Why Matchmove Is Important for Integrating CG Elements into Live-Action Footage

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Why Matchmove Is Important for Integrating CG Elements into Live-Action Footage


Matchmove or Matchmoving, is one of the most important things for today’s VFX processes. It is also referred to as motion tracking and without it one cannot integrate the 3D/CG data into a live action video. Earlier this was a very tedious, time consuming and costly process, but with the advancements in technology, matchmove has become more efficient, affordable and a faster process. And a crucial part of the modern moviemaking and visual effects industry. Today, matchmoving is used across several mediums, that include movies, television, online video content, etc.

As, you might know VFX is basically the process of incorporating CG elements with the real-world footage. Nowadays, filmmakers use virtual camera to capture the motions and expressions of an actor who is emoting a character and scenes that look very different and those actions cannot be achieved with normal cinematography. This footage is known as live action footage and special cameras help record all of this in 3D and real time.


Matchmove in VFX

This helps ensure that all the data that will get rendered in the final video will be from the same angles as captured by the live action cameras. And this process of matching the movement of the footage captured through the special live action virtual camera is the beginning of the matchmoving process. And the job of rendering the final video and integrating CG elements into live-action footage is done on the desk of a VFX artist with the use of latest software and advanced computer systems.

There are various applications and software that have matchmoving capabilities and come handy in the process. These applications and software employ a tracking algorithm in order to lock and track multiple frames and the specific points that have been identified by in the footage.

Different Forms of Matchmoving

Generally, there are two different forms of matchmoving, two-dimensional i.e., and three-dimensional i.e., 3D.

2D Matchmoving: This process only helps track the features in a 2D environment, and does not integrate elements such as camera movement or distortion. If your shot doesn’t include any major changes in camera angles, then 2D tracking will work efficiently. For the reason that 2D tracking doesn’t affect the camera at all, it just carefully examines the footage to see what direction things are moving, and keep track of how they are moving. Therefore, it has limited usage and is mostly employed for replacing or changing the 2D image in the live action footage such as a program running on a TV or the advertisement on a billboard.

3D Matchmoving: This is more efficient and popular process as it makes it possible to incorporate 3D information into the available footage. Today, the technology has reached such competencies that the with the help of a 3D animation application one can create a virtual camera that allows allow the filmmaker to see the real-time representation of what the final footage may look like. This is called as real-time matchmoving and it is becoming popular among many production studios in the film industry.

Matchmove - Integrating CG Elements into Live-Action Footage

For example, the iron man suit in marvel movies is something created on a 3D matchmoving software. However, the method using which the suit becomes a part of Tony Stark is called tracking and rotomation. This process involves both camera tracking and object tracking.

However, this process is not totally accurate, but it is good enough to give the team a hint of what the film or video may look like and make changes/corrections if necessary. Nowadays, a lot of movies are shot in studios using green screen and this technology allows the crew to know about set extensions and CG characters that will be incorporated later.

Now that you know the importance of matchmoving in incorporating CG Elements into live-action footage, and if you have a project that needs these competencies, Toolbox can help you achieve that. Click here to know more.