I wasted $4000 on a Rokoko Mocap Suit

August 22, 2021


In this video I will share some dramatic insights about the Rokoko Smart Suit that I got while using the suit the last couple of month. And don't ask me, why no-one else on the internet is talking about that.

Probably the reason for that is that this video here is the only piece of content about the Rokoko that is not sponsored.

For example this article here by nofilmschool.com can’t be unpaid. You find this article very fast if you go and search on google for “Rokoko Smart Suit” or “Rokoko Smartsuit” or “Rokoko Mocap suit” or “Rokoko motion capture suit”.

This article is the reason why I wasted more than 4000 Dollar on a Rokoko Smart Suit. They say 

“If you’re on a shoestring budget and okay with A A quality mocap the Perception Neuron can be a good choice. However, if you need quick setup and near-AAA quality mocap, but are still budget conscious, the Rokoko Smartsuit is a great choice.”

AAA quality mocap!!!

I read this I saw some videos on youtube and I thought. Wow! This must be an amazing mocap suit.

In this video I want to share the experience I made with the suit in the last couple of month and reveal a lot of things that I would have loved to kno w before I bought the suit.

I hope that I can help you to set the correct expectations and make educated decisions if the Rokoko is for you or not.

And I think this is the first thing we should begin with. 

Expectations

After researching and watching all kinds of tutorials from Matt Workmann, Rokoko, Reallusion an other youtubers my expectations were that I can put on the suit, make a calibration pose, stream the Mocap data from the rococo studio software to iclone and then to Unreal Engine via live link and record my motion capture directly with take recorder in unreal engine.

Everything from my small room at home. The same way as Sam from Rokoko who makes the official Rokoko Tutorials.

And I mainly wanted to record dancers and artist performances.

People who have experience with full performance motion capture are now probably laughing about my expectations and that I wanted to record dance performances with an intertia mocap suit.

And my whole journey would have probably been not so frustrating if I had the right expectations right from the beginning.

If you are wondering why I say that wasted 4000 Dollar that’s because I also got the gloves, the facial mocap system, the Virtual Production add on and also had to spend money on an additional WiFi router and steam VR cameras & HTC vive trackers. So all in all it was about $6000.

And I still don’t  get the results I was hoping for. And I‘m testing and testing and optimizing now for a couple of month. 

So let me be clear the Rokoko smart suit is a very fun piece of technology. It comes with a 30 day money back guarantee and I still have it. I love it. But it’s not triple A quality. Also not close. And you have to put in more time, effort and space than they say. It’s not that easy, you can not do everything you think. But it’s fun. It’s a lot of fun. 

With this expectations you will have a great time with the suit. And it’s definitely worth it.

But you should be aware of a couple of things that I will share with you now here.

So let’s go on with my story.

Before I got the suit my dreams already got destroyed after watching this video here by Ron Ducats who by the way is sponsored by Rokoko competitor Xsense.

But it’s not because of what he said in his video, but what Rokoko answered in the comment section.

You have to clean up the motion using filters within Rokoko Studio to get the best results.

So that already destroyed my dream of live streaming to unreal engine and recording there with take recorder.

But I thought ok. Just one more step. Then I record in Rokoko Studio Software first, apply the filter there real quick and then record the clean date with Take Recorder. That should be fine for me. 

So I bought the suit for 2500 Dollar and the gloves for 1000 Dollar and the Rokoko Phone Mount for 95 Dollar. It looks very nice how it comes. In beautiful matt black finishes. Looks very high quality.

I ordered the batteries ahead which don’t come with the suit. But that’s fine. I got them for another 20 or 30 bucks or so.

And I decided to go with the Reallusion character creator 3 and iclone pipeline which means that I create my characters in character creator which is much more flexible than metahuman, one click export to iclone for animation. These characters there are then already rigged and Rokoko and Reallusion have these pipeline that the bones and everything is already setup and good to go. Please note that you have to spend around 2000 -3000 Dollar for iclone and character creator with all the needed plugins. It’s not just 200 Dollars how it looks at first sight. You also need the motion live plugin, the Rokoko Profile, 3dXchange, life face profile and the iclone live link plugin. But this is a topic of another video.

Ok, so the pipeline was ready, easy and clear. That’s great. I highly recommend this pipeline. Also if you plan to use metahuman instead of character creator.

I got into the suit, made my calibration pose and started my first recording.

This feeling was incredible!

Beeing in a Mocap suit is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It’s just so much fun playing another character even if it’s just the Rokoko mannequin.

So that looked great and I was the happiest person in the world.

So I let my girlfriend know that I was ready to record the next day.

She is an artist and dancer and I told her to prepare the choreography for the next day that we will record then.

So the next day was there.

I followed Rokokos instructions to remove all metal pieces in the room, double checked using an app they recommended to make sure there is no magnetic interferences and also turned off all my WiFi devices. iPhone, iPad, laptop, HomePod, iRobot.

Only my PC and Rokoko were turned on and close by.

So everyone was ready. Record. Go.

But what’s that? The recording was all over the place. Not just slightly or some issues, but completely broken.

Legs were jumping around. The arms and hands were going through the body. 

I was shocked.

But the next moment I thought. Ah, ok. No we have to apply the filters.

So. Filters applied. It looked different, but still all over the place.

So I send a message to Rokoko. The support was very kind and asked me to send my recording over to them so that they can have a look at it.

So I did this and unfortunately it turned out that I still had a lot of magnetic interference in my recording. Although I cleaned up my space, turned off all other devices and check the space using the recommended app.

So it must have had to do with my environment.

The only problem was I was living in an apartment building in the middle of Los Angeles.

Rokoko support gave me the advice to get a dedicated WiFi router that has a lot of power. So I got an Asus AC 3100 for $200.

