Tracking is an inevitable necessity while working in VFX. Sometimes it’s easy, sometime’s it’s a real pain in the ass. But with enough planning, you can make the mind numbing task of tracking so much easier on yourself. All it takes is a good look at your set, and some well placed tracking markers.
Which brings me to the topic of tracking markers. Now, it is known that high contrast, well defined corners track the most accurately by automated trackers, point trackers, user assisted trackers, and more. Also, it is recommended that a white circle with black triangle inside is best for automated tracking. But is that the best we can do?
Enter the Psyop tracking marker, developed by Joerg Liebold at Psyop, New York. This more intricate take on the standard triangle-in-a-circle marker sets the user up for more tracking options once the shot has made it’s way into your post program of choice. Instead of 3 corners, we have 24 (depending on what your definition of a corner is I guess…).
This more intricate tracking marker is much more resilient to the plethora of conditions any given shot might be exposed to. If half the marker is obscured by foreground elements, we still have about 10 tracking point options remaining.
Here is a quick example of a shot we recently did using multiple kinds of tracking points. Simple electrical tape in a cross shape on the back wall, and our Psyop marker in the mid-ground. The difference here is clear to see.
Any VFX supervisor would do themselves a great service to at least have a deck of these tracking markers in their back pocket and a roll of tape at all times while on set. You never know when or where you might need to slap down a few points, especially when shots change on the fly.