Your Camera Solver Questions: Answered.

May 9, 2012
tags: Mocha, Blog

Photo of Mocha V3‘s release at NAB
by Michele Yamazaki of Tool Farm
Since the release of our camera solver in Mocha V3, we have been getting tons of enthusiasm and buzz from you guys, and we’re so pleased for your continued, awesome support. We got lots of upgrade orders the day we released Mocha V3, so we know how excited you guys are about the brand new features and that excitement tends to fuel tons of questions!
I posted something very much like this in our imagineer systems forums and over on Tool Farm’s forums, and Tool Farm even had a pretty cool blog post about our camera tracker… but I want to expand on this idea here. We’ve been getting a lot of questions from a lot of you about what Mocha’s planar solver is, and how is compares to all other camera trackers. I wanted to take a moment to expand upon what our solver is, how it works, and how it compares to camera trackers in general.

So what’s the difference between mocha V3′s camera solver and any of the other camera trackers on the market right now?

The difference is that our camera solver solves for the planes you track in Mocha and builds a camera based off that. Just like we’re not a point or feature tracker, neither is our camera solver a camera tracker. 

Mocha v3 creates a 3D camera solve based on planar tracking, while, for instance, many 3D feature trackers requires the user to define good and bad data for the tracker in order to complete a camera tracking solve. Using planar data means no more “X”s wobbling across your screen and no more telling your tracker “no.”
Because Mocha is using the planar tracker to solve, Mocha can steadfastly track better than any feature tracking in any other software because our incredible planar tracker has the ability to track and solve footage with motion blur, footage that goes offscreen, etc. Common difficult tracks such as tracing around reflections or obscured tracking areas are things that the planar tracker can solve easily. And you tell Mocha where to look, you dont ask it to track everything and then adjust proper features for ages. 
Another difference is that Mocha v3 will solve a virtual camera and “select” 3D planes and that Mocha v3 exports 3D nulls instead of a point cloud. Now, when I say our camera solver doesn’t solve a point cloud I want to point out that it will give you nulls that represent the planar surface that you can use as “a point cloud” in programs like nuke even though they just mark where your planar surface is at all four corner and the center point. 
The bottom line is that Mocha doesn’t solve for “the” camera like a camera tracker does, the ultimate goal we have in our camera solver being to put objects anywhere in the 3D scene or putting volumetrics or particles in the scene. Our camera solver solves for a camera relative to the planes you have tracked.

How can we get the most out of mocha V3′s camera solver?

Use large shapes for the best tracks.
With our camera solver, usually less is more. Find two or three really good NON-co-planar planes to track and then hit solve. You will be able to put a 3d object into the scene relative to one of those planes. 
The point being that you usually don’t need a huge camera solve to put a 3D object into a scene, as there are numerous solves you can get with a 3D camera tracker anyway. You just need a reference point and a camera that works for the element you want to drop into the shot.
Things to look out for are just the normal things you need to look out for with our planar tracker, avoid tracking reflections, occlusions, slow moving shadows, etc. And understand that you don’t need tons of data for the solve, you just need to track one good plane for a Pan/Tilt/Zoom camera, and two non-co-planar planes for parallax cameras. As in, you can’t track two shapes on the same wall and expect to get a good parallax solve.
For example: if you need to rebuild your entire set in 3D, our camera solver might not be the best option, but if you need to do a simple set extension for a wall or a ground or both, we can totally do that. Mocha’s 3D solver does not give you the entire camera space, only select planes. This could be very useful for many match moves, set extensions, particle effects, etc.
We want you guys to get up to speed fast on our new camera solver so I even released a new video about how to solve difficult planar tracks this week.

Tracking Difficult Shots with Mocha Pro v3‘s Camera Solver from Imagineer Systems on Vimeo.

And Martin has also put together an excellent tutorial on the camera solver as well that he will expand on in another blog post later this week!

Mocha v3 tutorial: Camera Solving for Moving Objects from Imagineer Systems on Vimeo.

Are you trying to compete with other camera trackers?

We’re not trying to replace conventional camera trackers, we’re not even trying to compete with them. In fact, for blurry shots or other hard to track shots mocha can help camera trackers by putting in new, sharp planar information or grids where bad information used to be. That is if you have a need for THE camera the shot was shot with and want to help your camera tracker figure the shot out. How’s that for being a team player?

How can I try out the new camera solver in mocha V3?

You can purchase Mocha Pro here.
It is probably best to download Mocha Pro v3, which is now shipping, and activate the 15 day trial to do some tests and compare for yourselves. Both Mocha AE and Mocha Pro products are similar but they do different things depending on what kind of work you do. Mocha Pro has tons of time saving features that aren’t present in Mocha AE, but they’re both based on the same amazing planar tracking technology.
I always recommend upgrading to Mocha Pro for the dedicated generalist or the artist who doesn’t have time to mess with time consuming corner pins and roto paint.
You can purchase Mocha AE here.

Mocha AE V3 is also very useful for roto and 2D tracking. Upgrade from the Mocha AE bundle version is $195
Hope that helps answer some common questions for you guys! Let me know if you have any questions.
Stay tuned to our blog for more this week from our Product Manager, Martin Brennand!



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