MotionVFX already had Simple Callouts for Final Cut Pro X. Now they also have mCallouts Tech, a more technically inspired set of callouts. Both products are based on mocha Pro tracking functionality. Because of that, the mCallouts Tech reminded me of CoreMelt’s TrackX capabilities, but there’s a difference: mCallouts is limited to one purpose, but better at that.
If you want to spruce up footage with callouts, for example when you’re explaining features in a product or showing how something works, mCallouts Tech has more than one advantage. First of all, the design of the callouts themselves is both attractive and flexible. They look great and you can manipulate the different components of each callout to your own liking — including turning off individual elements.
mCallouts Tech don’t just look nice, they also track your object the best way possible. You wouldn’t expect anything less from mocha’s Oscar-winning technology, but the tracking behaviour of mCallouts Tech callouts is near-perfect. It’s actually near-perfect in more than one respect. On my machine, which is getting a bit outdated for tracking video, mCallouts Tech is fast too. And that’s due to the clever way the motionVFX developers have implemented the tracking process.
With CoreMelt’s TrackX, you’re tracking as a Timeline effect in the main footage window. This means that Final Cut Pro X needs to render every frame at the same resolution and size as your actual footage. With 720p my machine has no problem doing that. With 1080p it becomes less than optimal. With a 2K frame size, the performance drops to a ridiculous state of choppiness and at 4K the iMac’s fans are running at scary speeds, without happening much else.
Not so with the way motionVFX has implemented the mocha functionality. An mCallout Tech callout is actually a title. Once you’ve placed its tracking dot on a plane in the footage you want to track, you’ll see the first difference: a small toolbar with a Track button, a Reverse checkbox and a Clear button will appear. With your playhead anywhere on the Timeline, you’ll first click the Track button to go forward. At that moment, a small window will appear on top of your viewer display. This window shows a zoomed version of the tracking dot and the number of frames that remain to be tracked forward. A progress bar shows how far you’re in the process. The zoom window shows when your tracking dot starts losing its focus, so you can stop the process, find a better plane to track and start over again. In some cases,, and because mCallouts Tech callouts are titles, you can play with the position of your title.
When the forward tracking has finished, you don’t need to place the playhead in the timeline where mCallouts Tech started tracking in the first place. Instead, you just check the “Reverse” checkbox and another zoomed window pops up and shows you the reverse tracking process. The tracking itself is happening much faster because you’re not rendering anything through the Final Cut Pro X render engine. It’s a small zoomed in portion you’re rendering out, and that makes a huge difference.
There’s one advantage of the CoreMelt system that you can’t get with mCallouts Tech. With the former, you get almost the same power as with the full mocha Pro application with regards to the tracking itself. For example, with TrackX you can fine-tune the tracking results, even add mocha keyframes (which are different from Final Cut Pro X’s keyframes) and keep your callout, or whatever else you’re adding to the footage, closely related to the plane you’re tracking. That works even if your tracking plane is far from ideal.
With mCallouts Tech that isn’t possible, although you can keyframe all of the parameters of the effect — as is standard in Final Cut Pro X. You can keep your callout’s design elements pointing to the right scene object as long as the tracker doesn’t lose its focus completely. If it does, then you will need to start over with a different plane to track and perhaps your callout will slightly drift from where you want it to be. The best way to tackle that problem is to increase the size of the tracking rectangle itself.
Nevertheless, I managed to keep mCallouts Tech callouts where I wanted them to be in 90% of the cases. The 10% where I couldn’t, I would have had a lot of tweaking to do to make it happen with TrackX as well — but TrackX will enable you, while mCallouts Tech won’t.
mCallouts Tech offers you some 50 callouts powered by mocha’s technology. The callouts vary from single line texts, to multiple line texts, to drop-in videoclips even. It’s a very flexible and powerful plug-in with callouts that have been designed with much care, with some having gorgeous futuristic looks.
mCallouts are titles and they render fast. However, your tracking plane should be well chosen. It should be a plane that mocha Pro can track without the need to keyframe or tweak the tracking itself. If you need that kind of functionality, then TrackX offers more control. On the other hand, mCallouts Tech is incredibly fast, while TrackX is rather slow.
mCallouts Tech costs approx. €60.