Motion tracking freeware: PatchMaker 1.0

A quick tip, because writing about Churchyard reminded me…

PatchMaker 1.0 is a simple 2D motion tracking tool for Windows. It does only two things but it does them well and simply. It will either stabilise footage, or apply the same camera motion to a patch image (it will also export the tracking metadata into After Effects if you need to do something elaborate).

Although it’s only 2D tracking, it’s subpixel-accurate and easily good enough for any shot short of a crane or steadicam move. I tested it on Churchyard to attach a replacement name and date to a gravestone, but the trial version would only do 1 second shots – so, cheapskate that I am, I tried to do it by hand. Ouch.

I’m glad I didn’t buy it though, because it’s now FREE!

So in Monsters, I stabilised a slightly wobbly 1080p dolly shot. We had done several takes on set until it was silky smooth – but of course during editing I particularly needed a bit from the imperfect tail end of take 2. It required a little experimentation to find the best tracking points, especially since actors were passing in front of the background I was trying to track, but the end result almost eliminated the wobble. I suspect it could have been perfect if I’d spent longer refining it.

Grab it while you can!

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