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Smoothing a 3D Camera Solve - Smooth Expression Causing Bugs or Just Not Cutting It

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Kristopher Wile
Smoothing a 3D Camera Solve - Smooth Expression Causing Bugs or Just Not Cutting It
on May 31, 2018 at 9:14:57 pm
Last Edited By Kristopher Wile on May 31, 2018 at 9:16:19 pm


I am working on a project for a client where they have purchased a stock shot where the camera is high above a shipping container facility looking directly down on the facility. The camera then zooms or pulls back while rotating. The effect does cause some parallax, but I believe it's a combination of both the practical camera move and then some post-production manipulation as well. Every so often, a car will move very quickly through the shot (it's sped up too, I believe), but they're very small and gone in a flash due to the overhead angle of the camera and distance from the subject. Otherwise, there should be plenty of good tracking features (lots of different colored rectangular shapes, etc).

The goal of the shot in the client's project is to track a text call out onto the shot and have it move, scale, etc. with the movement in the shot.

When I do the camera solve in After Effects using the 3D camera tracker, I set it to auto-detect (it usually goes with a tripod solve, for obvious reasons) and also set it to a variable zoom (although I tried with the fixed focal length option as well).

The track it produces is fairly good - the text sticks to the location and scales appropriately as the camera pulls out. For an out of the box solve, not bad.

My issue is that the 3D solve introduces some jitter in the camera orientation that is definitely noticeable. It's not so much slippage as it is fluctuating values which are noticeable. I tried to solve this by adding a smooth expression to the orientation, however it doesn't help fix it and instead actually causes weird bugs, like the text disappearing for a few frames and then reappearing, etc.

I tried doing a planar track in Mocha, but when I important the tracking data, I saw major slippage happening.

The source shot itself is 4K and scaled down to comp size in a 1080p comp. Wondering if that may have something to do with the tracking data from Mocha not working.

Any advice on how to clean up this track? Getting frustrated with it and it's a bit time sensitive due to client deadlines. Right now it's just not clean enough for a final deliverable.


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Kalleheikki Kannisto
Re: Smoothing a 3D Camera Solve - Smooth Expression Causing Bugs or Just Not Cutting It
on Jun 1, 2018 at 6:34:03 am

3D camera tracker is meant for situations where the camera itself moves in space, creating parallax in the tracking points and thus enabling spatial information to be generated. Sounds like the camera doesn't move or moves very little in this shot, so it is not suitable here.

Mocha should indeed work. To simplify matters, you might want to render out (lossless) to full HD before tracking with Mocha, since your final output will be that res.

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer

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