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25 Jan 2021
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Tracking Blank TV's on M1 - Cannot find anything 17 Feb 2022 17:14 #119071

Hey everyone!

I have been here many times over the years as a lurker but I officially can't find the answer I need. I work for an AV company and like to take videos of our TV's moving. I also add a very gently amount of tracking and panning to the shots so they don't feel so stale.

What I currently do is ask the clients to have the TV off so I can retain natural reflections, I take my shot, and then I add some approved footage on top in post. The problem is I am really struggling to find a tracker to handle these very gentle movements. It's almost as if the trackers are expecting more motion.

I was using Pixel Film Studios Perspective Tracker for a while. It was great on Intel but is really poor on M1. I tried using it in Rosetta to access the Intel version (they made entirely different software on M1) but it seems to be struggling still. I have just tried Coremelt TrackX which is a little better but still poor. I am wondering if there is any tracking software you guys know about and recommend. My objects are moving super slow, like 6 pixel drift on a corner of the TV when filmed in 4K. In the shot I'm currently working on, my TV average light value is 25,25,25 and the background average value is 70,70,70. I also tried editing the source footage to increase this contrast with no luck.

Should I make a change to my workflow? Some of our TV's are very expensive, so I can't just go and put a sticker on the TV or anything. Some of our setups are super sophisticated and don't have accessible HDMI's, so I can't just plug in a laptop to get some tracking points. I feel it would be unprofessional (and messy) to use stickers, but I also feel the sharp contrast of a dark TV (that is off) against a white wall should be enough for a tracker to follow.

Any help would be appreciated.

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Tracking Blank TV's on M1 - Cannot find anything 17 Feb 2022 19:16 #119073

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There may be a way to do this composting two layers instead of tracking.

Four years ago I did something similar where I had a video overlaying another and either the dark areas rendered transparent or vice versa via the Composting menu. The dark areas behaved in a kind of green screen fashion but still allowed lighter sections to remain based on the opacity and the effect chosen. You may be able to place video 'behind' the TV screen all the while retaining the lighter reflections with the 'dark' TV screen portions essentially becoming alpha channels. You may not even have to track if panning motion is slight.

I was screwing around with all sorts of settings but I remember at some setting the dark areas becoming somewhat translucent without the other video being too vibrant as if it were dropped on top or that you were looking through a stencil.

[attachment=9951]
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Tracking Blank TV's on M1 - Cannot find anything 17 Feb 2022 19:52 #119074

Did you try MOTION it used to do pretty good corner pin , you might have to stick four corner stickies to facilitate TRACKERS depending on lighting but that should be easy...

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Tracking Blank TV's on M1 - Cannot find anything 17 Feb 2022 20:09 #119075

There may be a way to do this composting two layers instead of tracking.

Four years ago I did something similar where I had a video overlaying another and either the dark areas rendered transparent or vice versa via the Composting menu. The dark areas behaved in a kind of green screen fashion but still allowed lighter sections to remain based on the opacity and the effect chosen. You may be able to place video 'behind' the TV screen all the while retaining the lighter reflections with the 'dark' TV screen portions essentially becoming alpha channels. You may not even have to track if panning motion is slight.

I was screwing around with all sorts of settings but I remember at some setting the dark areas becoming somewhat translucent without the other video being too vibrant as if it were dropped on top or that you were looking through a stencil.

Thanks for your reply. So this does work for accurate reflections, good catch. I first tried a Luma Keyer without your screenshot. Now I have the blend mode set to "lighten" with my main footage and have the composite footage underneath with a normal blend. Is this what you were suggesting? This largely works but it is also compositing the sound bar. The sound bar is black, flush with the TV and flat, so it's hard to exclude from the mask. Additionally, the composite footage goes right to the end, I still have to manually keyframe it if I want to keep the TV bezel so it looks accurate.

Did you try MOTION it used to do pretty good corner pin , you might have to stick four corner stickies to facilitate TRACKERS depending on lighting but that should be easy...
I have never used Motion. I will have to look for a tutorial. I'm not sure how Motion integrates with FCPX. Currently I color correct the footage, stabilize, optical flow if necessary and then add a composite on top. Sometimes I mess with the original footage to make the track easier. But now I'm here :)

I'll do some reading on Motion

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Tracking Blank TV's on M1 - Cannot find anything 17 Feb 2022 20:51 #119076

There may be a way to do this composting two layers instead of tracking.

Four years ago I did something similar where I had a video overlaying another and either the dark areas rendered transparent or vice versa via the Composting menu. The dark areas behaved in a kind of green screen fashion but still allowed lighter sections to remain based on the opacity and the effect chosen. You may be able to place video 'behind' the TV screen all the while retaining the lighter reflections with the 'dark' TV screen portions essentially becoming alpha channels. You may not even have to track if panning motion is slight.

I was screwing around with all sorts of settings but I remember at some setting the dark areas becoming somewhat translucent without the other video being too vibrant as if it were dropped on top or that you were looking through a stencil.

Hmm. Thought I replied. So I did play with the blending modes. I ended having the in-person footage on the top and the imposed footage underneath with the in-person blending mode as "lighting" which allows the reflections on the TV. The issue with this is I still have to track rotation accurately which is difficult. If I let the imposed footage just shine through the black TV, it also imposes onto the sound bar just above the television, see attached. I partially keyframe it but you can see where the LR misalignment causes it to look like the TV has no bezel and has nothing preventing it from imposing the image onto the speaker.
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Tracking Blank TV's on M1 - Cannot find anything 18 Feb 2022 18:00 #119080

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I'll need to scour some 36 hard drives to find the files so I can dig into that library to determine what was done on that clip but I remember a scene from the shoot where there was an exterior shot of the building and the blend used (definitely not a luma mask) where I layered a different interior shot in the glass panes but still maintained the reflection of trees / cars / people off the glass. (It was one of those moments where you think. "Man, that's such a cool effect. I could use that for something & need to remember that." but you never fully do. And of course I can't locate the final edit, only a rough cut.)

If the panning is slight you may be able to get by with skewing the image to the frame instead of time consuming key frame tracking. Remember that as an editor you're likely to notice such video irregularities or inconsistencies but the general viewing public rarely does.

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Tracking Blank TV's on M1 - Cannot find anything 19 Feb 2022 18:51 #119094

I agree with Francois that corner-pinning in Motion may be the best approach. Here's a Ripple Training tutorial how to do that in Motion.

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Tracking Blank TV's on M1 - Cannot find anything 27 Apr 2022 21:17 #120266

Apologies for going silent.

I ended up purchasing motion, but have not completed a successful track. Part of the "immersion" I was going for is the screen was partially covered by a hand, not to mention I am tracking an iPhone X. I will look around here to see if there are any solutions for that. I'd be surprised if I was the only one, but can't find any video in a quick search to show how to handle non-square screen replacement.

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