boujou 5 Review: Matchmoving Enters its Maturity
Another useful feature in boujou 5 is Reference Frames, which enables users to import still images taken with any camera and use them to assist in a solve. Reference photos taken on set, on location, or even capturing different sequences during a shot can be used to give more spatial information to a shot than what already exists in camera. In the past, one of the problems with matchmoving was that you couldn't find an accurate camera solution without a certain depth of information. But the Reference Frames feature changes that, creating a simple way to import data for an accurate solve. Other packages have had similar functionality, so this represents a huge move forward for boujou.
The beauty of Reference Frames is that it's not complicated to use. Basically, you shoot a bunch of still pictures from different angles during a shoot, and if you run into a situation where you don't have enough camera data, you can add the information from the still images and come up with a solve. It's a very simple workflow that adds an enormous amount of additional functionality. Even a novice learning from tutorials will be able to use the Reference Frames feature, which means that beginning users of boujou 5 will be able to get a lot more out of it than with previous versions.
boujou has always had a solid Target Tracker for tracking individual features or points on a green screen that was accurate and easy to use, but it was also slow and a little cumbersome. In boujou 5, the Target Tracker has been completely rewritten so it provides a much faster workflow, and instead of tracking one point at a time, users can now specify a pattern on a single frame as well as tracking multiple patterns simultaneously. Users can also nudge points around and refine them—another big plus.
Another one of the new features in boujou 5, the Graph Editor, allows users to manually tweak camera data and, if necessary, re-solve it. boujou 5 also provides the ability to lock valid sections of solve data, or sections known to be correct, which can then be used to improve other areas.
A lot of what has been added into boujou 5, such as the Graph Editor and improved Target Tracker, are features that some of the more target track-driven software already had. But because boujou approaches matchmoving from a different angle than other solutions, its main focus has been on automated functionality, at which it really excels. With version 5, boujou has added more manual functionality and the controls to refine them, making it a more complete package.
It used to be that boujou handled automatic tasks really well, letting you blast through something quickly with results that even manually you'd have a hard time achieving, but that you would have to use a different package for manual controls. boujou 5 now handles everything a manual tracking program will do, and still burns through automated tasks.
The interface has also been refined in boujou 5. The way users look at the zooming window and target tracks has been revamped, and there is a lot more hot-key support, which creates a much faster workflow.
Each iteration of boujou has represented a major leap forward, and boujou 5 is no exception. The first version was a one-button solution that either worked or didn't. Version two gave boujou increased functionality, opening it up to use on a wider range of shots. By version three, boujou was able to set things up from within a shot, and version four brought in survey data and object tracking. boujou 5 has been greatly expanded from version four, and from what I can see it will only help to speed up workflows. There were times using version four when I would hit a brick wall and have to move to other solutions, but with boujou 5 I just push right through.
David Sudd is matchmoving supervisor at CafeFX. He previously was a matchmove supervisor and artist at MPC, where he worked on Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Sunshine, X-Men: The Last Stand and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, among others.