3D camera tracking has become an essential tool for most filmmakers—even if just for matchmoving titles to scene geography. But until fairly recently, the ability to recreate your scene inside a computer’s 3D space required expensive on-set Lidar survey, the result of which never seemed to quite line up with the 3D camera track. There are software solutions out there like Agisoft, but they’re quite pricey.
Now Meshroom offers exactly such a solution, for free. This is one of those surprising open-source projects that feels as polished as a commercial offering. Meshroom will take in your source footage and magically recreate a digital mesh representing the set pieces, along with a virtual camera solve. This is amazing for things like reprojection, object removal, adding depth of field in post, accurate depth relighting…the list goes on.
What’s the catch? Well the only real catch is that the documentation is currently pretty scarce (that’s where its open source roots start to show. The documentation that is out there focuses on Meshroom’s more common use as a 3D scanner tool.
Don’t sweat it though: over at Moviola.com we’ve put together a 20 minutes survival guide specifically focused on using Meshroom for film work. So grab some footage and head over to moviola.com for our completely free (like everything else on the site) guide to scanning your film set with Meshroom.