Double UFO All the Way!

I needed a purpose of practicing After Effects Mocha motion tracking. I thought creating a parody of the “Double Rainbow All the Way” would be fun. It turned out a little cheesy, but I am proud of the fact the mission was complete, being able to tracking motion accurately within a handheld shaky footage.

Motion tracking with perspective change

I am beginning to appreciate the amount of work that is involved in good motion tracking and compositing. It’s amazing what Mocha can do, but of course, it’s only an imperfect algorithm. It really can’t see like human brain. It, however, is a great tool in tracking motion when there is good clean footage to start with. On this footage, it actually tracked pretty well for 80% of the footage. I had to manually keyframe the rest, especially in the beginning, when the perspective change was the greatest with camera movement.

Motion tracking fail by After Effects and Mocha

I wanted to see if fast moving object, such as a yo-yo, can be tracked accurately by either After Effects or Mocha motion tracking. Not even close! They both failed after a couple of frames, so I had to track it frame-by-frame, which is tedious. Mocha, especially, was disappointing. I don’t know enough about the program at this time, but it seems to track patches of data much better than a point. Anyway, after tracking the yo-yo, I attached an AF point light to is and had it emit particles for an interesting effects. I wanted it to displace smoke, but it took too many particles (around 1/2 million), and it kept crashing AE.

Best quality/file size rendering workflow

Apple Compressor sucks! It’s nice to have it render the scene in the background while I still work on edits, but the rendered file sizes are HUGE and the quality is mediocre at best.
The better way to render is to simply “Export as Quicktime Movie” from FCP. The initial export is huge, but using an “Export” function of Quicktime player to h264 reduces the file greatly and the quality, amazingly, is retained. I am tickled pink!

Not all Photoshop filters are “Smart”

There are some awesome Photoshop filters out there. Some of them give almost instantly gratifying effect to photos that would take hours to tweak using Photoshop’s built-in functions. I thought it would be relatively easy applying some cool filters to video using a Smartfilter option. Wrong! Somehow the best of them get grayed out when trying to batch apply them to the whole movie. It drove me up the walls, trying to find an automatic batch methods. After 1/2 day of trying, I gave up, so I had no choice but to apply them frame-by-frame, the old fashion way.
Well here is the altered footage. It looks pretty cool. The process is really tedious though.
I would never be a good frame-by-frame cell animator because I have no patience!

“Satisfy” music video

I asked a songwriter/skydiving friend to bring his guitar to the dropzone, to see if we can put something together without much planning.
We found a space between the hangers, where the acoustics was good and did one take using Canon T2i and Rode microphone, which didn’t sound bad other than the guitar being slightly out of tune.
After a couple of skydives and a little “will play for skydive” gag footage, here’s what we came up with. FCP Smoothcam was used for ground footage because I was too lazy to set up a tripod.

Applying filters to video in Photoshop CS5

Photoshop CS5 can now import and export movies! There are many wonderful filters only available for Photoshop and not for non-linear editing programs. Best of all, desirable filters can be applied to the whole movie automatically by using the smartfilter mode! No more applying effects frame-by-frame the old fashion pain-in-the-butt way. This opens the door wide open for creativity. Here’s a short sample. The results are promising.

Pseudo HDR video processing

HDR photo is the latest and greatest for STILL pictures. Very few people have done it for moving images though. There are quite a few time lapse versions of it, which is technically not that difficult, bracketing shots every so-many seconds. Real time video HDR processing, however, is much harder due to lack of automated software. Well.. here’s my first trial version. It has that painted surreal look to it. I am please with the result, especially for the first test.

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HDR photography

HDR photography has been around awhile, and there are some awesome examples on the web. I just got my feed wet last few days, to find out how it works. I am ultimately interested in applying it to video. HDR works well under the sunlight, bringing out the details from the shadows, which is the exact area I’ve having trouble with. Here are some experiments. Please click on the picture to see more samples.