Motion Tracking Help

VFXArtistVFXArtist Website User Posts: 5

Hi Hitfilmers!

I am new to Hitfilm Express and really enjoying learning all the amazing features it offers, it's just incredible!

I want to see if I am able to replicate this effect. I want to be able to motion track an object while applying an image and text on to the object which will not only follow the object but also spin/rotate in the same direction of the object. Is this possible, if so what is the best way to accomplish this?

Here is an example. If you look at when the bottom of the snowboard becomes visible you can see the text "Engima" which was added to the snowboard follows the snowboard and spins in the same direction.


  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,038 Ambassador

    For something that short and motion-heavy, the built-in tracking features of HitFilm probably wouldn't help much.  For me, I'd go about adding that element manually.

    Build yourself a comp that has the text/image you want, with dimensions that match the general proportions of your target surface.  Drop that into a comp containing your footage.  Apply the Quad Warp effect to your embedded text/image comp layer, activate keyframes for all four corner points,  and drag the corners to place the content where you want it.  Advance a couple frames and move them to match the new position/orientation of the surface.  Repeat as needed.  If you can get away with doing this every couple of frames, you'll save yourself some time, but there may be spots where moving the points on every frame would look better.  It all depends on your footage and where you're trying to drop your overlaid content.

    If your footage isn't as wild, you might be able to use the built-in tracking after all.  In that case, this tutorial might give you some ideas on how to approach it:


  • VFXArtistVFXArtist Website User Posts: 5

    Hi @jsbarrett

    Thank you for your reply. I figured a frame by frame manual placement would be the solution but was hoping for something faster/quicker and maybe easier.  I haven't used or added Mocha Hitfilm yet, but would it resolve motion heavy situations like this in a better and faster way? (i'm all for optimizing and streamlining processes if I can)! :)

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,275 Ambassador

    @Draven451 Mocha can probably help (I haven't looked at your original video, but, assuming you're tracking a snowboard, it has its own issues I'll get to in a minute).

    With mocha to track an object, first you have to camera solve, then do an object pass. A 3D location solve is arguably a better solution than a corner pin.

    That said, if the snowboard is constantly moving in and out of frame/occlusion, the computer can't track what it can't see. Even with tracking you'll end up with a certain amount of manual correction.

    Now, with a corner pin, manual tracking where you need it is a real pain. This is why I said a 3D position solve is a better solution. That's less fiddly. 

    A third option is Autodesk Matchmover. It's a 3D point tracker that can export data in a .ma format Hitfilm can read. It's free. I've only messed with it enough to verify it works, so I can't give tips on exporting only points you want. 

  • BobDiMarzioBobDiMarzio Website User Posts: 632 Just Starting Out

    Interesting.  Apparently the word Enigma is only briefly visible in addition there is no motion blur on the word unlike the rest of the action.


  • Juda1Juda1 Website User Posts: 300

    @BobDiMarzio: I also thought that it looks not so good. No blur, to clear compared to the rest and not visible throughout the scene. At beginning and end the original is visible. And that is noticable at 15 fps.

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,038 Ambassador

    @Triem23 Yes, it's a snowboard, but in the example video, the bottom was only visible for less than a second. That's why I felt like manual application with Quad Warp would be sufficient.  If it were a longer shot, I might've recommended Mocha, though I've not actually used Mocha yet, so I have no tips to offer.  In the end, it largely depends on the footage in question.

  • Juda1Juda1 Website User Posts: 300

    @Draven451: Do you have the source footage or only that vimeo with 15 fps?

  • VFXArtistVFXArtist Website User Posts: 5

    Hello guys,

    Thanks for all of the feedback. No I do not have the source footage as this is not my file just using as an example of something I may want to recreate in the future. I figured it most likely would have to be recreated manually due to the short time frame. I believe that lack of motion blur is intentional so people can see the name. 

    This is a great forum and I appreciate all of the comments! :) 

  • Juda1Juda1 Website User Posts: 300
    edited February 2018

    @Draven451: Here is an example similar to that above done with Hitfilm. Enjoy.

  • Juda1Juda1 Website User Posts: 300

    @Triem23: You mentioned a cam solve as an option. Now I wonder what you do with it. Adding a projector to the board? The camera and the skater are moving. So let's assume you got a cam solve - you still need to track the board to get a plane/mask for placing the content, or how would you do it?

    Just wondering, I tried to but can't see how you do it with a cam solve without the mask of the board. Can you explain it, please?

  • VFXArtistVFXArtist Website User Posts: 5

    @juda1 That is fantastic! Can you walk through the steps you did to create your video? Did you use Hitfilm Express? I'm still learning how to use the program and any tips and tricks I can learn are very helpful!

  • Juda1Juda1 Website User Posts: 300

    @Draven451: I use Hitfilm Pro but I am sure you can do this with Express and mocha too. So here is the workflow:
    First see what you need: The board has signs all below it, even at its round endings. So we need a track and a mask for the edges to get rid of that.
    Create a main comp and add the footage and the Hitfilm logo. Assign mocha effect to the footage and launch mocha. Add a layer, call it board track and track the board. Of course that was a bit tricky. Draw a plane around the center part of the board since it's edges are rounded. At beginning and end of the track do manual track. After that adjust the planar surface and set in an out points of that layer.
    Then add another layer, call it board shape, and draw a good shape around the board. Do that in the middle of the footage when it is best visible (so with starting tracking before). Link that layer to board track. Then adjust the shape throughout the scene so that it covers all of the board and also set in and out points of that layer the same as the first layer.
    Save the board track as corner pin and the board shape as shape data. Then close mocha and back in Hitfilm import the two composite shots.
    Now we first want to get the board complete black since the logo we want to insert is smaller. Add a black plane and copy the spline from the shape composite to it. Now we have a black board flying around. It is visible throughout the scene even when the original board is not visible, so set length to that layer to part where the board bottom is visible.
    Next add the logo to the main comp and from there choose create composite, call it LogoComp. Inside LogoComp stretch the logo so that it fits to screen. Then from the mocha composite "board track" copy the effect "quad warp" (which is the corner pin) to the logo in the LogoComp. Now when scrubbing through the timeline you see the logo flying around. Do adjustments to the logo if needed (size, basic rotation etc., mine was turned 90°).
    Back in main comp insert the logo comp on top of the layer stack. Now basically you have the black board with the logo stuck in the right place. At the point where the snowboarder is coming up the wall we need to mask out the logo and plane.
    So duplicate the footage and put that duplicate on top of the layer stack. Go to the first frame where parts of the board are visible the first time. Mask the snow so that parts of "our board" are masked out and are not visible and keyframe the mask path. Do that for the 4-5 frames where the board should be partial visible. When it is fully visible move the mask outside the screen so that it does not affect the scene anymore. Also do that on the frame before the mask is needed.
    Last thing I did was adding the blur effect to the layer LogoComp. And then: finished :)

  • VFXArtistVFXArtist Website User Posts: 5


    Thanks for detailing your steps to accomplish this. I'm more of a visual learner and will need to re-read this a few times to grasp how you did it. How long did it take you to make your video? Cheers to you!

  • Juda1Juda1 Website User Posts: 300

    It took me about 30 minutes I think.

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