. In the end, the switches must be connected in a star topology with the uplink switch at the central node connecting to the host PC. Never daisy chain multiple PoE switches in series because doing so can introduce latency to the system.
  • High Camera Counts: For setting up more than 24 Prime series cameras, we recommend using a 10 Gigabit uplink switch and connecting it to the host PC via an Ethernet cable that supports 10 Gigabit transfer rate — Cat6a, Cat6e, and Cat7. This will provide larger data bandwidth and reduce the data transfer latency.


Ethernet Cable Requirements

Cable Type

There are multiple categories for Ethernet cables, and each has different specifications for maximum data transmission rate and cable length. For an Ethernet based system, category 6 or above Gigabit Ethernet cables should be used. 10 Gigabit Ethernet cables – Cat6e, Cat6a, and Cat7 — are recommended in conjunction with a 10 Gigabit uplink switch for the connection between the uplink switch and the host PC in order to accommodate for the high data traffic.

Electromagnetic Shielding

Also, please use a cable that has electromagnetic interference shielding on it. If cables without the shielding are used, cables that are close to each other could interfere and cause the camera to stall in Motive.

See Also: Cabling and Wiring page.

USB Camera System

USB Camera Models: Flex series and Slim 3U camera models. Follow the below wiring diagram to connect each of the required system components.

USB systems wiring diagram.
  • USB Cables: Keep USB cable length restrictions in mind, each USB 2.0 cable must not exceed 5 meters in length.
  • Connect the OptiHub(s) into a Host PC: Use USB 2.0 cables (type A/B) to connect each OptiHub into a host PC. To optimize available bandwidth, evenly split the OptiHub connections between different USB adapters of the host PC. For large system setups, up to two 5 meters active USB extensions can be used for connecting an OptiHub, providing total 15 meters in length.
  • Power the Optihub: Use provided power adapters to connect each OptiHub into an external power. All USB cameras will be powered by the OptiHub(s).
  • Connect the Cameras into the OptiHub(s): Use USB 2.0 cables (type B/mini-b) to connect each USB camera into an OptiHub. When using multiple OptiHubs, evenly distribute the camera connections among the OptiHubs in order to balance the processing load. Note that USB extensions are not supported when connecting a camera into an OptiHub.
  • Multiple OptiHubs: Up to four OptiHubs, 24 USB cameras, can be used in one system. When setting up multiple OptiHubs, all OptiHubs must be connected, or cascaded, in a series chain with RCA synchronization cables. More specifically, a Hub SYNC Out port of one OptiHub needs to be connected into a Hub Sync In port of another OptiHub, as shown in the diagram.
  • External Sync: When integrating external devices, use the External Sync In/Out ports that are available on each OptiHub.

See Also: Cabling and Wiring page.

Tracking Bars

Tracking bar setup.

Duo/Trio Tracking bars uses the I/O-X USB hub for powering the device (3.0 A), connecting to the computer (USB A-B), and synchronizing with external devices.

Placing and Aiming Cameras

Optical motion capture systems utilize multiple 2D images from each camera to compute, or reconstruct, corresponding 3D coordinates. For best tracking results, cameras must be placed so that each of them captures unique vantage of the target capture area. Place the cameras circumnavigating around the capture volume, as shown in the example below, so that markers in the volume will be visible by at least two cameras at all times. Mount cameras securely onto stable structures (e.g. truss system) so that they don't move throughout the capture. When using tripods or camera stands, ensure that they are placed in stable positions. After placing cameras, aim the cameras so that their views overlap the most in the region where most of the capture will take place. Any camera movement after calibration will require re-calibrating the system. Cable strain-relief should be used at the camera end of camera cables to prevent potential damage to the camera.

  • Use camera clamps to mount the cameras.
  • Sample placement.
  • Aim each camera so that their views overlap on the target volume.

Lens Focus

In order to obtain accurate and stable tracking data, it is very important that all of the cameras are correctly focused to the target volume. This is especially important for close-up and long-range captures. For common tracking applications in general, focus-to-infinity should work fine, however, it is still important to confirm that each camera in the system is focused.

To adjust or to check camera focus, place some markers on the target tracking area. Then, set the camera to raw grayscale mode, increase the exposure and LED settings, and then Zoom onto one of the retroreflective markers in the capture volume and check the clarity of the image. If the image is blurry, adjust the camera focus and find the point where the marker is best resolved.

