Camera tracking Difficulties

Hello, I am learning how to use camera tracking at the moment
but I am experiencing some technical difficulties using icarus and voodoo with my newly bought HD camcorder…

Icarus wise:
Icarus don’t seem to support any other video format besides from quicktime mov, which is bascally what my camcorder saves, but it doesn’t work with anything higher than DV resolution (and my camcorder only saves HD format)…
Icarus seems to be more efficient than VooDoo by the looks of things, but I really doubt it can only import mov files…I mean…given that it is such a professional…complicated, awesom looking software! So I want to know how everyone else uses Icarus, do you use a specific converter, import script etc. to make it compromise with certain camcorders?

Voodoo wise:
It looks a lot simpler in comparison to Icarus, but again, the lack of format supports really bug me, having to render the footage as Targa etc. Also, for some reason when I import the python result into blender, the camera just stopped moving after about 20 something frames…

Can someone give me an advice or two about this?
or does anyone have any suggestions about other camera tracking softwares?

thanks in advance :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Out of Icarus and Voodoo I personally prefer Icarus and find that it gets a much better track for shots with lots of 3D movement (such as walking around a room), although Voodoo does seems to be better at shots with a very small amount of 3D movement, such as a hand-held panning shot.

As for format in Icarus, when you’re importing the video file I think there is one other format (might be .avi) but I don’t think I’ve ever got it to work. To get your HD files to work you’ll have to convert/resize it first using an external program. I recommend MPEG Streamclip and would convert it to Quicktime Movie, Compression: None, and of course set the size to the maximum Icarus can handle. Because the resolution is smaller the tracker might find it a bit harder to find points to track, although the overall quality of the tracking shouldn’t change too much.

If you want some tutorials for Icarus, the best (and probably only ones out there) are Colin Levy’s Icarus Video Tutorial Series.

This page here provides some good tips for shooting for 3D tracking.

Just saw the book “Matchmoving: The Invisible Art of Camera Tracking” it looks like it could be good if you decide to continue motion tracking and get into advanced stuff.

Also, for some reason when I import the python result into blender, the camera just stopped moving after about 20 something frames…

I haven’t had much experience with Voodoo, but maybe it wasn’t able to track after frame 20-something, so just left the camera in the same place.

or does anyone have any suggestions about other camera tracking softwares?..

I recently got Syntheyes to finish a project that Icarus wasn’t able to handle. For shots that have lots of things to track in it, it is able to usually track and calibrate within 5 minutes, sometimes it even does it within a few seconds. For more complex shots, you have to specify some manual points, and after some tweaking it’s usually able to track most shots. It also has a cool 3D stabilizer and can track moving objects (it can even do motion capture tracking). It can do a heap more than those things, but the ones I mentioned are what I consider to be the main features. It does come with a price tag of $399 USD, which is actually very cheap for what it’s capable of (Boujou is $10k! :eek:).

If you want something cheaper check out The Pixel Farm, who purchased Icarus a few years ago, improved it and released it as a couple of commercial products. From what I’ve heard their PFHoe is really good for its price (£49). They also have PFHoe Pro for £99 and PFTrack which doesn’t seem to have a price listed, but I think it’s around £1000.

I’d suggest sticking with Icarus and Voodoo for a while and if you need to, purchase something more advanced. :slight_smile:

Hope that helps!

Wow, thank you very much for being ever so helpful! (This is what I love about this community)
I will try those useful ideas out (although syntheyes do sound pretty pircy for a noob / student like me to get my hand on…but motion tracking sounds very alluring…)

Camera tracking sounds fun again!..after my serial failures

Thanks again :slight_smile:

Here’s something I did with Icarus and Blender, but not HD.

haha that’s cool :slight_smile:
Can’t really tell which things are real and aren’t (I am guessing it’s that plant thing, it did shake a bit during the fast pan)

Yes, the cactus thing is the CG, if you look carefully you can see it slipping around. The dog is real. And she was offended when I told her someone thought she was a cat! lol:evilgrin: