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WesM
12-13-2003, 10:35 AM
Hey Guys,

I am looking for a way to track a live-action camera shot and apply that move to my LW camera without using expensive tracking software.

I have looked into a few options like using ICARUS software (last I checked was free and had an OSX beta coming) or using some plugins to get camera data from LW to After Effects. I want to shoot live-action and composite cg into the live action scene. In the last issue of Keyframe magazine, I read the interview with Dan Ablan. He talked about a job where he had to track some video and he did the track manually in LW! Does anyone know how to do this or have had some experience with tracking in LW? I would greatly appreciate some tips!

Thanks,

Wes

toby
12-13-2003, 02:27 PM
It's so much easier if you're going to shoot the video yourself - put markers in your (real life) scene and record their distance from the camera and height off the ground, record the camera lens settings, lock down the camera whenever possible, record the start and end angles if you need to pan, the height of the camera on the tri-pod, and anything else you can think of - the more data you have the easier it will be, and it can be a BEE-AATCH, even with tracking software.

As for tracking in LW, it involves putting nulls where you see a marker (and at the right distance) and moving the camera so that the nulls follow the markers.

WesM
12-13-2003, 04:31 PM
Hey Toby,

Thanks for the info! Thats what I was looking for. Sounds like a lot of tedious boring work though.

Thanks,
wes

toby
12-13-2003, 04:59 PM
I don't think it would be too bad if you had all that info about the footage - I tried it with footage off the web and it was frame by agonizing frame and had to use details in the image as markers -

btw - you should also shoot non-interlaced video if at all possible

marble_sheep
12-14-2003, 09:31 AM
I have experience with Icarus, and for a free software it does it's job surprisingly well. Unfortunately, it ceased to be available as free software in March. The technology was bought out by The Pixel Farm and is now a rather pricey commercial software. I have an old copy of the software from back when it was free, but I'm not sure if it would be legal to give that to anyone. Just a heads-up... matching video frame by frame is tedious and frustrating (I've had to do it several times) and rarely yeilds perfect results. Toby's advice about tracking using nulls is probably the best way to go without external software.

Good luck in your venture! Like I said, I've had to do it several times so I will try to help in whatever way I can!

Darth Mole
12-14-2003, 03:15 PM
Icarus is now PFTrack (currently v1.1 but to be updated again very soon). I've been using it recently and it's very good - and improving all the time. However it's now 3000($5000) - sadly, anything as clever (and niche) as this doesn't come cheap.

Same goes for RealViz's Matchmover 3 Pro, though that's now $7499. And Boujou is something horrific like 15 grand - though you can hire it for specific jobs.

marble_sheep
12-14-2003, 03:46 PM
Actually... Boujou can be had for around 10g.... but yeah, still not cheap... and definitely the most expensive of the three. They do, however, have a "lite" version which has the same features but is limited to broadcast resolution.

WesM-- is this for a personal project or for a paying gig and/or company job? If you were making money off of the project, you might be able to write the expense off, if you felt like the payoff would be worth it and if you were going to do it more in the future.