See Also: Aiming and Focusing page.
  • Out of Focus
  • Moderately Focused
  • Focused

Software Setup

Host PC Requirements

In order to properly run a motion capture system using Motive, the host PC must satisfy the minimum system requirements. Required minimum specifications vary depending on sizes of mocap systems and types of cameras used. Consult our Sale Engineers, or use the Build Your Own feature on our website to find out host PC specification requirements.

Motive Installation

Motive splash screen: License activation.

Motive is a software platform designed to control motion capture systems for various tracking applications. Motive not only allows the user to calibrate and configure the system, but it also provides interfaces for both capturing and processing of 3D data. The captured data can be recorded or live-streamed into other pipelines.

If you are new to Motive, we recommend you to read through Motive Basics page after going through this guide to learn about basic navigation controls in Motive.

Download and Install

To install Motive, simply download the Motive software installer for your operating system from the Motive Download Page, then run the installer and follow its prompts.


Note: Anti-virus software can interfere with Motive's ability to communicate with cameras or other devices, and it may need to be disabled or configured to allow the device communication to properly run the system.

License Activation Steps

  1. Insert the Hardware license key into the computer.
  2. Launch Motive
  3. Activate your software using the License Tool, which can be accessed in the Motive splash screen. You will need to input the License Serial Number and the Hash Code for your license.
  4. After activation, the License tool will place the license file associated to the Hardware key in the License folder. For more license activation questions, visit Licensing FAQs or contact our Support.


Duo/Trio Tracking Bars: Duo/Trio Tracking Bars include embedded Motive:Tracker licenses. Once a tracking bar device is recognized by the computer, you will be able to run Motive:Tracker without the authentication process.

First Launch

When you first launch Motive, the Quick Start panel will show up, and you can use this panel to quickly get started on specific tasks. By default, Motive will start on the Calibration Layout. Using this layout, you can calibrate the camera system and construct a 3D tracking volume. Note that the initial layout may be slightly different for different camera models or software licenses.

The following table briefly explains purposes of some of the panels on the initial layout:

Motive at its first glance.

UI Name Description Related Page
Quick Start Panel The quick start panel provides quick access to typical initial actions when using Motive. Each option will quickly lead you to the layouts and actions for corresponding selection. If you wish not to see this panel again, you can uncheck the box at the bottom. This panel can be re-accessed under the Help tab.
  • N/A
Devices pane Connected cameras will be listed under the Devices pane. This panel is where you configure settings (FPS, exposure, LED, and etc.) for each camera and decide whether to use selected cameras for 3D tracking Camera TrackingMode.png or reference Camera ReferenceMode 21.png videos. Only the cameras that are set to tracking mode will contribute to reconstructing 3D coordinates. Cameras in reference mode capture grayscale images for reference purposes only. The Devices pane can be accessed under the View tab in Motive or by clicking Tb10.png icon on the main toolbar.

Devices pane

Properties pane When an item is selected in Motive, all of its related properties will be listed under the Properties pane. For an example, if you have selected a skeleton in the 3D viewport, its corresponding properties will get listed under this pane, and you can view the settings and configure them as needed. You can also select connected cameras, sync devices, rigid bodies, any external devices listed in the Device pane, or recorded Takes to view and configure their properties. This pane will be used in almost all of the workflows. The Devices pane can be accessed under the View tab in Motive or by clicking Toolbar Properties Icon.png icon on the main toolbar.

Properties pane

Perspective View pane The Perspective View pane is where 3D data is displayed in Motive. Here, you can view, analyze, and select reconstructed 3D coordinates within a calibrated capture volume. This panel can be used both in live capture and recorded data playback. You can also select multiple markers and define rigid bodies and skeleton assets. If desired, additional view panes can be opened under the View tab or by clicking Toolbar Views 20.png icons on the main toolbar.

Perspective View pane

Camera Preview pane The Camera Preview pane shows 2D views of cameras in a system. Here you can monitor each camera view and apply mask filters. This pane is also used to examine 2D objects (circular reflections) that are captured, or filtered, in order to examine what reflections are processed and reconstructed into 3D coordinates. If desired, additional view panes can be opened under the View tab or by clicking Toolbar Views 20.png icons on the main toolbar.

Camera Preview pane

Calibration pane The Calibration pane is used in camera calibration process. In order to compute 3D coordinates from captured 2D images, the camera system needs to be calibrated first. All tools necessary for calibration is included within the Calibration pane, and it can also be accessed under the View tab or by clicking Toolbar Calib 20.png icon on the main toolbar.

