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Camera Crop/Zoom/Pan in Edit? Like Presto from Red Giant

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Joe Christensen
Camera Crop/Zoom/Pan in Edit? Like Presto from Red Giant
on Jun 15, 2014 at 7:05:27 pm

Hello,

I do a lot of corporate lecture capture at events. Lately we have moved to locked off cameras that are then cropped/zoomed in the edit. It isn't pretty, but works. I'd like to improve quality and it seems like something could be done in the edit to track and frame the presenter.

Is it possible to track a person in editing to keep them properly framed? Currently we can keyframe moves, but it is tedious.

Thanks for any advice you may have!

Joe Christensen
Blaze Streaming Media
Live Online Productions


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Mark Suszko
Re: Camera Crop/Zoom/Pan in Edit? Like Presto from Red Giant
on Jun 16, 2014 at 6:31:32 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Jun 16, 2014 at 6:32:19 pm

Pay for an actual camera operator; gives the best results. Even a teenaged intern at minimum wage does a better job than no operator at all.

Buy one of those automated PTZ tracking camera heads that track a person
based on an i.r.-emitting, pen-like gizmo they wear in their shirt pocket.

I suppose there is security camera software that does live body tracking, but the implementation is likely to be complicated and unreliable. You could look at the Maker community where they share applications that hack the xbox Kinnect live motion tracking system.

I'm old-fashioned, I guess. I believe in a live human camera operator's decision-making ability over software solutions in post. Reducing the "overhead" of human capital is sometimes detrimental to quality. Ask the grocery biz, where they are junking many of the "scan your own groceries" checkouts and going back to using human checkers.


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Joe Christensen
Re: Camera Crop/Zoom/Pan in Edit? Like Presto from Red Giant
on Jun 16, 2014 at 9:04:53 pm

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate that you would solve this differently.

I'm still looking for any answer on how to accomplish this in the edit.

Kind regards,

Joe Christensen
Blaze Streaming Media
Live Online Productions


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Stephen Smith
Re: Camera Crop/Zoom/Pan in Edit? Like Presto from Red Giant
on Jun 17, 2014 at 8:41:23 pm

What software are you using? Also, in addition to what Mark said....It cost a lot more to do this in post then to just do it when shooting.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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Mark Suszko
Re: Camera Crop/Zoom/Pan in Edit? Like Presto from Red Giant
on Jun 19, 2014 at 4:41:17 pm

There are codes doing this in a program called MATLAB, but as far as I know, there is no API to use that tracking to drive the keyframing of a cropped window in an edit timeline. I think the current state of the art in terms of what's available to plug and ply with in your NLE systems, apart from the system you already mentioned, is not there yet, but I'm sure development work is ongoing. To even begin to make this work t the level of what human camera operators do, machine vision prefers high contrast images shot on neutral backgrounds. Stuff you bring in from the field, shot on a locked off wide shot, isn't going to suit the software's needs anyhow. At this stage I think anything you try to do to automate that part of your job is going to take way more time and resources than just eyeballing it and entering the crops and positioning manually.


The easiest place in the chain to attack the problem is not in post, but in the acquisition phase, by using a tracker worn by the presenter to steer an automated PTZ camera head during shooting. That kind of tech is actually quite mature and you'd have several sources commercially. Or, you could hack something if you were handy, using an IR tracker or PTZ driver software that uses stereo shotgun mics to detect and track where the speaker is.


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erik cantu
Re: Camera Crop/Zoom/Pan in Edit? Like Presto from Red Giant
on Sep 5, 2014 at 4:47:18 pm

I'm pretty aware of what all is out there, and I haven't hear of anything like that software wise. I could see being able to do some simple motion tracking in AE and attaching that to a virtual camera, but for long durations like a speaker on a stage, I imagine the tracker would loose its track enough time that you may prefer to animate the virtual camera by hand! Some rough tweening would probably be all you need.
I did see that you were really looking for a post-production solution, but I would recommend looking into the Soloshot. Your talent would just keep a tracker on them, and the camera would automatically pan with their movement. Always best to get it right in camera, then struggle to make it right in post.



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Paul Trebilco
Re: Camera Crop/Zoom/Pan in Edit? Like Presto from Red Giant
on Mar 3, 2015 at 5:21:28 pm

Hi All,

I've seen some cool concepts and techniques discussed on this and other forums related to automated action tracking capture platforms like soloshot and some others.

I have been working on a vision based video tracking application prototype which can track subjects or activity with a wide angle or 360 degree cam, in real-time. At a wide angle, we capture at a higher resolution than needed for the finished product and crop/pan in software centering the subject. With 360, we can track a target infinitely around the point of capture. The feed can be processed in real-time so you could potentially throw the output up on a live screen. By in-line processing this way we can eliminate a gimbal or mechanical tracking platform altogether.

Here is a demo of a static camera capturing boxing activity.




This is a prototype, so the motion action is not that smooth, but it proves the concept in that it successfully ignored the distractions outside the center of action. It was captured on a 7dmarkii at 1080p/30fps, and the output was 854x480. The prototype could process 4k video as a feed and output 1080p@30fps

There is no product yet, but I'd like to understand who would be the potential users of something like this.


I thought one use would be video capture at events, which is why this topic caught my eye. You could use this as a primary or secondary feed, and cut back and forth. With no operator or additional hardware, there is a lot more flexibility with camera position. You could even pull out multiple, simultaneous feeds from different areas of the input frame.

http://www.motiontrack.me


Please feel free to comment or advise me on some use cases for something like this.

Thanks!


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