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Mathieu Prezelin / Lead Matchmove


Mathieu Prezelin

Lead Matchmove

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How / where did you learn what you know? Self-taught? School?

I have spent 3 years at ESMI school (Bordeaux, France), where I learned all the basics of 3D. After this school I had everything to work in any field of the 3D world and I began with Lighting, Rendering, Motion Design and Compositing at I CAN FLY in Bègles (France). Then, when I first moved to Montréal in 2016, I had the chance to choose between 3 companies where they all asked me if I was interested in Tracking/Matchmove. I said yes to Folks VFX and I learned by myself the world of tracking (with the help of Paul Wiens as mentor). In 2 weeks with many hours of work, overtime and late nights, I was ready to deliver shots. In a few months I had experienced as many bugs and bad situations as possible to find the best way to deal with hard shots. Since then I have learned a lot by digging in 3DEqualizer and the web to find what I could do to improve my work and efficiency.

What are the qualities and characteristics needed to be a good matchmove artist?

You need to love it, because many people will take this position as a beginning position in a studio and move after a few months or years to a more “interesting job”. You need to like technical stuff, understand the basics of a camera, lenses and distortion. You need to have a logical and quick mind as you will have to deal with many shots per day with their own challenges.

What keeps you motivated to stay in this industry?

I’m one of the few people that love tracking ahah but I will not deny that it permits me to have a comfortable life.

" YOU NEED TO HAVE THE EYE OF A CHASING ALBATROS "
What is the project you are most proud of? Why?

“Siren”, because it was the hardest and trickiest show I was involved with. As it was this show that permited me to discover and use mmsolver, this was a great opportunity to improve my work and apply new technologies to my field. The job of the whole team was stunning as we delivered an epic and beautiful sirens battle. We needed to communicate a lot between departments as new technologies were added to the workflow, a different approach from “basics” camera and object tracking.

What are the qualities or characteristics needed to accomplish your daily work?

You need to have the eye of a chasing albatros, to be quick as the sparrow and precise as the dart player.

What is the last tutorial you’ve listened to and why it helped you become a better artist?

It was a tutorial from Patcha Saheb about mmsolver IK Character Rig Solve. A long and awesome tutorial that explained a new way of matchmoving using projected tracking points to constraint the position or rotation (or whatever you want to constraint) of a Rig’s controllers (rig of human, animals, piece of paper.. anything, just be creative) I was able to use this technique in a show called Siren where actors and actresses were filmed underwater. Our goal was to body matchmove these “sirens”, add a siren CG body and keep the real face upgraded with siren’s scales in Comp. The mmsolver was here to help diminish the time allowed by body matchmovers in their task so they can begin with a face and shoulders well tracked and placed on the siren’s rig. Sometimes also wrist or elbows were added to the mmsolver workflow.

`` TRACKING POINTS WITH THE MOUSE AND KEYBOARD ON FIRE! ``
How do you deal with stressful situations?

I will talk directly with people concerned to see how we can manage the situation or find a solution to a problem. If it’s a personal stressful situation I will try to make a to-do list in order to correct this situation point by point so it will become less frightening, easier to approach. The big wall you have to jump over will become a ladder to climb.

How would you describe the quality of your physical environment? Desk, mouse, monitor?

At the moment I’m stuck with a half standing desk as I’m missing the wood to organize my devices (screens, mouse and keyboard) so the comfort is not here yet, nor the design but in a few days I will be set up and ready to be in a top-quality environment with a good view of the forest to keep my eyes in good health.

What do you think about overtime work?

Overtime can be useful when you begin a new job as you will need more time to learn and deliver shots. From time to time the company needs their employees to do overtime and I agree with that as long as it is occasional. Also, I don’t mind doing some overtime when I want to convert it later and enjoy some holidays. Work hard for future benefits !

What is your biggest strength?

I think the rapidity in the execution of my tracks (keeping good quality in the meantime) is my biggest strength. When we receive a 911 shot, I’m here to make the job! Tracking points with the mouse and keyboard on fire!

Tell me more about your last project?

The last project I worked on was Umbrella Academy, a big TV show on Netflix that needed us to reproduce the Dealey Plaza of 1963, where Kennedy was shot down in his car. A heavy burden on us as we needed to recreate an important event of history.

What have you accomplished on this project/shots?

I did camera tracking and some object tracking shots, 90% of them were projected on a LIDAR so we were able to have every camera in a good environment, position and orientation. I was also in charge of supervising the team of matchmovers, helping for hard shots and checking the quality of their tracking.

`` SURROUNDED BY GOATS AND TREES I HAVE NOTHING TO STOP ME DOING MY JOB ``
Do you think remote work is a viable solution for companies and what are the challenges?

For sure it is a viable solution and I have taken the leap with the help of Folks VFX to move to the countryside 3 weeks ago. Surrounded by goats and trees I have nothing to stop me doing my job and I will continue to be as productive as before. I think real challenges are to keep good communication with colleagues, to have a sufficient connection to be able to work without latency and to not be sad for not interacting with people from work.

What do you do to make your co-workers comfortable?

As I have a red beard, I think the best way to make my coworkers comfortable was to put on my awesome ginger cat shirt that says “the redhead f*** you.”

Are you available for freelance work?

I am available for some freelance work during this time as this is a slow period for many workers and companies. We could talk tracking, markers and green screen together.. yeah !

Describe your first feeling when you're asked for a job you’ve never done and you’re not sure you're capable of doing it? What do you do after?

First I will think “why me”. Then I will begin to do some research to see how I can handle it, what would be the best way to make this happen, what technology will I need to use, how can I trick the software to give me what I want. When I’m ready to try out all the solutions I have found, it’s go time. Then if I’m not convinced by the results and I have drained all solutions in my bag, I will talk with supervisors of other departments to see what I can do to help them using this “incomplete” matchmove.

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Marieve Pilon
marieve [at] 3dqub.ca

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