3 days later I was ready for the next shoot.

This time I also checked that the sensors in the Rokoko Software and made sure that they were all turned green. That means the magnetic interference should be ok. 

So we recorded with seemingly better signal.

But unfortunately no difference in our results. Still bad recording quality.

Again I sent a message to Rokoko. They again checked my recording file and confirmed this time magnetic interference was ok.

I was happy that I did’t had to move into another place.

But this time I got an explanation that inertia mocap suits like the Rokoko need foot contact to the floor to work properly and won’t get the same results as other suits with optical systems can get.

The inertia Mocap suit has no idea where it is in the room. It only knows the inertia and rotation of the bones.

The suit has no idea if the character goes up the stairs and also can not record this or if the character is jumping and in the air. 

I nearly lost my mind.

As part of nearly each dance choreography my girlfriend is dancing there were jumping scenes, rotations on the tiptoes, stretching a leg and sliding on the tiptoe. So that means no food contact to the floor.

And that meant that all that wouldn’t be possible with the Rokoko.

That meant for what I got the Rokoko I can not use it for.

The 30 days of my money back guarantee we’re already over. But at the same time I wanted to get this to work so badly.

So I did some more research and found out that the virtual production add on could help me.

This add on would mean that I should get 2 Htc vive trackers and at least 2 steam vr cameras and this system would be connected to the Rokoko which would give it the missing optical information. This way the Rokoko suddenly knows where it is in the room. It should make it possible to go up the stairs climb on a stool, dance and jump in the air.

After double checking with the Rokoko support, this should work.

So I ordered the whole system for another 1200 Dollar.

After a couple of days everything was there and I was good to go.

But unfortunately this next recording session was the worst of my entire Mocap journey. Nothing made sense anymore.

So I hit up the Rokoko support.

This time I got some help that I should be using the legacy filter and make some other changes to the filters.

That helped and for the first time my dance recordings started to make more sense and looked better.

I was very happy and relieved.

But there were still some issues with the arms especially when they were touching the body or the head.

Just a couple of days ago I accidentally read in a Facebook group or in a YouTube comment section that this a natural part of any inertia mocap suit. I have no idea if this is true. I can see that getting close to my head with my hands never works for me, but I haven’t talk to Rokoko Support about that yet.

So there is only one issue left.

And to understand that I have to explain my recording process a little more.

My process today is to record facial animation in iclone first. Then I record  body Mocap in Rokoko studio software. Then clean this recording within Rokoko Studio with their built in filters. Then import the body Mocap into iclone and synchronized it with the previous facial animation. Make futher adjustments to the body animation in iclone especially to arms and head. Because most of the time my arms are to close to my body and my head is tilted to much forward.

But I can easily change this in iclone. Then I bring all this data into unreal engine.

Since I tend to make very long Mocap recordings. Around 10min long. This import export process can take a couple of hours.

So you can already see that this process takes much longer than my original expectations.

As a side note but not underestimated you should know that you can not do the full body recording in Rokoko Studio and then import this to iclone with their Rokoko to iclone pipeline. You can only transfer body and hands. Not face. Yes it’s also not possible with the plugin you bought for this for around 2000 dollar. But this is also part of my upcoming iclone video.

Let’s go on with my last issue.

I recently realized when I was using the Metahuman hair  on my character creator characters in Unreal Engine. That the hair is jittering. Like as if the motion of my head was not so smooth. But before I thought it is smooth. In Rokoko Studio and iclone it looked good.

But I found out that it probably isn’t there smooth as well, I just didn’t realize it. Because there is just black background that makes noticing jitter hard to see. Also I wasn’t making a close up shot in Rokoko Studio and in iclone, but was only seeing the full body.

So that means my recordings still have jittering although I’m applying the filters in Rokoko Studio.

It’s probably because I still have issues with my environment.

But it’s probably also because it’s an inertia mocap suit. And what I know today but didn’t know before all this is that nearly every mocap recording needs to be clean up. And this is tedious, time consuming and not fun work to do. And I want to avoid this in any case.

So I decided to try another tip from Rokoko and go outside to record.

But before I went into the heat outside I decided to set up the WiFi in my apartment. The Rokoko Suit has the ability to create a wifi that your laptop can connect then to. Great!

Ok, so let’s connect the gloves next. Mmmh but but how?

Message to Rokoko.

Rokoko’s reply:

Unfortunately using the hotspot feature with SmartSuit Pro and Smartgloves connected is not supported yet.

We recommend using a portable WiFi router for outside testing if you want to use SmartSuit Pro and Smartgloves connected together.

So this is where I am now.

I ordered the portable wifi router which takes some time to get right now caused to shortages.

But I’m determined.

I’m determined and addicted.

Addicted to Motion Capture.

Guys, don’t get me wrong. Although all these issue I still love my Rokoko Mocap Suit. It’s just fun. Motion Capture is probably the best thing that can happen to every boy and every girl.

And compared to other mocap solutions the Rokoko is pretty affordable. But I wasn’t aware about that. I didn’t know that Mocap suits used to cost you 20,000 Dollars or even 150,000 Dollars. So the Rokoko is so much cheaper and it’s clear that it can’t be as good as a 20,000 Dollar suit.

But I think the possibilities and limitations should be communicated much better and this is why I made this video. If you have the right expectations it’s definitely fun. And it’s definitely worth it to get a Rokoko. 

Also stay tuned for my outside testing. I will record the video as soon as I have the outside router. So make sure to subscribe that you do not miss this one.

Last but not least if you want to learn more about making movies, music videos or Vtuber videos like me using Unreal Engine, I have a free virtual production class for you. You get also some characters and animations to play around  with. The link is in the description below. Thanks so much for watching  and I look forward to see you there!

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