We have just completed a series of motion tracking informational style videos for a Global Performance Improvement Specialist, business consultancy.
The videos needed to be educational and instructional to introduce their new ‘P7 Way’ methodology. Our brief was to take static diagrams and models, required to explain the methodology and bring them to life!
We contemplated using a whiteboard animated scribing technique for this project which is a tried and tested format. Even though this style would lend itself very well to this project our client wanted us to push the boundaries of creativity even further. We introduced a brand new technique of filmed video combined with motion tracked graphics.
Project7 are a consultancy whose work predominantly involves giving some sort of work instructions in one form or another to groups of people. Our intention with this new video format was to emulate a P7 person presenting to camera – standing in front of large companies giving talks. Therefore we needed the essence of this to come across in the videos.
In order to bring in the diagrams and models that would be required in the video, we decided to use motion tracking to draw the diagrams. This format brings the diagram to life, right in front of the presenter.
Motion tracking is a new technique that is gaining in popularity. Screens for phones, TVs and computers are often motion tracked into a scene rather than being filmed. This is done for a couple of reasons, but perhaps the most important is that they can put whatever they want on the screen, it doesn’t have to be filmed, the content is added in during the editing process.
We selected this motion tracking style in order to create a truly immersive and engaging video experience. The combination of filmed footage showing a Project7 employee in ‘presentation mode’ along with the models and diagrams being shown in a convincing, yet reality questioning manner really holds the viewer’s attention.
Our biggest challenge for this project was planning which hand and movement would be required in order to gesture the build up and presentation of diagrams on-screen. In order for us to achieve this, we storyboarded the videos down the to the Nth degree. Once a project like this is captured on camera, it is not just a simple edit if we want to change the scene. The whole shoot would need to be re-done.
Videos attract a different audience, one that might not want to take the time to read a white paper or an article.
Following signoff of the storyboard, we had to then learn the actions to perfectly draw each of the diagrams. Whilst that sounds hard enough by itself, each action had to be learnt back-to-front. This is because the talent would be facing the camera and performing the actions for the viewers, not for himself; thus having to do them back-to-front.
To further make this process challenging, not only did the diagrams have to be drawn perfectly in thin air, but also drawn in time with the script!
Once we had completed all filming it was time to start the motion tracking. This process involves a few keys essential steps that must be done first. Step 1 is to track the motion; this is selecting a high contrast area and defining a tracking point that becomes the centre of the motion. In our case though, as the hands were moving pretty quickly whilst drawing the models, there was too much motion blur for the software to perform its ‘base track’, hence, this part needed to be performed manually.
We then defined the point of motion and tracked it by assigning a NULL object to the motion; this point becomes the parent to which everything that moves with this motion will be linked to. The next step was for us to create the models and diagrams. These needed to be drawn accurately to be constant with the materials that Project7 already use.
The final step is called rotoscoping, this is key to making the whole process look convincing and real. This is a process that involves hiding parts of the animation or diagrams where an arm or an item in the real world would be between it, and the camera. Without this, the whole illusion would be ruined and would not be realistic at all.
Following each of these steps and then editing the video to a narration gave us the final result which our client was very impressed with! Overall, these videos provided a fantastic and highly engaging way of showing the viewer some complex and involved information.