1 point and 2 point tracking, plus stabilizing footage

This morning, the first thing I learned was some After Effects housekeeping. I started a new composition as the usual 1080 25. I then went into edit preferences, then clear disk cache, and database and cache. Then edit preferences and preview, then enable GPU, which makes it run faster.

I then learned how to stabilise shaky footage. Firstly, I changed the timeline from time (or seconds) to frames. To do this, I went into File, project settings, then clicked time display style, check the box that says frames, start at 1, then go into composition, composition settings, then changed the amount of frames to 250. Then, the next step was actually putting effects onto the footage. To do this, I went into ‘effect’, scrolled down to ‘distort’, then chose ‘warp stabilizer vfx’, and then went into advanced settings and turned ‘detailed analysis’ on. Another thing you can do to make this even better is go into ‘effects’, scroll down to ‘distort’, then chose ‘optics compensation’ and click ‘reverse lens distortion’. This makes footage that bends at the edges look flatter, which overall makes it look better, and on the footage we used the field of view worked best at 35.

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After that, I learned about 1 and 2 point tracking. 1 point tracking uses X and Y co-ordinates to position an image. My next task was to use 1 point tracking to make an image of a fish seemingly stick to the wall of a building. I first imported the footage, and then changed the amount of frames to 200 to accommodate the footage. Then, I imported the illustrator file, and while I did that I ticked the box that says ‘composition – retain layer sizes’. I then went into ‘layer’, and selected ‘new’, then ‘null object’, and put the null at the top of the timeline. Then, in the menu on the right hand side, I scrolled down to tracker and added it to the footage layer, re-scaled it and attached it to a contrast point  (in this case, a small section on the side of the building). Then, I clicked ‘analyse forward’ and let it track the path. Then, parented the fish to the null, and re-scaled the fish to look the right size.

Next, I learned 2 point tracking. 2 point tracking uses X, Y, and Z co-ordinates to position an image, and takes position, scaling, and rotation into account. To do this, you import footage, import the image, then make a null object and put it to the top of the timeline (just like last time). Next, on the footage, go to ‘tracker menu’ and click on ‘rotation and scale’ (position is already ticked). Give it time to track the path, then select ‘edit target’ and change it to the null. Then, make sure you click apply so that it saves what you have done. Finally, parent the image to the null, then position it so that it will stay where you want it to.

Overall, I did struggle with 1 and 2 point tracking. I think this one is just a case of practising and repetition. I made a few mistakes, but that was just because I probably missed those parts when Pete was talking. For example, the biggest mistake I made forgetting to click apply, because when I forgot to do that it lost the tracking that it did, but it was a pretty small thing to go wrong so I’m not too upset about it.

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Posted in: VFX

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