Calibration pane Calibration

Control Deck The Control Deck, located at bottom of Motive, is where you can control recording (Live Mode) or playback (Edit Mode) of capture data. In the Live mode, you can use the control deck to start recording and assign filename for the capture. In the Edit mode, you can use this pane to control the playback of recored Take(s).

Control Deck


See Also: List of UI pages from the Documentation Reference Guide page.

Viewport Navigation Control

Use the following controls for navigating throughout the 2D and 3D viewports in Motive. Most of the navigation controls are customizable, including both mouse and Hotkey controls. The Hotkey Editor Pane and the Mouse Control Pane under the Edit tab allow you to customize mouse navigation and keyboard shortcuts to common operations.

Function Default Control
Rotate view Right + Drag
Pan view Middle (wheel) click + drag
Zoom in/out Mouse Wheel
Select in View Left mouse click
Toggle Selection in View CTRL + left mouse click

Camera Settings

Now that the cameras are connected and showing up in Motive, the next step is to configure the camera settings. Appropriate camera settings will vary depending on various factors including the capture environment and tracked objects. The overall goal is to configure the settings so that the marker reflections are clearly captured and distinguished in the 2D view of each camera. For a detailed explanation on individual settings, please refer to the Devices pane page.

To check whether the camera setting is optimized, it is best to check both the grayscale mode images and tracking mode (Object or Precision) images and make sure the marker reflection stands out from the image. You switch a camera into grayscale mode either in Motive or by using the Aim Assist button for supported cameras. In Motive, you can right-click on the Camera Preview pane and switch the video mode in the context menu, or you can also change the video mode through the Properties pane.

Exposure Setting

The exposure setting determines how long the camera imagers are exposed per each frame of data. With longer the exposure, more light will be captured by the camera, creating the brighter images that can improve visibility for small and dim markers. However, high exposure values can introduce false markers, larger marker blooms, and marker blurring – all of which can negatively impact marker data quality. It is best to minimize the exposure setting as long as the markers are clearly visible in the captured images.

  • Adjusting camera settings using the Devices pane. This can also be done through the Properties pane as well.
  • Retroreflective markers shown on the grayscale image.

Capture Setup

Camera Calibration


Tip: For the calibration process, click the Layout → Calibrate menu (CTRL + 1) to access the calibration layout.

In order to start tracking, all cameras must first be calibrated. Through the camera calibration process, Motive computes position and orientation of cameras (extrinsic) as well as amounts of lens distortions in captured images (intrinsics). Using the calibration results, Motive constructs a 3D capture volume, and within this volume, motion tracking is accomplished. All of the calibration tools can be found under the Calibration pane. Read through the Calibration page to learn about the calibration process and what other tools are available for more efficient workflows.

See Also: Calibration page.

Calibration Steps

Wanding a capture volume using CW-500 calibration wand.


  1. Remove any unwanted objects and physically cover any extraneous IR light reflections or interferences within the capture volume.
  2. [Motive:Calibration pane] In Motive, open the Calibration pane or use the calibration layout (CTRL + 1).
  3. [Motive:Calibration pane] Click the View2D ClearMask 1.11.png button from the Camera Preview pane.
  4. [Motive:Calibration pane] Mask the remaining extraneous reflections using Motive. Click Block Visible from the Calibration pane, or use the View2D AutoMask 1.11.png icon in the Camera Preview pane, to apply software masking to automatically block any light sources or reflections that cannot be removed from the volume. Once the maskings are applied, all of the extraneous reflections (white) in the 2D Camera Preview pane will be covered with red pixels.


  1. Bring out the calibration wand.
  2. [Motive:Calibration pane] From the Calibration pane, make sure the Calibration Type is set to Full and the correct type of the wand is specified under the OptiWand section.
  3. [Motive:Calibration pane] Click Start Wanding to begin wanding.
  4. Bring the wand into the capture volume, and wave the wand throughout the volume and allow cameras to collect wanding samples.
  5. [Motive:Calibration pane] When the system indicates enough samples have been collected, click the Calculate button to begin the calculation. This may take few minutes.
  6. [Motive:Calibration pane] When the Ready to Apply button becomes enabled, click Apply Result.
  7. [Motive] Calibration results window will be displayed. After examining the wanding result, click Apply to apply the calibration.
CS-400 calibration square.

