Working with the Motion Tracker
Video: Working with the Motion TrackerMotion tracking automatically fallows an object in your clip and creates a motion path to which you can attach items so that they can move along with that moving object. Items like words, or clip art, or another video clip, or a video effect. Here is how it works. I am going to start with my daughter Jeanine here going down the zip-line. I am going to follow this motion as she goes down the zip-line. I could do that, I could track that manually using what are called keyframes, but boy oh boy that would be difficult. So, I am going to try to use the Motion Tracking mode to do that.
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In Premiere Elements 9 Essential Training, author Jeff Sengstack breaks down the editing workflow into bite–sized pieces, covering topics from setting up a project to exporting the final video to any format. The course also covers the basics of editing and advanced features like picture-in-picture overlays and audio and visual effects. Exercise files accompany the course.
- Touring the interface
- Creating a new project
- Capturing video
- Downloading assets and importing media
- Arranging, rearranging, and deleting clips
- Adjusting clip lengths
- Applying video transitions
- Working with video effects
- Animating effects
- Recording, editing, and mixing audio
- Automating edits
- DVD authoring
- Saving and sharing movies
Working with the Motion Tracker
Motion tracking automatically fallows an object in your clip and creates a motion path to which you can attach items so that they can move along with that moving object. Items like words, or clip art, or another video clip, or a video effect. Here is how it works. I am going to start with my daughter Jeanine here going down the zip-line. I am going to follow this motion as she goes down the zip-line. I could do that, I could track that manually using what are called keyframes, but boy oh boy that would be difficult. So, I am going to try to use the Motion Tracking mode to do that.
So I am going to take my Current Time Indicator at the beginning here. Make sure the clip is active and click on this little icon here, the Motion Tracking mode. That opens up this dialog box that says, hey, do you want Auto-Analyzer to track moving objects inside this image? And the answer is almost 100% no, because what it's going to do is it going to see that as I pan my camera, this tree for example, will be a moving object, and I don't want to track that one, and it's going to try to find everything that's moving in the screen and boy, that could be a mess. All kinds of objects selected.
I just want to select only Jeanine. So, I am going to say No. And that puts this little rectangle here and the rectangle is what you use to define the object that you're going to track. So, I am just going to drag it over to Jeanine here. I am going to adjust the corners of this little rectangle. To kind of focus on her purple shirt and her blonde hair. You need to help the Motion Tracker. You need to find things that are distinctly different in the background. So, color can be different or contrast can be different, and so purple certainly is different. So we'll go with that. Beside her leg is going to go up and down so it'll may be hard to follow. So we'll stick with the purple shirt.
Once we got that defined, I say okay, let's track the Object. then we're going to watch the progress and see how it does. It's going along. It's about the third of the way through the clip. It's about a halfway through the clip, ooh, and then it jumped to the end. So, what it did was it played the clip in the background, tried to follow Jeanine's purple shirt and blonde hair, and at some point it just lost touch. Let's see where that is. We'll follow the yellow box here and you'll notice that the yellow box will change size and aspect ratios as it moves along, as Jeanine moves. So it's accommodating the changes there but at some point it's just going to disappear, like right about there when it gets into the shade.
But it follows her that far and we can attach an object to follow her that far as well. So, I am going to go back to the beginning here. We will attach something to her to follow along and the object I want to attach is a piece of clip art. All kinds of clip art comes with Premiere Elements and I go to Edit > Clip Art, and here is the clip art. If you click Show All, you can see that there are just tons and tons of stuff, but I want to look for something animated. So, I go to Animated Objects, scroll down. I really like this yellow butterfly. It's so bright and distinct. I am going to drag that over. So, when I drag it over, you won't see the butterfly, but you'll see that this box will turn blue.
Once I drag something into the screen, the blue box says, "You are now attaching me to this moving object," and you can position this object anywhere you want. So, I am going to drag it over. It will turn blue. See the box turned blue, and I'll let go here, and there will be the butterfly. What I want to do now is make the butterfly kind of fit the motion by putting it behind her and kind of angling it to go downhill with her. So, I am going to rotate it. Now, to rotate things like this, these little objects in the screen with the bounding box around them, just hover your cursor, kind of run on the outside and see it turn into a curved two-headed arrow? That means you can rotate it by just dragging your cursor around.
So, I am going to move it right through there, rotate it like so, and now I've got it at the angle that I want to kind of go downhill with her, but I want it to go behind her. So, I click here inside the box and drag it behind her. Here we go. Remember it's still attached to her. I'll make it larger, make it really big butterfly. There we go. That's pretty big. This will be an animated little object that follows her. So, now, notice what happens. When you do this process, when you attach something to a motion or a motion-tracked object, that object is placed here on Video 2 above this clip on Video 1.
