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Prasenjit Mukherjee

Autonomous framing and subject tracking

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Hey Guys!

 

We aren't officially cinematographers, but a couple of friends and I like shooting footage with Drones and Gimbals (hand-held and otherwise). We noticed a problem sometimes (esp with shooting aerial footage) where it was hard to frame shots while controlling a moving platform.

 

We knew our way around computer vision techniques so we prototyped some autonomous tracking on just a laptop and camera. We are thinking of ways to put this on steadicams, gimbals and drones. I'm wondering if people have experience with something like this or would use something like this. We aren't camera operators, so I'd love to get some thoughts on it!

 

Here is some footage (the first ones actually on a gimbal, the second one is just GoPro footage put through our tracker)!

 

 

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That's what operators are for.

 

Like they say Drum machines lack soul and so do Autonomous framing and subject tracking computers

 

 

For sure! We envisioned this to mostly be a tool to help operators frame shots in difficult situations when the camera is mounted on a platform (Drone, cars etc.), awkward angles or to help track fast relative motion between operators and subjects. We were thinking of ways to make the actual operation easier while leaving the creative control and framing with the operator.

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well, I believe this certainly has its place in consumer market.

 

yet I do not believe it will get respect in the film world.

 

you see, everything in film is manual.... lighting, focus, movement. cuz you need control on everything. not a robotic

 

BUT ! I know a guy will love this... Dziga Vertov, Kino-eyes.... unfortunately he died 50 years ago.

 

it would be interesting if someone can continue to develop his idea in the film world.

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For sure! We envisioned this to mostly be a tool to help operators frame shots in difficult situations when the camera is mounted on a platform (Drone, cars etc.), awkward angles or to help track fast relative motion between operators and subjects. We were thinking of ways to make the actual operation easier while leaving the creative control and framing with the operator.

 

If operating was easy everyone would do it.

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Can I use this with a go pro and quad copter and the controller rides with me on my mt bike or while I'm skiing so it will just follow on a wide angle ?

 

Absolutely! That's exactly the kind of situation we are thinking of! Another user posted a link to a drone that can follow you, however it uses a GPS signal which is delayed because of the transmission delay, so it will be reactively following your position. With a camera, everything can be run onboard, making for a smoother, faster tracking experience!

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I think of you can develop this, it will be great for the consumer market. There isn't much demand for it in the professional market, though.

 

One of these was developed for the consumer market in the early 90's that tracked via an ultrasonic emitter worn by the "target". Everyone thought it was cool but no one bought it. It's a solution in search of a problem. Maybe the GoPro/Drone application is that problem.

 

Jim Bartell

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I've heard about this, so freaking cool, so if you guys can do what these guys are doing only better, well you sold one to me =)

 

in the mean time, i think Christmas present to myself is the 3-D robotics set up

 

way big fun

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