Motion Capture Session April 2006
by Jason Borger
This is a report detailing the April, 2006 fly-casting motion-capture (mo-cap) session, which was held at the Adams Center Gym at the University of Montana in Missoula. In addition to capture involving specific areas of study, the FCI crew also invited a number of other casters to particiapte in order to further enrich the overall biomechanics/medical database. Among those casters was Stann Grater, Chief Fly Fishing Instructor for Orvis. Via Stann, Orvis supplied the FCI with a collection of Zero Gravity rods. The FCI would like to thank both Stann and Orvis for their generous support. The core crew for this capture session included the FCI's "usual supects": Dr. Mike Hahn (MSU-Biomechanics/FCI Research Director), Dr. Tim McCue (Head Team Physician-University of Montana/FCI Medical Director) and myself, as well as MSU post-grad student Josh Allen (who has done some great fly-casting research and skeletal modeling since this project first began).
One of the best aspects of this mo-cap session was the Adams Center itself. The big gym allowed for true full-line casting, which was something that had been more difficult to achieve in previous mo-cap locations. The gym also had a matte-finish floor and no windows, which made the camera set-up and capture process much easier and faster overall. U of M's Athletic Department was very kind indeed to allow the FCI to have such a great location for so many hours!
In addition to the science and medicine-based aspects of fly-casting research, this session saw the beginning of a documentary on the FCI as part of a graduate video project. Film-maker Rick Smith, from Montana State University, shot large segments of the capture session in HD for future intergration into a completed video. If the quality of his shots are any indication, it will be a really nice piece. Rick also joined the FCI for its June 2006 Clinic, where he shot significantly more footage and ran a series of interviews with Clinic participants.
Local news media also taped some of the mo-cap, and did interviews focusing of the FCI's reserach and how it realtes to understanding casting as a whole and the stress/injury patterns seen in both amateur and professional anglers. Not exactly your normal "sports center" report....
The FCI's casting database is maturing, and more abstracts, papers and articles are now available or on the way. Some data in this April session was used as supporting information in an article entitled, "The Rod and the Cast" (Løvoll and Borger, 2006), which is being published in several languages in fly-fishing magazines worldwide. Further data from various capture sessions has been integrated into a recent paper by Josh ("Upper Extremity Kinematic Trends of Fly-Casting: Establishing the Effects of Line Length"). The FCI hopes to have a PDF version of Josh's paper on this site in the future.
Another benefit of a maturing database, and the related software, is the ability to compare multiple casters all at once, in skeletal form. A number of the casters from the April session were re-built as skeletons in the mo-cap sofware and then placed in a row on the digital casting platform. By doing this, one caster can serve as a "control," while the others serve as comparative studies of form, or one caster can be shown casting at multiple distances simultaneously, or....there are many possibilities.
One of the next steps for the FCI is to publish several articles on the cast itself--the internal workings of hauls, thrusts, extreme rod rotation and other focused aspects of more advanced fly casting. These articles may appear on this site, in magazines and as part of other collaborative efforts. We will keep you updated as information becomes available.
Photos by Jason Borger, Dr. Tim McCue and the University of Montana (courtesy of Cary Shimek).