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Review: Coremelt's TrackX
Ben Balser on Mon, January 13th 0 comments
If you need to track text or images inside a video using FInal Cut Pro X, Coremelt have got a new solution for you: TrackX. Ben Balser explores the 3 generators and shares a video demo.

Mocha Pro is an Academy award winning technology for planar tracking. And now Coremelt has released TrackX, a new product that uses that same Mocha Pro technology. TrackX lets you track text and images to background movements inside FCP X with a set of three generators: Simple Tracker, Track Layer, and Track Text.

Figure 1

Simple Tracker

The simple tracker does basic tracking duties. It can track movement in a video clip, and attach text or other video or graphic objects to it. Simply draw a shape around an object or area of a video clip, and track it. Then attach a graphic or video clip to it, that will follow that track. This tracker can track and adjust the graphic for position, rotation and scale. It can also keyframe rotation and position offers, which helps greatly. This is used for the first two sample clips in the demo below.

Figure 2

Track Text

This is a very basic text tracker using its own built-in text generator. You can track an object and add text to follow on top or along its outside edges. This one includes a masking feature, can adjust for perspective, and can adjust the Anchor Point. This is used for the third sample clip below.

Figure 3

Track Layer

This generator is the most sophisticated. This allows you to draw a shape, track it, apply another image to that shape, masking it, and more. Position, rotation, and plan offsets are available, as well as adjust anchor point, and it can follow adjustments for transformation, perspective, rotation and scale in its planar tracker. The last two clips in the demo below use this.

Figure 4

Keyframing & Mattes

Along with automatic tracking, you can also enhance the resulting tracking results by using keyframes for just about all of the available parameters. There is no reason you could just use keyframes by themselves, but running the tracker is way more fun. And you can create mattes that interact with your surface replacement media for times when it runs behind something else in the shot.

For example, if I'm replacing a billboard, but there happens to be a tree that covers part of that billboard during the shot's pan, I can add a matte that will cover that tree, giving a very realistic effect. Mattes can also be inverted and manipulated with keyframes.

Figure 5

Learning Curve

If you are already familiar with SliceX, you're half way there. If you're new to these plug-ins, they're easy to learn. CoreMelt has training videos on their TrackX page, done by our own Iain Anderson. I highly recommend watching them.

Figure 6

Usage Tips

Roger Bolton from Coremelt helped me quite a bit during this review with some really useful tips. Notice the smooth surfaces of the green and black on the iPod in the video below. TrackX needs texture, so I enlarged the tracking oval to cover the surroundings of the iPad. With that trick it tracked really well.

Figure 7

Mocha is a planar tracker. You need to look for an area that it a flat planar surface to track, which also has some detail. The front of someones face is close to a plane and usually tracks well. But if you draw a shape around the front and side of their head it won't track well.

The clip you are tracking needs to be on the primary storyline with the TrackX plug-in connected directly to it. You can't track when there is a gap or audio on the primary storyline.

Watch out for reflections! If the surface being tracked has reflections, you may need to draw a complex shape that avoids the reflections.

Conclusion

TrackX is one of the most impressive third-party plug-ins I've ever used for any NLE. I can honestly say that with no reservation. There may be some clips that don't track as easily as others. When you do have issues, contact Coremelt support. They're nice folks and want to make their clients happy, and their products to be top shelf quality. If you're tracking long clips, more than a couple of seconds, you'll need patience. It's not horribly slow, but TrackX is doing a ton of work for you, so it is reasonable for it to take the necessary time. But it doesn't take up too much time. If you have to render for playback, that should go fairly swiftly, also. Download the free trial version and see how you like it!

Coremelt's TrackX - macProVideo's Product Review Demo from Ben Balser on Vimeo.


Web: http://www.coremelt.com/products/trackx-powered-by-mocha.html

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