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AR markers for tracking performers?

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Hilary Tsai
AR markers for tracking performers?
on May 25, 2018 at 7:37:47 am
Last Edited By Hilary Tsai on May 25, 2018 at 7:38:55 am

I was looking into Blacktrax for tracking performers and projecting real-time graphics on/around them, as they move around on stage. However, Blacktrax is a multi-thousand dollar solution geared toward corporations. I'm just an aspiring VJ/motion designer, and am looking to test this out in clubs with live bands. Someone on the forum suggested Augmented Reality markers, or "fiduciary markers." However, I am not sure exactly how those can be adapted for projecting in real time. Has anyone here used AR markers for a similar purpose? I'm also unsure of which software would lend itself most to this kind of thing; I've looked at Processing and Unity, but one requires too much code, and the other doesn't support AR. I've recently begun exploring Smode and Notch as real time renderers--but again, not sure how to integrate AR markers or if those would even support it. I guess this is vague, but I'm wondering if you all have combined AR and projection before. If so, what software did you use, and how did you the AR with projection?


Thanks!


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Walter Soyka
Re: AR markers for tracking performers?
on May 25, 2018 at 11:03:30 am

Real-time tracking systems are complex and expensive. I don't think there are any low-cost options similar to Blacktrax on the market.

I'm not sure that AR markers will work for your case, given lighting conditions and the camera lensing you'd likely be using. Maybe the talent could wear an AR marker t-shirt, but it would require experimentation.

Other technical options that will require some DIY:
1) Try infrared cameras with blob tracking.
2) Try Kinect depth-sensing cameras.

Two potential budget options:
1) Build a position controller into your real-time system, and manually track the talent, just like a follow spot operator would.
2) Choreograph the act. The visuals can still be realtime, but you can pre-plan where on stage specific things will happen.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Hilary Tsai
Re: AR markers for tracking performers?
on May 27, 2018 at 7:56:44 am

Thanks Walter!

I am now looking to using Perception Neuron trackers instead of AR. I hadn't even realized that in a dark setting, the camera wouldn't recognize the markers. I'm so glad you caught that before I wasted a lot of time!


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Mark Suszko
Re: AR markers for tracking performers?
on Jun 6, 2018 at 8:02:25 pm

IR LED's can be worn and tracked by cameras in any light conditions. There used to be an automated tracking PTZ camera system that tracked the speaker walking the stage by an IR emitter in the hand-held mic or by a clip-on IR pendant.

Give the tracker three LED's to track on the talent, and three static ones on the set, and that might be enough for the projection mapping to target?


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