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Method to copy tracking data to different timelines in different projects

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Michael McCune
Method to copy tracking data to different timelines in different projects
on Feb 5, 2017 at 3:58:17 pm
Last Edited By Michael McCune on Feb 5, 2017 at 5:36:02 pm

This work-around method solved the problem of copying and using tracking data created in a node of a clip in one timeline to the same or different clip in a different timeline in a different project. That is, copy tracking from a node in clip A in project A, timeline A to the same clip A (or a different clip) in project B, timeline B.

This can be helpful--despite the extra work-around steps needed as described below--if tracking is frustrated in a given project's timeline, perhaps due to tracking issues themselves or perhaps due to overly burdensome clip length, large number of nodes and other creative exuberance.

But perhaps a simple version of the same clip in a new project has no tracking problem. Then Resolve's tracker is fast and reliable. But how to migrate that tracking data to the target project?

How to:
1. Create a new project and timeline; add the clip to be used as a source for tracking. This is a simple version, perhaps the original version, of the clip, with few or no nodes; perhaps only a node to optimize color or contrast, etc., to facilitate tracking.
2. Track the object in that timeline clip: probably this is successful and fast and reliable. Note which node has the track data: probably label it as such.
3. Grab a still to a Power Gallery bin so it is visible to other projects. This still, as we know, captures tracking along with everything else.
4. Close this tracking project and re-open the original project that, previously, was difficult to track.
5. View the node structure and consolidate all the existing nodes into a single node. This is a house-keeping step, anticipating the next step of appending more nodes from the Gallery still. This is suggested if one has dozens of nodes that might quickly become unmanageable.
6. Open the Gallery power bin; right click in the grey area and verify that Apply Grades Using ... Source Time Code or Start Frames is selected.
7. Select the Gallery still with your tracking data and then select Append Grade.
8. One now has the track data from the successfully tracked object.
9. Delete any newly appended nodes that are not necessary; probably keeping only the tracking node.
10. Decompose (Un-consolidate) the consolidated node containing its many original nodes.
11. Connect the new tracking data node from the Gallery still to the existing node structure as appropriate.
12. Verify that the tracking data appears in the tracking window and scrub through clip to verify that all is well.

Seems to work for me: any thoughts from others???

Question: with the Gallery still selected and using the still's Display Node Graph, why not simply drag the node with the tracking data onto the target clip? Why go to the trouble of appending the entire tracking grade?

Answer: Because the tracking data is not carried over when the solo node only is copied. Why not? Dunno.

Question: Why create a new project? Why not just create a new timeline???

Answer: As we know, the tracking effort can fail for various reasons in addition to issues with tracking itself, and one of them is overall very slow response by the system. Even slow saving can be a marker that it is time for Plan B.

In the case of a challenged system--even one with 32GB of fast ram and a 1080 series card and running all SSD's--simply creating a new timeline in the same project does not seem to relieve the burden on the system. I suppose there is some necessary integration under the hood that requires updating the entire project. For example, when simply saving a project requires a lot of time, one would think that creating a new timeline and then saving it would result in almost instant completion; after all, the new timeline is nearly empty.

But it does not in fact save any more quickly. It requires the same time to save as if one was still working in the overly-burdened timeline.


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Marc Wielage
Re: Method to copy tracking data to different timelines in different projects
on Feb 7, 2017 at 8:05:47 am

Call me crazy: I just track it again.

You can copy over tracking information if you insist, but it requires that you have the "Apply Grades Using Keyframes Aligning Source Timecode" option checked in the right-click menu selection. I generally don't copy the keyframes across for the simple reason that the shot contents are rarely identical. When they are, I use ColorTrace to bring the original correction over which brings everything including Keyframes (color and tracking). I don't think this is as complex as you make it out to be.

System performance and speed depends on a whole bunch of factors, including file type, CPU speed, available RAM, GPUs, and drive I/O. There isn't just one single factor, so it's not an easy thing to diagnose. 64GB of RAM is not too little, particularly if you throw in a 16- or 24-core processor. Project saving/loading hinges on the complexity and content of every timeline in the project, not just the one you're working in. Weighing it down with a massive number of shots, complex node trees, and many hundreds of Gallery stills also extracts a price in terms of time, but it's sometimes unavoidable.

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Eric Santiago
Re: Method to copy tracking data to different timelines in different projects
on Feb 7, 2017 at 1:30:09 pm

I agree with Marc on tracking again.
There are tricky ones but I tend to redo it for my hairs sake.
Also ran into an issue when first supplied clips were not of the same size and aspect ratio as raw footage.
I fixed it my using the scale to frame but most of the time it wasnt worth the pain so I just started from scratch.
Ive worked with a few trackers out there and Resolve is by far the easiest and my fave :)

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Michael McCune
Re: Method to copy tracking data to different timelines in different projects
on Feb 7, 2017 at 11:11:44 pm

Could not agree more: managing complexity may start with avoiding it, sez I!

And thanks for the tip regarding the number of cores with respect to the amount of ram: of course each core needs their own ram allocation.

Just to be clear, the main reason for this tracking work-around, which is to copy tracking from the same clip in a different project, as opposed to simply tracking it again in the original project, is that the original track effort fails due, mainly, to overall sluggish performance on an admittedly already overly creative clip grade. Then tracking the same clip in a new project, without all of that exuberance, yields a fast, reliable track. Then that fast, reliable track is copied to the sluggish exuberant project.

But by winning this battle one can lose the war.

True enough, this project, though successful is so many ways--six to nine masks, many independently tracked, in every clip in the timeline, with other gradations and color adjustments to sky, overall vignettes, etc.--there must be a better way to apply all this goodness to a single clip.

The good news is that Resolve itself is so excellent at color.

But the burgeoning size of the project literally causes it to fail under the weight of its own success in applying so many adjustments.

Must be a better strategy to grade and apply multiple masks with tracking; that is, some way to create them independently and then assemble them. Minimizing interaction. Then easy to tweak each one as needed as they are assembled.

Thoughts anyone?

Chaucer said, "The life so short, the craft so long to learn..."

Thanks, guys. Mike

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Marc Wielage
Re: Method to copy tracking data to different timelines in different projects
on Feb 7, 2017 at 11:28:15 pm

There is another option: you can create a tracking mask in a 3rd-party program like Bocha, which will track absolutely perfectly, then export that as an external mask and bring it back into Resolve. This will be absolutely correct, assuming the shot doesn't change between the two versions.

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Marc Wielage
Re: Method to copy tracking data to different timelines in different projects
on Feb 9, 2017 at 10:53:23 am

Uh, make that MOCHA. (Typo... ahem.)

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