Setting the Ground Plane

  1. Now that all of the cameras have been calibrated, you need to define the ground plane of the capture volume.
  2. Place a calibration square inside the capture volume. Position the square so that the vertex marker is placed directly over the desired global origin.
  3. Orient the calibration square so that the longer arm is directed towards the desired +Z axes and the shorter arm is directed towards the desired +X axes of the volume. Motive uses the y-up right-hand coordinate system.
  4. Level the calibration square parallel to the ground plane.
  5. (Optional) In the 3D view in Motive, select the calibration square markers. If retro-reflective markers on the calibration square are the only reconstructions within the capture volume, Motive will automatically detect the markers.
  6. Access the Ground Plane tab in the Calibration pane.
  7. While the calibration square markers are selected, click Set Ground Plane from the Ground Plane Calibration Square section.
  8. Motive will prompt you to save the calibration file. Save the file to the corresponding session folder.


Duo/Trio Tracking Bars: The camera calibration is not needed for Duo/Trio Tracking bars. The cameras are pre-calibrated using the fixed camera placements. This allows the tracking bars to work right out of the box without the calibration process. To adjust the ground plane, used the Coordinate System Tools in Motive.

Labeling in Motive. Learn about most up-to-date labeling workflows in the Labeling page.

Set Up a Capture Session

Capture Recordings

In Motive 2.0, each capture will be saved in a Take (TAK) file and related Take files are grouped in session folders. Start your capture by first creating a new Session folder. Create a new folder in the desired directory of the host computer and load the folder onto the Data Management pane by either clicking on the IconAdd.png icon OR just by drag-and-dropping them onto the data management pane. If no session folder is loaded, it will auto-create a session folder (e.g. Session 2017-04-26) on the user documents directory. All of the newly recorded Takes will be saved within the currently selected session folder which will be marked with the DataManagementPane Flag 111.png symbol.

See Also: Motive Basics page.

  • Session folders loaded in the Data Management pane.
  • An example session folder in Windows File Explorer.

Motive Profiles

Motive's software configurations are saved to Motive Profiles (*.motive extension). All of the application-related settings can be saved into the Motive profiles, and you can export and import these files and easily maintain the same software configurations.

Marker Up

Place the retro-reflective markers onto subjects (rigid body or skeleton) that you wish to track. Double-check that the markers are attached securely. For skeleton tracking, open the Builder pane, go to skeleton creation options, and choose a marker set you wish to use. Follow the skeleton avatar diagram for placing the markers. If you are using a mocap suit, make sure that the suit fits as tightly as possible. Motive derives the position of each body segment from related markers that you place on the suit. Accordingly, it is important to prevent the shifting of markers as much as possible. Sample marker placements are shown below.

See Also: Marker Setup page for marker types, or Rigid Body Tracking and Skeleton Tracking page for placement directions.

  • Retroreflective markers placed on a quadrocopter
  • The corresponding rigid body defined in Motive
  • Markers placed for a subject.
  • Markers placements shown for Baseline (41) skeleton shown in the Builder pane.

Define Skeletons and Rigid Bodies


Tip: For creating trackable assets, click the Layout → Create menu item to access the model creation layout.

Create Rigid Body

To define a rigid body, simply select three or more markers in the Perspective View, right-click, and select Rigid Body → Create Rigid Body From Selected. You can also utilize CTRL+T hotkey for creating rigid body assets. You can also use the Builder pane to define the rigid body.

Creating a rigid body using theBuilder pane.

Create Skeleton

To define a skeleton, have the actor enter the volume with markers attached at appropriate locations. Open the Builder pane and select Skeleton and Create. Under the marker set section, select a marker set you wish to use, and a corresponding model with desired marker locations will be displayed. After verifying that the marker locations on the actor correspond to those in the Builder pane, instruct the actor to strike the calibration pose. Most common calibration pose used is the T-pose. The T-pose requires a proper standing posture with back straight and head looking directly forward. Then, both arms are stretched to sides, forming a “T” shape. While in T-pose, select all of the markers within the desired skeleton in the 3D view and click Create button in the Builder pane. In some cases, you may not need to select the markers if only the desired actor is in view.

See Also: Rigid Body Tracking page and Skeleton Tracking page.

  • Creating skeleton assets in Motive. Note that this tutorial video was captured in an older version of Motive. In 2.1, Builder pane will be used for creation, but the general workflow is still the same
  • Using Builder pane to define a skeleton

Record Data


Tip: For recording capture, access the Layout → Capture menu item, or the to access the capture layout

Once the volume is calibrated and skeletons are defined, now you are ready to capture. In the Control Deck at the bottom, press the dimmed red record button or simply press the spacebar when in the Live mode to begin capturing. This button will illuminate in bright red to indicate recording is in progress. You can stop recording by clicking the record button again, and a corresponding capture file (TAK extension), also known as capture Take, will be saved within the current session folder. Once a Take has been saved, you can playback captures, reconstruct, edit, and export your data in a variety of formats for additional analysis or use with most 3D software.

