AE Project (cs 5.5)
impossibleengine.com/uploads/fisheye_workflow_ae.zip

We recently completed a project for Freescale Semiconductor's booth at Computex that we're really proud of. Not just because we think it turned out really cool, but also because we overcame some fairly substantial workflow challenges. We thought we'd share this in the event it might help someone else out as we put quite a few hours into r&d.

The concept was basically people using devices to interact with their world, playing off the freescale tagline "your interface to the world". In this scene, our actor is looking for a place to eat and though his phone has access to all sorts of information like navigation and reviews and so on applied as overlays in the scene. We chose this scene because it has almost all of the elements in it we used across the project. There is a syntheyes solve, a mocha track / screen key, and of course the insane fisheye lens distortion.

There are really only 3 HD POV contenders in the consumer/prosumer market right now. The Contour, the GoPro and the VIO POV. Sony makes a POV camera as well but the footage is interlaced and would have added another layer of complexity to the process, as well as make tracking more difficult, so it was disqualified from consideration.

We shot this footage with the VIO POV HD camera. We would love to have shot this with a professional camera rig, but the nature of the shoot (mounting camera between the eyes) and the budget called for a more DIY approach. We went with the VIO because we felt like the picture quality was better than either the Contour or the GOPRO, especially indoors, but more importantly there was less rolling shutter. Also an enormous deciding factor, the VIO was the only one of these cameras that has a way to monitor in real time (although the new contour + appears to have monitoring capabilities), which was important for framing purposes. After some experimentation we ended up mounting the camera on a bike helmet and trailed along behind the actor with the viewfinder giving direction.

You'll notice a fair amount of autoexposure going on and on the darker shots there was definitely a fair amount of motion blur to contend with, but overall, it did a pretty good job for us on this guerilla-style shoot. You'll notice we covered up the screen with paper for tracking in a replacement and also for keying later in post.

The biggest challenge we faced was definitely the lens distortion. We needed to track the footage in SynthEyes to solve for our 3D camera and place layers convincingly in the scene, as well as in Mocha to do all of the necessary screen replacement and rotoscoping. The issue here is that we needed the graphics and screens we inserted in the scene to match the lens distortion of the shot footage.

Thanks to Victor Wolansky and FXphd for pointing us to the AE workflow for the lens distortion. Maybe this will help someone, feel free to drop us a line if you have any questions!

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