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July 29, 2008

Motion Tracking

Filed under Animation, Software, Video

image After I saw the new TR2N trailer this weekend, I thought it might be a fun project to see if I could clean up the video (and learn how to use Adobe After Effects CS3).

The first step was getting the bootleg video. I wasn't able to get the source from the link above. I followed the advice from this Yahoo! Answers and used the trial version of Moyea SWF Kits to extract a youtube.com version of the video (which is no longer up). The extracted source video is here (24 MB).

I used After Effects to do the rest.

Look at the source video and you will see lots of problems. The video...

  • is small
  • is not centered
  • is rotated
  • changes size as the camera is zoomed
  • has a youtube time-slider and youtube logo
  • has erratic motion from handheld video recording
  • is missing parts of the trailer

I didn't worry about fixing the last one...too much work.

The first issue I fixed was the erratic motion, which made the other issues *much* easier to fix. I used this page for directions on how to do video stabilization.

In the source video, you will notice a couple of lights above the movie screen. I told After Effects to track the lights. It did a really good job. I only had to help with the tracking at around 0:43 because of the zooming. The rest of the tracking was done automagically.

After the motion tracking was finished, the video was very steady. I had to rotate the image several times to keep it aligned correctly. I also scaled the video to make it fit the full frame width. I translated the video to put it in the center of the frame.

Then I added masks to give the video a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, which is what I'm guessing the teaser was filmed in. I also added a mask to cover the youtube time-slider and the youtube logo.

The final video is here (5 MB).

I'm *very* impressed with how easy it is to do motion tracking and how steady the final version is compared to the original.

Comments (3)


Wow nice work Dave! The first video was unwatchable for me, this one is much better given the source quality.

They'd better not screw this movie up making the graphics too good. For me part of the charm of the original was all of the straight lines and visible polygons. If they smooth everything out it's going to lose something IMO.
The original is still one of my favorites given my age at the time it came out.

TRON is what got me obssessed with 3D graphics...but it's a phase...I'm sure it will pass. :)

I still like the look of the original. It doesn't feel dated because the look was so unique.


Excellent work, Dave, thank you! :)

Hopefully, they will include enough fake low-polygon-count wireframes to avoid it looking to good :)

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 29, 2008 12:19 AM.

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