Case Study: 3D Motion Tracking with a Drone

Case Study: 3D Motion Tracking with a Drone

I recently visited Coron, Palawan in The Philippines and was fortunate to have the opportunity to rent a private boat and shoot in some incredible locations. While putting together a travel film for this location, I realized the potential for a hyper-lapsed drone shot, with 3D text flybys! The final shot is below.



...you may want to hit replay a few times to catch all of the elements, its a short clip and they happen very fast!

So, as I mentioned, this shot has several elements: First and foremost is the drone flight itself, which serves as the base for the entire effect. The raw flight is posted below for reference.

The second element is the extensive post production applied to the drone footage. This can be broken down further into Color Grading and Speed Ramping.

In a rare/ odd case, the color grading process is the first step (its typically last). Below, you can see the original drone clip in real time. The colors are fairly natural, but we need them to really pop. With such an incredible location, the color story needs to match its intensity. The vibrance of the blue ocean is increased, and details are pulled from the lush, tropical trees on each island the drone visits.



Also from the above clip, you can also see that the actual flight time is fairly slow, and the motion is even inconsistent at times. That is where the speed ramping technique came in really handy at hiding those imperfections. The reality of the situation is that this was the best attempt of several. This incredibly difficult shot was very expensive to pull off in comparison to something we can produce in a studio or at the (less tropical, less remote) location of your choice.

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The 'speed-ramping' effect can only be done once I know the placement of the clip in the final edit. This is because I am modifying the speed of the clip to match the music.

You can see from the source footage in the linked clip above that the drone is sped up, at times, up to 1500 percent. It is the fine tuning of this speed ramping that helps create a dynamic visual impact. Timing IS everything.



In the video above, the 3D tracking points are left on to illustrate the power of choice. Each one of those colorful indicators is a point, in 3d space, that the software knows about. I was able to choose the points most applicable to the effect I wanted to create. Having more creative control, leads to a more visually impactful result.

We can finally create something that looks this photo realistic in 3d space, on a laptop. Just a few years ago this was an effect that you would need a Hollywood post production house to pull off.

Let us work together and come up with a way to incorporate this highly impactful visual technique into your marketing and social media.

Its OK to think small, it can be a salad prep flyover in your restaurant, 3D text highlighting your handmade products, or cinematic color grading and speed ramping on a walk-thru of your facility.

Email me to get started!

Post by Joshua Orozco