Question on Zoom and motion tracking

So I have been looking for a new video editor and I discovered hitfilm express. I'm currently using wondershare filmora and it's good but just not very powerful. For one thing it lacks tracking of any kind.


Then I find hitfilm and it has everything I want for free... or so I thought. I've been looking up tutorials but so far, I can't find if it can do what i want. I'm wondering if you can put a zoom in and having it attached to motion tracking. So, for example, you zoom in on a person in the background and the motion tracking keeps the zoom on that person as they move. Is this possible?


  • Off the top of my head, here's a rough idea that I think might work:

    • Make a new comp and add the footage that has the person you want to track.
    • Change this layer to a 3D layer (click the icon that looks like a checkerboard on the layer's line in the comp timeline). Click "Yes" in the dialog when asked if you want to make a camera.
    • Add a new point layer to the comp, and make it 3D as well . We'll use this point later.
    • Track the person you want to follow.  This may be tough, as the built-in tracker is designed to follow consistent, non-changing details in a shot.  Because the detail of a person is not very consistent from frame to frame, it might fail.  If the tracker can do it, apply the track data to the point layer you made, setting position keyframes only.  If the tracker can't follow the person, you'll have to track it by hand.  Just turn on keyframes for the Position attribute of the point, and move it every 3-5 frames to follow your person.  (The time between keyframes largely depends on how much the person is moving.)  Either way, you'll end up with the point following the person.
    • Select the camera that was added earlier, and look in the Controls tab.  Expand the Layer Properties section.  Next to Alignment, change it from "None" to "Towards Layer".  A new property will be added named Alignment Layer.  Change this from "None" to the point layer you made.  Now the camera will consistently aim at the point as it moves.
    • Adjust the Zoom property for the camera (under the Lens group) so that you're zoomed in sufficiently and aren't seeing the edge of your footage as the camera follows the point.
  • Thank you very much! I'll give this a shot later and let you know what I find. 

  • Okay, I finally got hitfilm installed (took forever,m kept freezing) and I gave your idea a shot.


    Unfortunately, it's not performing like expected. The camera does follow the target and it zooms in like expected but the problem comes when I want to zoom back out and make everything look 'normal' again, as if I was in 2D from the beginning.


    When I go into 3D and the 3d camera is added it cuts part of my video out and I can't get the camera angled properly so that it looks as if the viewer is just watching a video instead of being in a 3D space.


    Ultimately, my goal is to have a character on screen, have the screen zoom into said character for a few moments while I display text and then zoom back out. All while the character is moving. 

  • Can you share a screenshot showing the problem?

  • edited June 2017

    Well it's not a problem with the software exactly. At least I don't think so. I can send a screen shot later. 


    However, it's just that, since the video is being treated as in a 3d space, when the camera follows the tracking movement, it views the entrie video at an angle. What I would like to do is have the entire camera move, not just pivot to follow an object. Then when done, move back to its original position. 

  • In that case, one option would be to skip the camera aim step, and instead parent the camera to your point that's following the person in the footage.  Add a couple extra keyframes to that point's motion, with those keyframes set to 0 on X and Y, so you start with the camera (following the point) aimed at the very center, then it transitions to follow the character, and ends again aiming in the center.  It'll take some fiddling with timing and tangents to smooth out the transition on both ends of the shot between center and tracking, but it should do what you want.

  • I'll give it a shot and let you know how it works. 

  • edited September 2017

    hey uh do you think you could dumb it down a bit im new to hitfilm and video editing in general. I want to do the same thing that guy is talking about but specifically zoom in someones face and follow it as it moves around and then zoom back out. 


  • Yeah, I tried doing this but I got lost pretty quickly. 

  • Perhaps a video tutorial would be better?  I can add it to the project list for my HitFilm Quick Tip tutorial series.

  • That would be wonderful! Would you let me know when you do it? 

  • Just a quick update.  Got the VO recorded and edited.  Barring any major hiccups, I should be able to finish the video in the next day or two.

  • Thanks again for the help! 

  • Here it is.  While producing this, I realized my earlier response contained a mistake.  Instead of targeting the point with the camera, the camera should be parented to the point.  Technically targeting would still work, but as I think you noticed, it introduces some strange parallax effects.  Parenting avoids that, and keeps the camera perpendicular to the footage the whole time.


  • Oh my goodness, I got a video made to help my question and I even got mentioned and my name was EVEN pronounced properly!?

    You are the awesomesauce, thanks so much! 

  • My pleasure!  I honestly got lucky with the name.  It was a wild guess, but I'm glad it was the correct guess.  :)

  • You did great! This is going to make my let's plays so much more entertaining. I've been wanting to toy with the camera a lot but it's been hard for me. 

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