Planar Tracking

The purpose of tracking in any form is to bring more clarity and substance to videos in the post-production process. Think of the process as way to polish your work.

Planar tracking allows you to track patterns within a video rather than specific features. So, it’s great for tracking items in your footage that ended up partly blocked or are fighting through interference. If there’s a portion of your video that goes temporarily out of focus, or gets altered thanks to an unwanted lighting change, planar tracking can help you fix it.

Common uses

Planar tracking has a wide variety of uses. We don’t even have time to list everything, any more than you have time to read it. But, to name a few things, planar tracking can help with:

  • Image insertion — adding an image or graphic into an existing scene, in a specific location. Usually something that couldn’t be shot during the original production, but is essential to complete the scene.
  • Object removal — taking something specific out of a scene without leaving a trace. The end result becomes video footage that doesn’t look like it has been altered.
  • Roto assistance — outlining a specific object in a scene in order to seamlessly insert an image underneath it.
  • Image stabilization — tracking features within existing footage in order to compensate for things like blurring, distortion, or warping.

In these ways and more, planar tracking methods help to improve video content, allowing you to add to, subtract from, or modify existing footage flawlessly.

Case Study: Resurgens “No More” video

In this video for our friends at Resurgens Orthopaedics, we show different people experiencing issues in specific locations in their bodies, all of which Resurgens can address and treat. ECG Productions editors and animators used planar tracking to overlay an x-ray (or “hex-ray”) graphic in each person’s affected area that reveals the underlying pain point. This allows the viewer to see the problem at its source, where doctors will treat it. Thanks to the tracking, the x-ray graphic moves smoothly with the person, who is back doing what they love, thanks to the treatment they received.

Case Study: Home Diagnosis

For this science-based home improvement show, available on Georgia Public Broadcasting, we needed a graphics package to insert into the action of the show. Even with the hosts on the move, logos and other graphics integrate into the scene without issue. Specifically, right at 1:39 in Episode 1, you can see how the logo appears to stretch across the screen, behind the hosts even as they move around. The logo never cuts them off or covers them, but stays still without any issue, thanks to planar tracking.

Check out the entire first season of Home Diagnosis online here!

The right software for the job

Integrated with After Effects, where a large amount of video editing already occurs, Mocha is one software option which provides planar tracking, roto, and masking. It tracks accurately and consistently, providing data that easily fuses with After Effects. The workflow is efficient, since your production team can accomplish tracking and editing all within a single software.

The crack team at ECG Productions provides planar tracking through this method for tons of our clients. This gives the production team a level of experience with this process that’s invaluable. To learn more about tracking, and how it can enhance your next video production project, contact ECG today.