Imagineer Systems -- mocha Pro v3 Review
Imagineer Systems develops powerful, accessible desktop visual effects software applications for film, video and broadcast post production markets. In 2000, Imagineer Systems revolutionized visual effects software tracking with the creation of its industry renowned, award-winning Planar Tracking image analysis engine, and has made its mark on such marquee Hollywood blockbuster productions as Alice in Wonderland, Iron Man 2, Shutter Island, Invictus, G-Force and the Harry Potter series.
Imagineer’s desktop product line includes planar tracking and roto utility mocha, roto, planar tracking, compositing, and removal utility mocha Pro, and mocha AE, a planar tracking and roto utility designed for Adobe After Effects and Apple Final Cut Pro users.
VFX/motion graphic artist Aaron Benitez reviews mocha Pro v3, released earlier this year at NAB. The new version includes new Rotoscoping Tools, new Layer Management, Project Management, 3D Camera Solver and Dopesheet, as well as keyboard shortcuts and interface improvements designed to enhance the entire Planar Tracking-based workflow for tracking, roto, removal and more.
With seven years of Adobe After Effects behind me, I realized that I also had mocha on my computer. After using After Effects and PFTrack for all of my motion tracking, I was astonished by the capabilities found in mocha’s planar tracker. Motion blur, false positives, and lens distortion were no longer the excruciatingly tedious tasks I once dreaded.
Track Like a Boss
When motion tracking shots requiring 2D and 3D matchmoving I would often come across shots that either worked, or did not work. As a VFX artist, I would bring in the background plate to be tracked, enter the lens data, hit “feature track,” and let PFtrack try to come up with a solution. When it worked, it worked well, and when it didn't, it was often easier to move to a manual solution involving frame-by-frame removal of false positives. Moving objects, tracking points running off screen, and crossing intersections often involve hours of required manipulation in order for 3D motion trackers to render an accurate matchmove. This is akin to an engineer or architect spending two hours daily, per job, telling construction workers what not to do when in reality a competent construction worker doesn't need such reminders. This is what makes mocha such an outstanding solution and time-saver: the fact that I only have to tell mocha what to do, rather than wasting time telling it what not to do.
I have recently uncovered a few overlooked options in mocha which I have found to be helpful. First, it’s important when using mocha to understand what your tracker is doing because it's so different than most other programs. One distinction is that you can control whether the spline is attached to the actual track. This means that the position of your spline isn't necessarily associated with the tracking data mocha is recording. For example: I was tracking a line of bushes in a shot the other day where sections of the bush row were constantly moving off screen. Rather than moving the position of my spline every couple of frames as it followed the bushes off screen, I was able to “unlink” the spline from the track, which told mocha to provide tracking data from a specific portion of the frame the entire time.
Another noteworthy feature is that you can move your spline and continue tracking without ruining your tracking data. As long as your track is gathering tracking data from the same planar surface, you can move your spline to any area of the screen in order to avoid what are often hair-splitting obstacles such as intersecting objects, changes in lighting, and change in focus.