How to: Shoot a personalized scene

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Personalizing a scene involves overlaying the users information (e.g. name, or photo) onto the video. In order to make it look realistic and take the correct perspective, tracking points must be visible within the video. These tracking points are then followed by software that will properly overlay the users information.


BeforebeforeWatch Video
afterWatch Video



1) Create a rectangular and symmetrical grid of at least 4 high contrast tracking dots on the surface that you want the users information to be added to (See below for more details on what makes an effective grid)

2) Make sure the entire grid of dots is visible in your footage. They don’t need to appear very large in the footage, but each dot needs to be distinctly visible in the footage captured.


What makes an effective grid

1) Dots are a high contrast colour vs the surface they are affixed to. For example: If it is a dark room, use reflective tape to make the dots shine white. Or, if it is a green wall, use red dots.

2) Grid is rectangular and symmetrical – each dot is the same size and are evenly spaced both horizontally and vertically.

3) Surface is flat – while the surface that the grid is placed on doesn’t need to be perfectly flat, a highly curved surface will look unrealistic when a name or photo, which are flat to begin with, is added.

4) Size of dots in grid is set so that each dot is just visible within the footage. If the dots are too big, it will be hard for the software to mask them when producing the final result.

5) Grid is at the right scale (or larger) than the content you want to add. For example, if you want a name to appear to be the height of a nickle, then set up the grid to be at least the height of a nickle.


Considerations when filming

1) Plan the scene so that transitions, where the grid will come into and out of frame, are as short as possible.  This increases the accuracy by limiting the time that any one dot is out of frame. If you must have a longer transition, then use more dots in your grid to compensate for lost accuracy.

2) Check lighting and dot visibility with camera being filmed with. Since colours and lighting picked up each camera differs slightly and view finders aren’t always accurate to what is recorded, confirm that the grid is visible and high contrast with actual recorded footage from the camera you are going to use.



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On September 11, 2014

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