Object tracking: breakdown of solutions for Final Cut Pro

How to track shots with 2D and 3D camera movement

Object tracking: breakdown of solutions for Final Cut Pro

How do you achieve the smooth tracking every video editor strives for? There are several top instruments. Final Cut Pro has an easy-to-use keyframing system that you can use to faux track objects on-screen by moving text and images frame by frame. However, you can save time and use contrast-based tracking to do everything within seconds.

Today we’ll help you to make a choice between FCP’s Object Tracker, mTracker 3D, and Mocha Tracker (multiple of our plugins use Mocha tracking technology). We’ll discuss the differences, list their distinct traits, and show you how to put each one of them to good use for the best outcome.

Let’s break it down! Choose your love, love your choice.

FCP’s Object Tracker

The recently presented version of Final Cut Pro 10.6 includes a new tool — Object Tracker. Final Cut Pro utilizes machine learning to detect faces and objects, then match their movement with titles and effects.

This feature is something the FCP users have been waiting for for 10 years. However, the Object Tracker is a basic planar tracker with no advanced options and only allows 2D tracking. The tool is not perfect yet and may lose track of the object, so the paid tracking plugins may prove more useful.

Where to use: for simple object tracking, in shots with little movement and good stabilization.

mTracker 3D

mTracker 3D is an automatic tracker that lets you precisely recreate the 3D movement of the camera used to film your shot. mTracker 3D makes it possible to simulate the original 3D space captured by the footage and extend the reality by placing new objects within it. The plugin processes your footage to extract the tracking data and helps you incorporate and synchronize new content. The plugin is straightforward to use despite its vast possibilities.

If you have ever searched for a tool to make Hollywood-grade 3D animations within a click, then mTracker 3D is for you. It operates in two simple steps:

  • First, the plugin recreates the 3D environment in the shot by analyzing the position of the camera used to shoot the footage.
  • Then, it lets you enrich your video with one or more 2D or 3D objects (along with shadows and reflections).

Where to use: to compose complex 3D scenes on top of your footage, in shots with 3D camera movement.

Mocha Tracker

Mocha is a first-class solution for tracking footage that delivers accurate and consistent results. The tracksticks to the object and follows it more accurately than the FCP Object Tracker.  Advanced features like Perspective Mode enable tracking objects moving in perspective relative to the camera and making a title or another element mimic that movement. Many of our plugins employing the Mocha Tracker also allow for managing several separate layers (title, line, tracking point) that can be moved around and animated independently.

Where to use: for tracking objects in shots with mostly 2D motion or changing perspective.

Even though FCP’s built-in object tracker is right there — no additional installation required — it is still not powerful enough to handle complex cases and might cause errors. If your shot has a lot going on, advanced features of Mocha Tracker or mTracker 3D will come in handy.

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