I have searched everywhere on the Internet and Autodesk forums for how to use Helper Images with MatchMover to introduce parallax into a video sequence. Most of the links lead to old RealViz documents that describe how ‘simple, useful, and convenient’ Helper Images are, but fail to give a working example of them.
Here is what I am currently doing:
1) I load a “Sequence” of the main video footage which is a simple pan shot across a picnic area at a local park.
2) Next, I load an “Image” which contains a still shot of the same scene from another angle. (When I try to load two helper images at the same time as the RealViz documentation suggests, MM loads them both at the same frame number which puts them on top of each other and renders them useless). The single frame that I load in this explanation appears under the Images Sequences folder in the project with a different icon, and shows on the timeline at the next available frame number as expected.
3) Finally, I place 8 trackers at the same points in both the main sequence and the helper image sequence. The 8 trackers define two planes, and two arbitrary points in the scene which do not exist in either of the two planes.
4) When I solve for the camera, MatchMover ignores the helper frame, and the camera solve is awful as a result.
Here are my 4 questions:
1) Does the Helper Image functionality of MatchMover work, or has it ever worked since AutoDesk took over the product?
2) What critical step is required to cause MatchMover to view the Helper Image as a simple extension of the original video sequence for the purpose of introducing parallax?
3) Why does the File/Load Image functionality exist if MM ignores additional images?
4) Who is responsible for MatchMover? How are bugs reported for the product since there is no “Report Bug” menu option like there is in Maya? I have a list of 15 easily reproducible bugs in MM that I give to my students every semester.
While searching for the appropriate forum in which to post this, I actually came across a request of my own from 3 years ago asking for a MM forum. Really AutoDesk...really? 3 years?
I asked the same question nearly a year ago, but no response as yet.
Other than the Help and some very basic stuff on Youtube, the only source of info about MM has come from Louis Marcoux who has put some tutorials in his blog, but nothing about helper images. Would he know how to do it?
It seems it’s working almost as you suggested, but you have to include the helper frames in the workarea, using the yellow flags in the timeline. Then use one helper frame as reference frame 1 and one from the sequence as reference frame 2 or vice versa. Now they should be taken into account when solving the camera.
I had the same problem you describe with importing multiple helper images in one go. If you import them one by one they get placed on seperate frames, but get seperate cameras also. You have to reassign them to the same camera (assuming they were shot with the same) and delete the obsolete ones.
Try switching to 4-panel view by pressing space, then freeze time in every view by pressing the hourglass icon. Now adjust the view to individual helper frames by pressing shift+PgDn or +PgUp. Now you can create new tracks and place them on 4 different frames quickly.
Hope this helps to get your nodal pans and locked shots tracked with MM.
Oh, by the way, do you still have this list of reproducable bugs? That might come in handy for me and my students, too. Please share!