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February 17, 2014

by Jeff Riegel, editor

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Last year, Imagineer Systems was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a Scientific and Technical Award for mocha and its ground breaking Planar tracking technology.  Coremelt, creator of the Lock & Load (my favorite) and SliceX plugins, has recently released TrackX using mocha… within FCPX.

Gone are the days of tedious rotoscoping — the task of painstakingly tracking or removing an object from/onto a video one single frame at a time.  FCPX editors can now effortlessly track text or graphics to follow background movement for cool title effects, or track and insert a new layer for screen replacements, like replacing a sign on the side of a moving bus or the screen of a computer.  Coremelt’s newly released TrackX uses the same powerful mocha tracking and interpolation engine by Imagineer Systems previously found as a plug-in for Adobe’s After Effects without having to ever leave Final Cut Pro X (and no having to learn yet another complex VFX program!)

(This video shows some finished examples of what you can do with TrackX)

TrackX contains three plug-ins:

  1. Simple Tracker – instant tracking, ideal for text or graphics following a person or object
  2. Track Layer – a more advanced tracking technique with perspective shifts, surface mapping and masking abilities.
  3. Track Text – a text generator that tracks titles with perspective and masking abilities.

(This tutorial demos the track layer and track text plug-ins used to do advanced tracking with masking and surface corrections)

An easy to use plug-in, TrackX gives us Final Cut Pro editors a powerful, yet simple set of tools to create complex yet time-saving tracking projects with perfect accuracy from within the timeline interface.  Just draw a shape around the object you want to track via the interface and TrackX stays locked on its subject through even shaky, noisy, or blurry video.

Track text or graphics to follow background motion directly within FCPX.  Insert floating titles pinned to a subject, replace TV screens or signs, all with one step and no need to use another compositing package.  Again, without ever leaving Final Cut Pro.

(This tutorial shows how to achieve screen replacements including tips on dealing with reflections)

Per the Coremelt website, there are a few tips and things to watch out for:

  • TrackX generators track the clip they are connected to.  Connected clips always connect down to the primary storyline, so you must have your background that you wish to track on the primary storyline.  Having a gap of audio there won’t work.
  • If you wish to apply TrackX to multi-cam clips you have to apply it to the clip inside the angle editor.  Trying to apply it to multicam clips on the top level is not supported.
  • SliceX has also been updated so that you can now delete bad track data and manually keyframe, for example if the object you are tracking gets occluded. Please see this tutorial for details (tutorial shows TrackX but the same workflow applies to SliceX.
  • TrackX cannot track clips that are stabilized using the built in stabilizer in FCP X.  If you need to stabilize a clip and then track an object, you can use CoreMelt Lock & Load, but you need to make sure that TrackX is applied first and then Lock & Load above it on the effects stack.
  • If you run into any issues please try optimizing your media first and then try applying TrackX again.

(This tutorial shows how to use the simple tracker plug-in to track text to follow an object)

To learn more about TrackX visit Coremelt’s Vimeo channel to watch detailed tutorials for further information on each of TrackX’s capabilities.  TrackX is available as a free 15 day trial or as a $99 purchase via the Coremelt website.

Special thanks to Coremelt and the Zazil Media Group for allowing me the opportunity to spend time with their fine product and to share my take on TrackX.

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