It's going to be a layer above it and will appear above it with transparency around it. Only that butterfly will show up. But the thing about an animated object from the clip art is that the animation last for only a few seconds and then stops. So, when we get to the end of this little butterfly and she'll continue down the hill and there won't be any butterfly flying with her. So I need to attach another object to her, another butterfly, and try to match the position of this as well as I can. So I am going to jump ahead here to the end of this butterfly and press Page Up to get the first frame after the butterfly.
Page Up is a shortcut to go back to the previous edit point, and we go back to butterfly again, but I need to select this clip again. You need to select Motion Tracking again, turn this thing off again. Now, that little yellow object is selected again but just later into the clip. Drag this one over again, a little blue box appears, but now I need to match the butterfly's shape and size to the other one that's on there, to try to have them sort of appear as if it's one butterfly. So, there is that size of that butterfly.
That little gray thing there is actually the Motion Tracking keyframes but I'll just drag this guy a little bit here, and more or less match the size of the one that's up there. It doesn't have to be exact because butterflies are fluttering anyways. So if it's a little bit off, no one will notice. Now, I am going to drag it right on top of that other guy to have it pretty much match that butterfly. There you go. So now when I go from this butterfly clip to that one, you won't even notice that I've changed it and it'll still follow the motion. And we'll just click away now and accept that.
If I need to add a third one, I could, but we'll just stick with two. It becomes complicated otherwise. So now we're ready to go. We're going to just start this clip and see what that looks like. (Speaking on camera: So I'm ready to go.) Standing by. I am ready to go, Jeanine, hop on, here we go, and now I am ready to follow you. And there's the edit right there and you didn't even see the edit, right? And off we go down the zip-line. Perfect! It worked out really well. So that's how you would track motion and add a clip to it. I want to add something else to motion. I am going to go to the shark clip, try to track this one. Now, if I start the motion tracking right there, that fish will probably make it difficult.
So I am going to go a little bit farther forward by pressing the Arrow key to get the fish out of the way. I am going to select the clip. Click on the Motion Tracking tool. Say No. Now I am going to move this guy over the shark's mouth. Let's say and drag that as best we can. Oops. Come on, there we go, there we go. See if we can follow the mouth and the head a little bit, and if I go back farther, it will get that fish in the way, so we'll start right here on the clip.
Click on Track Object and we'll see how this guy does. Oh, it just jumped right ahead as if couldn't track it at all. So you notice how it disappears. So, sometimes things don't work very well. So I'll try it again, track it again. Pull it up there, try it again this time. Maybe because the blue is too much like the blue in the background. Zoom it a little bit tighter and try to focus mainly on the darker mouth. Let's see how we do. Track the object again this time, and now it's following it pretty well. It got a little ways into the clip.
You can see that it got a little ways. It's right about here then it's going to turn away. So that followed it pretty well right to there and it's gone, because the mouth disappears. So now I want to attach something to that. Make sure I click it again, make sure that Motion Tracking Mode is turned on. If I go over here to the Clip Art, I can select what are called Thought and Speech Bubbles, and so if I am going to select a thoughtbubble here, this one for example, I can drag that over and when I do that, the Change Text box opens up saying, what kind of text do you want to put inside this thought bubble? So, I want to put down HUNGRY! Inside the thought little thought bubble, and there is the thought bubble.
We drag it above the fish. And now let's see if we can track that with the HUNGRY! Now, before, because it was animated, we had a limit to how far the clip could go, but, with the static image, I can drag it to the right because it's static, and expand and lengthen it and not worry about the fact that it's animated. So, we can let that guy go a little bit farther and let's just see what happens here. HUNGRY! Back-and-forth, back-and-forth, and you can always change the location for it relative to the shark.
Eventually we're going to lose touch with the shark. So I can trim it down a little bit, and what's kind of cool about when you add things like this is that you can apply transitions to it, just to make it go a little bit more smoothly when it comes on screen and goes off screen. So, I am going to put a Cross Dissolve at the beginning of this speech bubble, put a Cross Dissolve at the end, and now let's see what happens. HUNGRY! And now it'll fade away. So that's how you use the Motion Tracking tool.
I think it's a very cool tool, but you may find that no, it's kind of a hit-or-miss proposition, but when it works, it really is fun. Now, if you want to go back and work with these assets again, you'll discover that all these motion tracking tracks are still attached to the clips, and you'd probably want to unattach them and start over again. So, let me just go back to this first clip, click on it, click on this little Motion Tracking tool, we'll say No to this question again because you can always track twice. Let me just see if I can grab that little motion track there right there so we can do that.
Move you out of the way perhaps. That might be causing problems, move that out of the way too. There we are. Once it's turned blue like that, you can right-click and say Delete Selected Object, and I will get rid of that motion track. And if you've got more than one motion track, if you've made two for some reason, then you can right- click and say Delete All. So that's basically how you can go back and undo those motion tracks so you can start over again from scratch.
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