When tracking skeletons, it is beneficial to start and end the capture with a T-pose. This allows you to recreate the skeleton in post-processing when needed.

See Also: Data Recording page.


Data Editing

After capturing a Take. Recorded 3D data and its trajectories can be post-processed using the Data Editing tools, which can be found in the Edit Tools Pane. Data editing tools provide post-processing features such as deleting unreliable trajectories, smoothing select trajectories, and interpolating missing (occluded) marker positions. Post-editing the 3D data can improve the quality of tracking data.


Tip: For data editing, access the Layout → Edit menu item, or the to access the capture layout

General Editing Steps

  1. Skim through the overall frames in a Take to get an idea of which frames and markers need to be cleaned up.
  2. Refer to the Labeling Pane and inspect gap percentages in each marker.
  3. Select a marker that is often occluded or misplaced.
  4. Look through the frames in the Graph View pane, and inspect the gaps in the trajectory.
  5. For each gap in frames, look for an unlabeled marker at the expected location near the solved marker position. Re-assign the proper marker label if the unlabeled marker exists.
  6. Use Trim Tails feature to trim both ends of the trajectory in each gap. It trims off a few frames adjacent to the gap where tracking errors might exist. This prepares occluded trajectories for Gap Filling.
  7. Find the gaps to be filled, and use the Fill Gaps feature to model the estimated trajectories for occluded markers.

Marker Labeling

Unlabeled markers displayed in orange.
Labeled markers displayed in white.

In Motive, captured markers are Reconstructed into 3D coordinates. The reconstructed markers need to be labeled for Motive to distinguish different reconstructions within a capture. Trajectories of annotated reconstructions can be exported individually or used (solved altogether) to track movements of the target subjects. Markers associated with Rigid Bodies and Skeletons are labeled automatically through the auto-labeling process. Note that rigid body and skeleton markers can be auto-labeled both during Live mode (before capture) and Edit mode (after capture). Individual markers can also be labeled, but each marker needs to be manually labeled in post-processing using MarkerSet assets and the Labeling pane. These manual Labeling tools can also be used to correct any labeling errors. Read through the Labeling page for more details in assigning and editing marker labels.

  • Auto-label: Automatically label sets of rigid body markers and skeleton markers using the corresponding asset definitions.
  • Manual Label: Labeling individual markers manually using the Labeling pane, assigning labels defined in the MarkerSet, rigid body, or skeleton assets.

See Also: Labeling page.

Labeling in Motive. Learn about most up-to-date labeling workflows in the Labeling page.

Data Export

  • Tracking data export dialogue window in Motive. CSV export is selected and corresponding export options are listed.

Motive exports reconstructed 3D tracking data in various file formats, and exported files can be imported into other pipelines to further utilize capture data. Supported formats include CSV and C3D for Motive: Tracker, and additionally, FBX, BVH, and TRC for Motive: Body. To export tracking data, select a Take to export and open the export dialog window, which can be accessed from File → Export Tracking Data or right-click on a Take → Export Tracking data from the Data Management pane. Multiple Takes can be selected and exported from Motive or by using the Motive Batch Processor. From the export dialog window the frame rate, measurement scale, and frame range of exported data can be configured. Frame ranges can also be specified by selecting a frame range in the Graph View pane before exporting a file. In the export dialog window, corresponding export options are available for each file format.

See Also: Data Export page.

Data Streaming

Data Streaming in Motive allows you to stream capture data into other applications.

Motive offers multiple options to stream tracking data onto external applications in real-time. Tracking data can be streamed in both Live mode and Edit mode. Streaming plugins are available for Autodesk Motion Builder, Visual3D, The MotionMonitor, Unreal Engine 4, 3ds Max, Maya (VCS), VRPN, and trackd, and they can be downloaded from the OptiTrack website. For other streaming options, the NatNet SDK enables users to build custom client and server applications to stream capture data. Common motion capture applications rely on real-time tracking, and the OptiTrack system is designed to deliver data at an extremely low latency even when streaming to third-party pipelines. Detailed instructions on specific streaming protocols are included in the PDF documentation that ships with the respective plugins or SDK's.

See Also: Data Streaming page and Data Streaming Pane page.