In this paper, we develop and implement a nonlinear model based procedure for the estimation of rigid-body motion via an indirect measurement of an elastic appendage. We demonstrate the procedure by motion analysis of a compound planar pendulum from indirect optoelectronic measurements of markers attached to an elastic appendage that is constrained to slide along the rigid-body axis. We implement a Lagrangian approach to derive a theoretical nonlinear model that consistently incorporates several generalized forces acting on the system. Identification of the governing linear and nonlinear system parameters is obtained by analysis of frequency and damping backbone curves from controlled experiments of the decoupled system elements. The accuracy of the proposed model based procedures is evaluated and its results are compared with those of a previously reported point cluster estimation procedure. Two cases are investigated to yield 1.7% and 3.4% errors between measured motion and its model based estimation for experimental configurations, with a slider mass to pendulum frequency ratios of 12.8 and 2.5, respectively. Motion analysis of system dynamics with the point cluster method reveals a noisy signal with a maximal error of 3.9%. Thus, the proposed model based estimation procedure enables accurate evaluation of linear and nonlinear system parameters that are not directly measured.