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Create a path over an aerial video of mountains?

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Susan Dempster
Create a path over an aerial video of mountains?
on Nov 11, 2009 at 6:08:54 pm

I'm new to After Effects - I'm not sure if this is even possible...

I have an aerial video of a mountainous region that I want to draw a winding pathway over. I have GPS coordinates for this pathway, and can reference this in google earth software. Is there a relatively straightforward way to create this pathway over all the hills and mountains, without having to draw frame by frame (Which is just about the only way I can think to do this in Final Cut)

Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly helpful!!!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Create a path over an aerial video of mountains?
on Nov 11, 2009 at 6:35:21 pm

[Susan Dempster] "I have an aerial video of a mountainous region that I want to draw a winding pathway over."

Aerial Video? I doubt this is a rock-solid, locked-down shot, which compounds your problems.

Before we can offer up any kind of workable solution, we're going to need more information. Can you describe what you see when you look at this video... particularly the camera motion you have to deal with?

But if what I fear turns out to be correct, this little project of yours ain't for the faint of heart. Or AE rookies, for that matter.

Dave's Stock Answer #2:

When you're out on a shoot, and you say, "we'll fix this in post" without knowing PRECISELY HOW you're going to fix it in post, don't shoot it! You'll only end up shooting it over again.

Since post typically costs three times the cost of production, fixing something in post is not a way to save money, but rather a way to spend more of it.

And, before you say "well fix it in post," always consider who's doing the work, especially if you're the one doing the editing.


Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Susan Dempster
Re: Create a path over an aerial video of mountains?
on Nov 11, 2009 at 7:01:31 pm

Hi Dave,

Thanks so much for the response!

This isn't really a situation of "Fix it in Post"... it's more like one idea that morphed into another...

The initial project was to have an aerial fly-over of the proposed pathway. (The camera view isn't entirely fixed, but for the most part, it does follows the curvature of the path. The angle is looking forward and slightly down.)

Initially, the client could view the footage next to GPS data in Google Earth and make observations about the impact the path would have on the geography. That worked as intended. Now, however, the desire is to have the pathway overlaid onto the video... so the client doesn't have to keep going back and forth between the footage and the Mapping software.

If this is even possible (esp for a rookie!) what kind of time-frame would I be considering... in relative terms?





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Jim Dodson
Re: Create a path over an aerial video of mountains?
on Nov 11, 2009 at 6:41:30 pm

Drawing a path over some video is as simple as crating a Mask using bezier points to make the shape and curves you desire then adding the "Generate-->stroke" effect to that mask.

It only gets complicated if there is motion in your video -- if that is the case you would need to motion track your footage to keep your stroked mask locked to your footage...

So question 1:

Is there motion in your video?

Question #2:

Am I understanding your needs correctly?

Jim Dodson

8 Core Intel -- Mac - OSX


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Susan Dempster
Re: Create a path over an aerial video of mountains?
on Nov 11, 2009 at 7:08:39 pm

Hi Jim,

Yes, there is constant motion in the video. It was shot from a helicopter moving forward over the proposed path at roughly 50 mph. The landscape is constantly changing due to the perspective (for example, the hills get bigger as you get closer, and so on.)

Please forgive my ignorance - I've only dabbled in AE... If I can determine that my desired outcome is actually possible, I realize I'll need to spend a lot of time learning how to use the software better...


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Eric Holzapfel
Re: Create a path over an aerial video of mountains?
on Aug 10, 2010 at 6:01:34 pm

Hello Jim,

This is what I want to do. Draw a path, but over a non-moving image. You mention bezier points.
Is this in FCP or AE or Motion or?? I am using FCP to create a travel film (stills and video), and want
to trace over roads on a map.

Thanks for great forum support,

Eric
Charybdis and Scylla Productions

Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects, Photoshop


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Jim Dodson
Re: Create a path over an aerial video of mountains?
on Aug 10, 2010 at 10:23:11 pm

I was suggesting you use bezier points in After Effects.

Jim Dodson

8 Core Intel -- Mac - OSX


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Create a path over an aerial video of mountains?
on Nov 11, 2009 at 7:03:38 pm

I just read your more elaborate description of this "path" on the FCP forum:

"I have 1 hour of aerial footage of a mountainous region. I want to add a line to represent a future road, and use this as an overlay on the video. The line would need to look 3-dimensional to follow the surface of the landscape, over hills, around curves, and somehow compensate for changing camera angles. In other words, the road needs to be placed very precisely."

With this description of what you're doing, this project moves out of the realm of AE and into 3D applications. Basically, you need a 3D model of this road to apply to your shots, animating the model as necessary to keep it in sync with the camera's motion through 3D space and the lens' changes in focal length. About the only time AE would become involved is when compositing the road onto the aerial footage.

This is far beyond anything I would want to attempt. I haven't even pondered what would happen when this road gets composited onto the top of a tree or a bush.

I hope your client has very, VERY deep pockets. He'll need 'em, and you'll need the services of a very good effects house to pull this off. Plus about 120 days from the word, "go".

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Susan Dempster
Re: Create a path over an aerial video of mountains?
on Nov 11, 2009 at 7:11:05 pm

Thanks, Dave! I appreciate your honesty!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Create a path over an aerial video of mountains?
on Nov 11, 2009 at 7:20:13 pm

[Susan Dempster] "I appreciate your honesty!"

No, thank YOU ma'am. Far too often, people misinterpret candor as surliness. Your realization that this task is deceptively complex is a breath of fresh air in this forum.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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