There are a lot of ways to add callouts to footage, but callouts that follow motion require plug-ins with a tracking mechanism. So far, I had only tried motionVFX’s mCallouts. These I have always found spectacular but rather limited in their use while the Mocha-driven tracking sometimes drives me up the wall. Now FxFactory has released Tracking Callouts, an Idustrial Revolution plug-in that seems to use point tracking instead of Mocha’s planar tracking and I found that one easier to use.
Idustrial Revolution’s Tracking Callouts is a set of a generous proportion of callout templates. When you want to add a callout to footage, you select a Tracking Callout template from the Titles Inspector, drag it to the timeline, lengthen it to your liking and hit the tracking button. The tracking controls are the first you’ll see by default. Tracking controls are on-screen with a large resizable tracker rectangle dead centre. Position the rectangle over the object you want to track, resize it so it fits and hit the forward and/or backward tracking button and a small window will pop up showing you what exactly is being tracked. When the actual tracking process has finished, the popup will show a progress bar for the keyframes being added and that’s it.
The tracking mechanism is very straightforward and you can track really small objects without a problem. That’s not always the case with Mocha’s tracker, which is really meant to track in more complex environments, like objects that change with perspective changes, etc.
Once the tracking has finished successfully – you can easily start over again if it doesn’t – you select the template customisation button from the Inspector. Unlike other callout plug-ins I’ve reviewed, Tracking Callouts allows you to literally customise everything, from the position of the callout’s line to the tracked object, the colour and thickness of the shapes and the lines the callout is made of and more. This also sets it apart from motionVFX’s customisation flexibility which is good but lacks, for example, the ability to move the callout’s starting point from the tracked object to something else.
With Tracking Callouts, the position of the connection line can be changed and even the point where the callout connects to whatever it is you’re focusing on, so the connection point need not necessarily be on the tracked object. If you want to point to something else that moves in sync with what you’ve tracked – or something totally out-of-sync, which would be horrible to look at, but that’s creativity, right? – that’s OK too.
The advantage is that you can track something that is easy to follow while the title is active. That results in faster tracking results and better alignment with the motion of the tracked object.
The customisation features of Tracking Callouts lets you make something truly unique, including font, colours, shape size, line bends, etc, etc and all that in a matter of minutes.
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