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Camera Tracker Review

CreativeCOW presents Camera Tracker Review -- Adobe After Effects Review


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The main purpose for any motion tracker software is to add elements to scenes that weren't there in the original shot. Unlike AE's multi-point 2D motion tracker, The Foundry's CameraTracker creates a virtual 3D camera in AE that matches the motion of the actual camera used in the scene.

With my Canon 7D I shot some test clips in my backyard to put the CameraTracker through its paces. I had a lot of fun testing out The Foundry's CAMERATRACKER for After Effects®. With this powerful software, you can now track and match the 3D camera motion of your clips inside the AE environment.

The CameraTracker works as a three step process. The first step is to "Track Features" in the scene. The Foundry's tracking method is very sophisticated in analyzing the scene with many track points. It will take a few minutes for the tracker to analyze forward and backward through the scene.


Camera Track Image
Click on photo above to view larger image.





The next step is to "Solve Camera". If you know your camera's film back size & lens focal length, you can input these parameters under the solve twirl-down. CameraTracker gets pretty close -- even if you don't know these variables.

I didn't know the film back parameters of my Canon 7D, so I thought it might be helpful to see a list of the most popular cameras as a pull-down for easy selection. Then you could simply type in the lens you used.

The next step is to "Create Scene". This button creates a virtual camera and a camera null based on the solve. You can toggle between 2D overlay and 3D representation of the tracker points in the AE environment. This is helpful to move your scene to the ground plane and setting the ground plane origin so that everything lines up properly. The video tutorials by The Foundry's Jack Binks clearly explain these steps.


Camera Track Image 4
Click on photo above to view larger image.


Depending on the complexity of your scene, you might hit a home run with the first tracking pass without any tracker refinement. If not, the later training videos describe refining the track which includes cleaning-up erroneous tracker points and masking techniques for moving areas of the scene, such as actors, birds or oceans that can throw off the tracker. You can also correct for lens distortion.


Camera Track Image 1
Click on photo above to view larger image.





Now comes the fun of placing objects, titles or other motion graphics elements in the scene.

I created three scenes for my tests. In the stairs scene, I simply glued some text to the one of the surfaces. There was a little drift to the object, so I refined the track a bit, and repositioned it until it was perfect.


Raw video clip: Stairs Clean

Treated video clip: Stairs with bullets




I realized that gluing text to a surface was something I could probably do with AE's corner pin tracker, so I added some bullet holes with trailing smoke. I was amazed at how well it stuck to the surface with the perspective reacting perfectly with the camera movement.


Comments

Re: Camera Tracker Review
by Tom Daigon
Camera Tracker crashes continuously on the new HP Z820 computers running Win 7. The Foundry cant seem to fix the problem.DO NOT BUY without first testing on your system. Especially the new Sandy Bridge EP computers.

Tom Daigon
PrP / After Effects Editor
http://www.hdshotsandcuts.com




(Best viewed at 1080P and full screen)
HP Z820 Dual 2687
64GB ram
Dulce DQg2 16TB raid
Re: Camera Tracker Review
by Bill ONeil
Eric,

I don't remember what the solve number was. It doesn't have to be perfect. You could tweak it all day to arrive at a low number but most of the time it's not really necessary.

Bill
Re: Camera Tracker Review
by Bill ONeil
Mocha is another great tracking tool but I was referring to the "perspective corner pin" in the motion tracker which works pretty well for simple tasks.
@Bill ONeil
by Eric Kirk
Thanks Bill,

I was actually not even aware of that. I also have that RG Warp. I guess it could be used as well?

I think the test shot you did is fantastic too with the little bullets and smoke. They stick there really well.

Do you recall what the solve was on pixels? I've been trying to keep things at 1 or under and just wondering what people consider the standard?

Thanks,
Eric

Eric D. Kirk
http://www.kirkproductions.com
Re: Camera Tracker Review
by Eric Kirk
Hello,

I purchase this camera tracker based on your review and a little more research. It really is fantastic. Just one question, when you say you used AEs corner pin feature, are you referring to the Mocha for AE?

Thanks,

Eric

Eric D. Kirk
http://www.kirkproductions.com
Re: Camera Tracker Review
by Bill ONeil
Hi Eric,

I've never played with SynthEyes but I see that it is a stand-alone application. The Foundry's CameraTracker will work inside of After Effects. Check their site for pricing.

Bill O'Neil
Re: Camera Tracker Review
by Eric Kirk
Bill,

This looks very nice! So, is this tracker similar to what you would find in SynthEyes? Is there any comparison? Also, where do you buy this and how much is this tracker?

Appreciate the feedback.

Eric

Eric D. Kirk
http://www.kirkproductions.com
Re: Camera Tracker Review
by michael ojok
Dear Bill.
i am a multimedia student at Makerere University, i know the basics of after effect and would like to know it beyond the basics but how lecturer is not committed so i signed up at Creativecow.com today i enjoyed your explanation but they all seem new to me, how can you help me God bless you.

Michael Ojok
Makerere University
Kampala, Uganda
@michael ojok
by Bill ONeil
Hello Michael,

You're in the right place. CreativeCow forums are the best on the net for all things creative. Visit the After Effects forums or check out the many tutorials available here. If you have specific questions, there are always talented people willing to help out. Good luck!

Bill O'Neil

Re: Camera Tracker Review
by Arvin Bautista
CameraTracker was able to solve shots with little to no finessing that both Syntheyes and Boujou gave me trouble on. Still nothing perfect on the first shot, but MUCH smoother workflow from what I'm seeing so far.

Arvin Bautista
Greasy Pig Studios
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.greasypigstudios.com
Re: Camera Tracker Review
by Neal Barenblat
It seems great - can you export the track data to a 3D application?
@Neal Barenblat
by Bill ONeil
Here's what The Foundry says about exporting camera Tracker data with the AE plug-in:

We don't support import directly within the plug-in simply because there's some good free AE scripts out there to do such export, and adding such functionality in the plug-in would've meant a substantial chunk of work (and maintenance) which would've driven up the cost of the plug-in.
For Cinema 4D check out the AEtoC4D script here:

http://aenhancers.com/viewtopic.php?t=653

Mark Leonard covered use of the CameraTracker with this script and Cinema4D in his two part tutorial over on AETuts+:

http://ae.tutsplus.com/tutorials/workflow/overview-of-the-foundrys-new-came...

Re: Camera Tracker Review
by Tom Daigon
I love Cameratracker. When used with Particular it opens up lots of very cool visual possibilities. I also have Syntheyes which is very capable as well, but a bit more expensive. And Cameratracker (since it is a plug in) is a part of the AE project which I really like a lot.

Avid DS / FCP / After Effects Editor
http://www.hdshotsandcuts.com


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