Working with different aspect ratios, footage, surface, insert

I’ve been asked to do a job with 4k footage (4096x2160) which has some kids standing and holding up a sheet of standard white poster board, and the client would like the logos of different organizations tracked and inserted onto the poster boards.

The 4k footage is a different aspect ratio from the poster boards and all of these organization’s logos are different sizes and different aspect ratios. The tracking is easy enough in Mocha AE and I can precomp logos and apply the tracking data to the precomps, however, because of the differences between the aspect ratios of the logos and the aspect ratio of the poster board the logos don’t keep their correct aspect ratio even after doing a fit to comp. I’ve had to manually tweak the scaling and judging by eyeball until the aspect ratio of the logo looks correct on the footage.

Just curious if there is an easier and more correct way to accomplish this. I’ve watched a couple of tutorials and they mainly deal with instances in which your footage aspect is different from your insert layer which is in the same aspect as the surface, such as a phone screen. Manual corner pin and align to surface in Mocha AE also don’t seem to address the issue as the aspect ratio of the logos are different from the poster boards…or I’m not understanding how to do it correctly.

If you need to manually adjust the actual comp to fit the logo better to the board, you may be better off doing the reverse of “fit to comp” which is the align surface technique:

  1. Apply a manual corner pin to your logo in After Effects and place it in the desired position for any frame.
  2. On this frame, Precompose the layer and make sure all attributes are inside it.
  3. You will now have a precomposed layer that is the same dimensions as the tracked footage.
  4. In mocha, go to the same frame in the footage you applied the corner pin to in After Effects and select the track.
  5. On this frame, turn on your surface and click “Align Surface” in the Layer Properties panel (this is the square icon with the arrows pointing outward to the corners).
  6. You will see the surface fit to the full dimensions of the footage.
  7. Export this newly aligned track to After Effects corner pin.
  8. Back in After Effects, select the precomposed layer and paste the data from the beginning of the timeline.
This will apply the tracking data relative to the full dimensions of the footage instead. If you need to adjust the insert, just open the precomposed layer and tweak the manual corner pin you made.

I’ve tried the manual corner pin method, but the difficulty is that since my insert is also a different aspect from the sign which it is going on, corner pinning to the corners of the sign still causes the inserted logo to be the wrong aspect. In other words, the sign might be a square shape, but the logo is rectangular, so it still ends up being distorted using the manual corner pin pinning it to the corners of sign.


Right, so you need to creatively comp it to fit the square as. If your logo literally doesn’t fit the card you’re working with then you’ll need to figure out the best way to make it look good on one frame, then the process above will handle the rest of the motion. The advantage of this method is you can use the same data on multiple precomps to adjust it how you like.