19th June 2024

Choosing your mocap setup

Choosing the best Xsens mocap setup is not always as straightforward as we like it to be. Different options, requirements, and challenges will be based on each individual's situation.

This is why we've put together this guideline: to help you make the best decision for your situation.

Did you already make your choice on going forward with Xsens? If not, we have resources available for you to look at, like an overview of comparisons and reviews of motion capture providers by the community and an overview of productions powered by Xsens.

Now that you are convinced Xsens is the best solution, we can help you select the best setup for your specific situation.

In general, you have to make four choices:

  1. What hardware do I need?
  2. What software do I need?
  3. Do I need additional services or hardware?
  4. Are you an Indie?
  5. How do I order?

Let's dive into these three questions one by one.

What Xsens hardware do I need?

Inertial motion capture requires sensors that are attached to the body in order to capture your movements. Xsens has developed a wireless sensors setup (Xsens Awinda) and a tethered sensors setup (Xsens Link). Both setups use 17 sensors, while Xsens Awinda has wireless sensors fitted on the body with adjustable straps that allow for fast, easy, and reliable motion capture. Xsens Link's sensors are fitted on the body through a Lycra suit ensuring even more accurate data recording.

Note: The connection from the body to the computer is always wireless. 

What is the best choice for me, Xsens Link or Xsens Awinda (Starter)?

Choosing between MVN Link and MVN Awinda (Starter) depends on your goal with motion capture. For further inspiration, here is an overview you can use to pick the best hardware for your situation:

MVN Link MVN Awinda (Starter)
For high-impact mocap shoots, like rough fights When you have several actors using the same setup
Large groups of motion capture (with OBR) Ideal for regular motions, nothing too rough
When using positional aiding (GPS/HTV Vive) Can be worn over your regular clothing
When you need a large range (up to 150 m) The range is 20 to 50 m
 When you need high framerates (240 Hz) Maximum of 60 Hz framerate
Go to Xsens Link product page Go to Xsens Awinda product page


In addition to the Link and Awinda, we have the Awinda Starter. So, in total, we have three different hardware options:

  • Xsens Awinda Starter
    Straps - Wireless Sensors - Short range
    This is the best entry-level hardware option. You get a full-body Awinda set with USB dongle receiver.

  • Xsens Awinda
    Straps - Wireless Sensors - Longer range
    If you need more range, this hardware option is the best fit. You get a full-body Awinda set with a professional Awinda station and charging station.

  • Xsens Link
    Lycra suit - Embedded Sensors - Full options
    Our flagship MVN Link suit gives you an even bigger range, higher update rate and lower latency. It also comes with many extra features such as On-Body Recording and HTC Vive integration.

👉 You can find a detailed overview of all the features and benefits of these three hardware options in this table.


What Xsens software do I need?

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Once you have chosen your hardware, the next step is to determine the software subscription that best suits your goals. Xsens offers three subscription types, each supporting a different use of our motion capture systems. The three types are Xsens Record, Xsens Animate Plus, Xsens Animate Pro.

Xsens Record (free option)
An MVN Record subscription is completely free, but it also has limited capabilities. You can do motion capture with one actor and record the files. By adding MVN Processing on MotionCloud (see additional services) to your subscription, you can export and HD reprocess files in the cloud.

HD Reprocessing (or MVN Processing in the cloud) gives you the best quality motion capture data available in the market. The data is processed using our proprietary HD Reprocessing Engine and takes the motion capture data to a whole new level of accuracy and smoothness.

The MVN Record subscription is ideal if you have multiple systems or systems in multiple locations. You don't need an MVN Animate Plus or Pro subscription for all your systems; you can record the files in MVN Record. And additionally, you can use Xsens MotionCloud to store and process the files.

Do I choose Xsens Animate Plus or Pro?
The main differences between the Animate Plus and Pro subscriptions are based on your intention with motion capture. Consider these questions when making the best choice for the subscription:

  1. Are you streaming live?
    Live streaming is only possible with Xsens Animate Plus and Pro. Live streaming or Vtubing is possible with Animate Plus, and streaming a virtual optical marker set is only available in Animate Pro.

  2. How many actors will you be capturing?
    You can already use Xsens Record for one actor while Animate Plus supports two actors and Animate Pro supports multiple or even unlimited actors if you use On-Body Recording.

  3. Do you want to HD Reprocess your files offline or in the cloud?
    The best quality data comes from our HD Reprocessing engine. If you need to do this offline, then Animate Pro is your only option.
    Xsens Processing on Xsens MotionCloud (see additional services) is possible for all subscriptions.

  4. In what formats do you want to export your files?
    You cannot export files in Xsens Record and Xsens Animate Plus. With Xsens MotionCloud you can export MVNX, FBX and BVH files via the cloud. In Animate Pro you can export locally to MVNX, FBX, BVH and C3D.

  5. Are you using third-party plug-ins?
    Third-party plug-ins from Unreal Engine, Unity and Autodesk are only available for Animate Plus and Pro.

  6. Are you using additional positional aiding?
    Integration with positional aiding hardware such as HTC Vive and GPS is only available in Animate Pro.

  7. Are you using the extra features of the MVN Link suit?
    If you will be using the (Remote) On-Body Recording feature, you need the MVN Animate Pro.

👉 There are more differences; you can find a full overview in this table.

Do I need additional services or hardware?


Your Xsens motion capture setup is now complete for use. However, there are additional services and hardware you might need to optimize your pipeline or add additional data.

Think about these options:

  • Finger Tracking
    Xsens Metagloves by MANUS
    Adding finger tracking is possible with the MVN Gloves by MANUS which have a native integration in all subscriptions. More about the Xsens Metagolves gloves here.
    Xsens Prime 3 by Manus
    Convey every single emotion through precise finger movement tracking, fully and natively integrated with Xsens mocap. More about the Prime 3 here.
    You can integrate finger tracking with StretchSense in MVN Animate Plus and Pro.

  • Xsens Processing on MotionCloud
    Xsens Processing is our cloud-based solution for storing, editing, and processing motion capture files. It enables teams to collaborate remotely. You can batch-process multiple files without wasting PC processing power and time.
    MotionCloud is available as a free 14-days trial for all Xsens customers. This enables you to upload and process an unlimited number of files.

  • Additional or replacement mocap accessories
    You can order additional prop sensors, straps, suits, backup sets, and more in our online shop. Visit our online shop here.

  • HTC Vive base station and trackers
    To use additional positional tracking of actors or objects, you can use HTC Vive. We have an integration available in the MVN Animate Pro subscription. Find out more about how to do the integration here.


Are you an Indie?

For Indie studios we have the Xsens Indie Program, a program to support up-and-coming talent, making it easier to access Hollywood-grade motion capture on a budget. the program is designed to support a more affordable way to bring projects to life, without having to compromise on quality.

The Xsens Indie program is available to you if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You are a new Xsens customer
  2. You have a registered company (CoC, VATno)
  3. Your revenue over the last fiscal year is no more than $550,000 (€500.000)

Reach out to us for further information.

Motion Capture for Animation →


How do I order?

Now that you have been informed about all the different options and features Xsens offers, you are ready to order.

To get this started, click on the button below and fill out your order details. We will provide you with an overview and quote as soon as possible.

Request a quote

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