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Published on 27 Oct 2009 | over 8 years ago

Motion tracking is an affordable option even in these tough financial times.

In the past Chroma or green screen technology was something reserved only for big-budget Hollywood production houses who could afford to use it, but with recent advances in technology, Chroma has now become cheaper and more accessible than ever before. Now almost any production company that has a green wall and the right lighting can make use of this to film a moving person and later replace the green background with a real or computer generated environment without having to bring in costly optical motion devices. Although chroma has opened up a wealth of opportunities for production companies it has, however, had its limitations as until recently it was imperative that the camera remain still throughout the process. When the green screen was replaced with another background it was nearly impossible to manually adjust the environment in relation to the person in the foreground for a realistic result if the camera was moving.

Understanding the limitations of this medium, we have found a way to work around this to create moving shots that look realistic. We place tracking points in the Chroma studio and once the footage is captured, it is taken through an application where a motion algorithm is calculated. In post-production when the green is replaced with the 3D environment, the computer reads these algorithms and makes calculations in reference to the tracking points to create an environment that moves in perfect symmetry with the actors and the camera. Where Chroma was previously limited to still shots, this method of motion tracking now opens up a wealth of visually interesting moving shots. With the use of a dolly, jib and steadycam, Mikromedia is now able to create almost any moving image without leaving their 4 x 5 meter studio.

The 3-D modeling used to create the computer generated environments is now more convincing then ever before, with shadows and reflections in all the right places and the software is again more accessible. By making use of this technology a production can greatly reduce the costs spent on locations and crew. Where before, the background image would suffice for a lengthy shot, the computer now has to generate 25 shots per second to create an environment that moves in a realistic way in relation to the actors and the camera. This puts a lot more strain on the render farms that generate these images but fortunately they too are improving with the advances in technology and are more able to cope with the load. Such a process seems time-consuming but an advert can be completed from start to finish in just 3 weeks.

Even in these financially trying times where budgets seem to be limited, our team at Mikromedia is proving that it is possible to create high quality interesting 3D shots with seemingly high production values but without the expensive price tag.
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