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I've got a tricky camera track to do. Steadicam footage on a stage with a load of musicians and some smoke. After Effects built in tracker is not happy. I've tried masking the musicians out and just leaving the rest of the room visible, but it didn't help. My question is - what to try next? Should I wrestle with Blender's camera tracker? Is there another technique? Is the only option to fork out a load of cash for Mocha Pro or PFTrack? (Assume money is tight).

It's to try and get a virtual camera position for the Plexus plugin - think dots flying around the room...

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    I use the Mocha Pro OFX version with Resolve, but I used to use the free Mocha that came with AE. I honestly don’t remember too many must-have, couldn’t-live-without differences besides the mesh tracking, which is why I upgraded. The extra export options are nice, but not a dealbreaker for simple stuff. Sometimes I find it helps to try tracking the shot with a different app if only to help me better distill the process and come up with a better approach, more than a different feature set, so you might want to experiment in Blender, Fusion, or Resolve, if only for perspective. Also, free. Sep 28, 2021 at 19:48
  • For dots flying in space, you probably have some room for error. Particles can look bad if there’s too much slip, but you can usually get away with more than geometry comp’d onto a real surface. I’d avoid shelling out extra cash until I’d exhausted other approaches. Sep 28, 2021 at 19:54
  • have you tried tracking with Cinema 4D Lite through After effects?
    – AutoBaker
    Oct 4, 2021 at 11:27
  • how do you mean?
    – tomh
    Oct 4, 2021 at 11:28

1 Answer 1

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In very rough cases, you may want to resort to brute force or tedious manual labor.

  • Brute force:

Open your footage in Blender and auto-select tracking-markers in the vfx-tab. Set the threshold so that you select at least 100 markers. Track them all to the end. At the last frame, auto-select >100 markers again and track backwards.

Then look at the graph below. Select all the markers which deviate from the x-axis and delete them. Continue cleaning up the bad markers like this. Solve your camera and test it, in most cases, you will get a good 3D track from it.

  • Tedious Manual Labor:

Inspect the content of the frame very carefully. If you spot any static points that don't move, track them manually. Make sure to have at least 5 tracking points at a time. This may or may not work depending on the content of the frame.

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