Should this tracking job be SO hard?

I’ve been trying to get a really tight, accurate track on a clip I shot, but I can’t seem to get it perfect. But it doesn’t seem like it should be so hard. The attached AEComposite.jpg shows the end result I’m going for, with the sign that says “Movie Night” (also attached MovieNightSignDistressed.png) tracked onto the red side of the big metal kiosk.
So far, the best results I’ve been able to get is with an x-spline that’s drawn as shown in MochaProject.jpg. I’m tracking this with Translation, Scale and Rotation only with 90% min. pixels. And I drew the shape that way because I’m trying to find some points of contrast to help Mocha out – like the white dots and the black handle on the side of the machine. I also did this work with the Gamma cranked up a bit to reveal more contrast in the image.
I realize there are challenges with the clip. It’s compressed (from a 5D), shot at night at about 800 ISO, and it’s handheld, so there’s a lot of camera shake. Anyone interested can download the clip here (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/72695674/HMM_Clip.mov) to give it a look.
I’ve tried lots of ways, including keyframing to correct after the initial track, using the Adjust Track tool, etc. But so far, everything still ends up with a slight drift in it. Very annoying.
To be fair, it’s probably “close enough” that most people watching the final movie would not notice the tiny drift that occurs. But to me it is noticeable, especially near the white splotches. And besides, who really likes “close enough”, anyway? I much prefer “perfect”.
If anyone has any thoughts on the best/quickest way to make a track like this a little closer to perfect, I’d be very grateful to hear about it. Thanks… track on!

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So I’ve tried using a few different sizes of X-splines (doing the whole red area, vs. parts it) and then using Adjust Track to try to dial it in. I’m still not getting it as solid as I would like. And of course, if I try to do too much manual stuff it gets a little jittery.

The challenge is finding good, easily identifiable points to use as references for the Adjust Track points. I’ve tried to use the white spots on the side of red machine, or the black handle, etc. It’s still proving very difficult to track, given the handheld movement of the camera.

Also, the footage is a bit noisy. But I’ve tried denoising it first and then tracking… but that leads to even worse results.

Any other suggestions?

Thanks, Mary. I’ll give it a shot!

I’ve been trying to get a really tight, accurate track on a clip I shot, but I can’t seem to get it perfect. But it doesn’t seem like it should be so hard. The attached AEComposite.jpg shows the end result I’m going for, with the sign that says “Movie Night” (also attached MovieNightSignDistressed.png) tracked onto the red side of the big metal kiosk.

So far, the best results I’ve been able to get is with an x-spline that’s drawn as shown in MochaProject.jpg. I’m tracking this with Translation, Scale and Rotation only with 90% min. pixels. And I drew the shape that way because I’m trying to find some points of contrast to help Mocha out – like the white dots and the black handle on the side of the machine. I also did this work with the Gamma cranked up a bit to reveal more contrast in the image.

I realize there are challenges with the clip. It’s compressed (from a 5D), shot at night at about 800 ISO, and it’s handheld, so there’s a lot of camera shake. Anyone interested can download the clip here (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/72695674/HMM_Clip.mov) to give it a look.

I’ve tried lots of ways, including keyframing to correct after the initial track, using the Adjust Track tool, etc. But so far, everything still ends up with a slight drift in it. Very annoying.

To be fair, it’s probably “close enough” that most people watching the final movie would not notice the tiny drift that occurs. But to me it is noticeable, especially near the white splotches. And besides, who really likes “close enough”, anyway? I much prefer “perfect”.

If anyone has any thoughts on the best/quickest way to make a track like this a little closer to perfect, I’d be very grateful to hear about it. Thanks… track on!

So I’ve tried using a few different sizes of X-splines (doing the whole red area, vs. parts it) and then using Adjust Track to try to dial it in. I’m still not getting it as solid as I would like. And of course, if I try to do too much manual stuff it gets a little jittery.
The challenge is finding good, easily identifiable points to use as references for the Adjust Track points. I’ve tried to use the white spots on the side of red machine, or the black handle, etc. It’s still proving very difficult to track, given the handheld movement of the camera.
Also, the footage is a bit noisy. But I’ve tried denoising it first and then tracking… but that leads to even worse results.
Any other suggestions?

Thanks, Mary. I’ll give it a shot!

Thanks for the tip, Martin. When I change it to Log, it gets way too dark and contrasty. I end up having to crank the gamma up a lot in the viewer just to see what I’m doing.
But in doing that… and applying Ribel’s layer setup (thanks, Ribel!) it’s definitely better.
Still a little drift in translation and rotation, that’s hard to correct for completely with keyframing or Adjust Track. Any other thoughts come to mind?
Also, FWIW, in doing all of this, a feature request/suggestion came to mind: It would be great to have a grid overlay or even moveable crosshair tool (ala Photoshop) that could be dragged over the viewer window and locked into place on the window. Then when you review a track with Stabilize turned on, you could put the crosshairs right on whatever good reference point you have in your track (that should remain relatively stationary in the viewer when Stabilize is on) and more easily see exactly how and when something drifts a little. Hope that makes sense. I’ve attached a quick mockup to show you what I mean… and to give you an idea of how the clip looks in the Log space.
Thanks again for the help!

Thanks for the tip, Martin. When I change it to Log, it gets way too dark and contrasty. I end up having to crank the gamma up a lot in the viewer just to see what I’m doing.

But in doing that… and applying Ribel’s layer setup (thanks, Ribel!) it’s definitely better.

Still a little drift in translation and rotation, that’s hard to correct for completely with keyframing or Adjust Track. Any other thoughts come to mind?

Also, FWIW, in doing all of this, a feature request/suggestion came to mind: It would be great to have a grid overlay or even moveable crosshair tool (ala Photoshop) that could be dragged over the viewer window and locked into place on the window. Then when you review a track with Stabilize turned on, you could put the crosshairs right on whatever good reference point you have in your track (that should remain relatively stationary in the viewer when Stabilize is on) and more easily see exactly how and when something drifts a little. Hope that makes sense. I’ve attached a quick mockup to show you what I mean… and to give you an idea of how the clip looks in the Log space.

Thanks again for the help!

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If you turn the grid on in the view controls and hit the stabilize button in the top row of buttons, this should give you a similar result to what you are after.

Hi Hamish,
Try converting your colorspace in the clip tab to Log, then track again. The log colorspace will let you up some of the contrast and you’ll get a good lockdown.

Hi Hamish,

Try converting your colorspace in the clip tab to Log, then track again. The log colorspace will let you up some of the contrast and you’ll get a good lockdown.

If you turn the grid on in the view controls and hit the stabilize button in the top row of buttons, this should give you a similar result to what you are after.