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iOS Tracking to Final Cut Pro -Who Has the Missing Link?

We seem to be so close to coupling two Apple technologies together to achieve something really cool. But at the moment, they are miles apart.

First off, if I knew more about programming, I wouldn't be writing this article, I'd be making a plugin for Motion and/or Final Cut Pro that did what is about to described!

Secondly, (Here's the big spolier) at the moment to our knowledge, this isn't possible with the iOS/FCP/Motion combination, without doing a huge multi-app workaround.

What are we on about?

Using the tracking data from an iPhone to automatically place objects in 3D space on the accompanying video in Final Cut Pro or Motion. Imagine being able to shoot a piece to camera and then have graphics pop up in 3D around the presenter.

Now, if you are thinking this would be extremely difficult to do, you would be right, until a few months ago when FXhome released CamTrackAR. This is an iOS camera app that captures tracking data when it shoots. All made possible by the clever harnessing of Apple's VR technology available in the iOS/iPhone.

CamTrackAR interface 1024x473 1

That data then gets imported into the companies' Hitfilm NLE or third party apps like Blender & After Effects (using an in-app purchase) with compatible tracking data format.

Then in your NLE or compositing app of choice, you can add your 3D models or text floating in space etc.

Adding tank to scene in CamTrackAR

So if Apple is providing the hardware to run not only the capture of this data, but also the reconstruction and 3D compositing in a Mac, why can't we use this data in Motion? It has 3D capabilities including controlling a camera, 3D objects and more.

The answer is right at this moment you can't import data tracking. You can link tracks from other trackers within Motion, but there is no access to 'external' tracks. What a disappointment!

We could see hundreds of uses for this, from YouTubers and flying graphics jazzing up their monologues, to tagging items in a tour around a property for sale.

After at least five miners of serious Googling, we are pretty sure it can't be done. The closest answer we got was Motion expert Fox Mahoney exporting a track out of Motion Just.

There must be a way to take this tracking data and build a 3D Motion project automatically with the camera footage included. Apple and FXhome have done the majority of the hard work, we just need some programming or XML glue between the two apps.

Do you know a way? We would love to hear your possible solutions in the comments below.

In the meantime, just to get you more depressed, here's the demo video of CamTrackAR. 

 


Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.

 

BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.

FCP.co

Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!

 

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RskikR's Avatar
RskikR replied the topic: #111957 06 Jan 2021 19:25
Is what you're describing any different to mTracker 3d?
Ben Balser's Avatar
Ben Balser replied the topic: #111961 06 Jan 2021 20:19
I'd love to see MotionVFX integrate this into mO2 and mTracker3D.
peteramwiggins's Avatar
peteramwiggins replied the topic: #111963 06 Jan 2021 20:58
This takes the data directly from your iPhone so you don't need to track anything
RskikR's Avatar
RskikR replied the topic: #111968 07 Jan 2021 02:42
Thanks for the reply. It would be great to have but it’s stilll specific to one camera, your iPhone right? Any Go Pro, Canon,Sony, Osmo Pocket etc would be missing out. Still a late iPhone produces great quality video under the right conditions.
VideoMonkey's Avatar
VideoMonkey replied the topic: #111996 09 Jan 2021 16:39
The SONY A7SIII has tracking/stabilization data built in too and can be accessed with Catalyst App, but if you could get to it directly in FCPX, that would be amazing!