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Creating a "movement map" still image from footage.

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Rory Cotter
Creating a "movement map" still image from footage.
on Mar 29, 2017 at 2:12:03 am

I am working on a project based on body language and I would like to convert footage of politicians making speeches into a still image which shows where most of the movement in the footage takes place.

Ideally it would be a heatmap-style image.

Is there a way to do this without any expensive plugins?


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Creating a "movement map" still image from footage.
on Mar 30, 2017 at 12:02:37 pm

You could track parts of the body (hands, head...) then animate shapes on top using the track data, precompose and use Echo or another Time plugin to create the areas of movement.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Darby Edelen
Re: Creating a "movement map" still image from footage.
on Apr 2, 2017 at 10:20:24 pm

The only way I know of to generate motion vectors data that can be visualized in After Effects is using Re:vision FX's Twixtor:

http://revisionfx.com/products/twixtor/after-effects/

However, it sounds like you don't need vectors but just an approximation of the amount of movement. In which case you might try applying these effects in this order:

1) The Time Difference effect set to Absolute Difference
2) A blur effect
3) An optional Levels effect (to control the minimum amount of 'motion' detected)
4) The tint effect
5) The Echo effect
6) The Colorama effect


This will not produce as accurate a picture of the motion as an actual optical flow method like Twixtor but it should give an approximation.

This will only work well with a locked down camera and is also susceptible to noise in the source footage (the blur helps some).

Darby Edelen


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