Need to motion track in your FCP X timeline? No problem with Coremelt’s TrackX and SliceX
By Kevin P. McAuliffe (doddleNEWS)
I do a lot of visual effects work on a daily basis, and most of it involves motion tracking, and there is only one program I use, and that is Mocha Pro. Whether you work in high end visual effects, and use Mocha Pro, or are an After Effects wiz, and use Mocha AE, it has slowly become an essential tool for editors and motion graphic designers as well. And why shouldn’t it?
Imagineer Systems, makers of Mocha Pro, won a 2013 Academy Award for Science & Engineering Achievement for the Planar tracking technology, found in all of the Mocha Products. Imagineer Systems, now owned by Boris FX, has now begun to license the technology out to other companies like FXHome, makers of Hitfilm Pro 3 and Coremelt.
First things first: Why would you even need these plugins? Well, most editors now wear two hats, Editor and VFX/Graphic Designer. And if you’ve ever had to do a ‘screen replacement’ or a ‘Schindler’s List look,’ you’ll definitely want to check out these effects.
Alone, each costs $99, or you can pick them up in a bundle for $149. TrackX contains six plugins:
Simple Tracker: – instant tracking perfect for quick floating lower thirds or graphics following a person or object.
Track Layer: – advanced tracking with perspective shifts, surface mapping and masking capabilities.
Track Text: – includes a text generator that can track text with perspective and masking capabilities.
Track Flare, Track Flare Complex: – track a range of preset flares that include realistic movement options.
Track and LockDown: – a tool to track a moving presenter and lock his position to the centre of frame.
Now, SliceX on the other hand, has eleven effects for common tasks, and you can even use it in conjunction with built in effects, third party plug-ins and even the built-in color corrector, to really take your work to the next level.
Inside of FCPX, you’ll find the effects divided up into two categories: The first three effects are in the Effect browser in C2 TrackX, and the other three are the in Generator browser, again, in the C2 TrackX category.
All the Slice X Effects can be found in the C2 SliceX/SliceX Extras category of the Effects browser. Applying the effects is very simple: For all the effects located in the Effects browser, you’ll drag and drop the effect right onto the clip. For the three TrackX effects in the Generator browser, you’ll simply attach them to the clip you want to track.
Once there, believe it or not, most of your tracking work can be done in one pass. Using screen replacement, as an example, simply trace around the area of the screen that you are going to want to replace, and then simply hit the track button. The tracker will always be tracking the Translation/Rotation/Scale, and the preview time is normally pretty quick.
Depending on the type of screen you are tracking, or maybe it happens to be an odd shaped sign, you can use the shape tools to basically create any type of shape you might need. Now, once the main tracking pass is done, you have the ability to get in and add keyframes to your track to make any minor adjustments you might need to do, and lock your track into place.
In most cases, believe it or not, that’s it. Here’s a brief demo that shows you what I mean:
One thing I always tell editors is that you need to use Mocha if you do any type of tracking work. The best part about TrackX and SliceX is that they are basically stripped down, and custom tailored effect(s) that have a very small learning curve, but are super powerful. And will remove the need to send the shots to a Mocha or AE wiz, as you’ll be able to do all your tracking shots in your FCP X timeline, which keeps the client happy, and more money in your pocket.
The fact that TrackX and SliceX are simple to use, cheap and powered by Imagineer Systems’ Mocha makes these two plugins a must own for any FCP X editor out there.
Find out more about TrackX and SliceX on Coremelt’s site.
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Kevin P. McAuliffe is one of the Senior Editors at Extreme Reach in Toronto, Canada. His current clients include Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, and E1 Entertainment to name a few. You can follow him on Twitter @kpmcauliffe.