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Delving into camera tracking

June 29, 2013

We recently started working on a new hi profile commercial at PitchiPoy, that includes camera tracking and some VFX with video footage.

We hope to do all tracking inside Blender, and to get into grips with the tracking system, there’s probably no better asset then the Blender Foundation’s “Track, Match, Blend” DVD.

So, even though we have a guy experienced in tracking and VFX over at the studio, a few of us started learning in case the workload and schedule require more than one person to do the tracking. I wanted to get into this for some time now, and am pretty excited and can’t wait to learn all I can about this subject.

Track, Match, Blend (“TMB”) is narrated and demonstrated by blender developer Sebastian Koenig, who does a wonderful job of explaining everything in a very easy paced, clear and understandable manner. I’ll probably write a more in-depth review about the DVD after I finish going over it, but while I’m at it, I’ll be posting some progress videos.

The very first demonstration is of a single tracker following a moving object. in the DVD, it’s Sebastian’s marked finger. The track is then used to create a light trail using particles.

I didn’t want to do exactly the same thing, but didn’t want to stray too far from the source either. So I recorded a short video with my phone camera (Samsung Galaxy S2) of an interesting perforated stone that used to dwell in the sea, and simulated some simple smoke (first time doing that as well) with the emitter tied into the tracker.


Conclusions so far:

1. TMB is awesome. It’s thorough and I feel it’s going to be invaluable for mastering tracking in Blender.

2. Tracking is fairly straightforward and simple. It can be tedious and time consuming though. The tracker at our studio says many dedicated tracking programs have some fairly good auto-tracking that does most of the work for you. Its probably easier but Blender’s tracker great and is getting better fast.

Updated: After some more time with TMB, I can say that it has an awesome auto-tracking system too. It detects features of contrast in the footage, and can auto-track markers as well as any tracker. Our tracking guy was also quite impressed after he finished going over the tutorials in TMB.

3. Smoke is tricky to get right, control and render. I definitely need to work much more on that to improve the fairly basic results I got here.


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