Pros: Simple-to-use Wizard that includes troubleshooting system, fast match moving. Based on Boujou 2, and all that program’s features are here.
Cons: Weak documentation, glitchy interface. OS X version requires a three button mouse. Manual geared for Windows system. Limited types of test objects.
With Boujou Bullet, 2d3 is attempting to take matchmoving to new markets. Its price is friendlier to smaller studios, and it’s automation has been improved – providing a subset of Boujou 3’s toolset as well as a step-by-step wizard that guides the user through what is a complex process. This opens up matchmoving to multi-tasking editors and compositors who don’t have the money to invest in expensive, rarely-used tools – or the time to invest in learning how to use them.
At the core of Boujou Bullet is Boujou 2 – which remains virtually unchanged with all of its features intact. The Wizard is the main addition, and this simplifies the process of generating a camera track, and covers most everyday situations. Boujou 3 is due out in the autumn. It promises an overhauled user interface, will take the automated tracking technology a stage further by adding tools for post houses working on large film productions. Boujou Bullet and Boujou 3 will be completely compatible.
Traditionally, matchmoving programs have a steep learning curve, but Boujou Bullet’s Wizard gently guides the user through a series of questions, that kick the main application into motion. The interface is clean and simple, and you can still keep total control of the output. There are plenty of options for further tweaking, as well as additional troubleshooting information, provided by its expert system. The Wizard can be turned off if you just want to use Boujou 2 without it.
The Wizard starts with importing the footage you want to track. It displays the start/end and allows specific chunks of the footage to be used. A wide range of material can be imported into Bullet, from QuickTime DV to the main cross-platform image types. Generally, footage comes in as sequenced images. Bullet auto-detects footage type, and handles interlaced video without a problem.
The two main types of camera move defined by Bullet are ‘free move’, which is the easiest to generate, and ‘nodal pan’ where a camera is fixed on a tripod and panned in any direction. Tracking data from nodal pans can be generated, but the resulting data needs to be handled in a different way in the 3D application.
The troubleshoot button becomes active for fine-tuning. For example, you can choose between three kinds of parallax, adjust blur settings, and give the scene a focus shift. Moving objects can be tracked themselves, or you can track the background.
When you’re ready, Bullet starts to track and gives the estimated time to completion as a final time as opposed to a counter. It’s surprisingly fast on even an older Dual 867 G4 machine with 1GB of RAM.
Annoyingly, the Wizard disappeared a few times when running through its choices. This problem wasn’t limited to just the Wizard, but some of the buttons in short cuts or task view windows either didn’t work or were slow to work. After the tracking of the scene is done, the Wizard offers further options to fine-tune. Scene geometry can be added, along with a moderate list of options revealed by the Related Task button – such as adding one or more of a small selection of basic test objects. With one of those in place its easy to see how successful the track was, as it should appear to be a seamless part of the video clip. If it’s jumping or drifting around at all then you need to go back and adjust some variables.
Once a robust track is achieved, you can export the data to all the major 3D and effects applications, across all platforms. 3DS Max, Cineon, Combustion, Filmbox, Flair, Flame, Houdini, Maya, Shake, Softimage|XSI and plain text are all supported. If there are problems with the data in the 3D program, Wizard lets you continue with further troubleshooting to refine the tracking. However, Bullet is let down not by the technical problems – though there are glitches that need to be addressed – but rather the severe lack of documentation and tutorials that accompanies it.
Both the manual and the tutorials just refer to Boujou 2 – thorough documentation of the Wizard and how it operates would be a major bonus.
Boujou Bullet is still an expensive program with various improvements needed. However, the new Wizard is easy to use, and relatively quick to learn. This feature will put it at the top of the list for two- or three-seat effects houses.