Is there a name for the video technique where text is "stuck" to an element of the video?
June 3, 2010 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Is there a name for the video technique where text is "stuck" to an element of the video?

You can see an example of what I'm talking about in the beginning of this video. It's like the text is stuck to something in the video, rather than the lens of the camera as normal. Is there a name for this technque, and how can I reproduce it in Final Cut Express and/or LiveType?
posted by c:\awesome to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You say that the text is "tracked to [whatever it's attached to]." You need tracking software or a plugin to do it, unless you want to track it by hand.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:04 AM on June 3, 2010

I'm not sure about LiveType but After Effects has a pretty good and simple motion tracker built in.

Basically when you track something you draw a little box around what you want to track and the software analyzes the image frame by frame and figures out where that part is each frame. Then you apply that movement data to your type layer and voila, you've tracked the type into the scene.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:12 AM on June 3, 2010

Response by poster: Anyone know of a plugin for Final Cut Express 4 that will let me do this? I'd rather not buy an entire new software package for this one little thing.
posted by c:\awesome at 11:20 AM on June 3, 2010

This is called matchmoving. It's a hell of a lot harder than you'd think to make look good. Professional options for this include boujou or Maya.

How it works is as follows: The software will analyze a video clip and spit out a sort of virtual camera track. Then you'll composite 3D footage over the original video according to this track, and if done well, it should match up. This can be used for something as simple as text, like you've described (Fringe uses this for all of their intertitles), but this is also the backbone of most CGI effects you see in the movies.

It looks like the text in the video you posted isn't 3D; in fact, I'd call your link a sub-par matchmoving job. The plus is, if that's all you're looking to accomplish, something simple like After Effects can do this. If you have access to Final Cut Studio, Motion has a bare-bones matchmover built in. (Both of these options are not ideal.)

If you're stuck with FCE4, you might try to overlay text and go through frame by frame, moving it with keyframes to simulate this effect. It won't be perfect, but with this sort of thing, perfection isn't easy or cheap.
posted by reductiondesign at 11:31 AM on June 3, 2010

Yeah, you can simulate the effect with keyframes -- it's a ton of work, but if you have FC already and don't want to buy additional software, that's your best bet.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 11:33 AM on June 3, 2010

You'll learn to hate hand-tracking if you do it enough, but that's all you get in FCE. CHV has a plugin in its MotionTracker plugin set for FCP and FCE that does it, but I've never used it and can't comment on its quality.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:38 PM on June 3, 2010

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