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I’m frustrated

Where is info on how to use Face Tracking in Prem Elem 8 ??

On pg 5 of Premiere Elements 8 Missing Manual there's a teaser re: Face Tracking. "You can create a label and have that label follow that person around your video as you edit." I expected to find some information in the book on how to use this feature. But I haven't found it yet. Am I just missing it, or was I misled by the teaser?

Tom Hayden
Chelmsford, MA
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this question
  • The face label feature works in the Elements Organizer and works only with still photos, not with video. The description on page 5 should have clarified that. If we reprint the book, I'll make that clear, and thanks for pointing it out.
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    • Chris

      I may not have asked the question you answered. What I'm interested in is putting a label on objects in my videos, and having those labels track the objects as they move. That's what I thought the following book statement meant, "You can create a label and have that label follow that person around your video as you edit."

      I'm not concerned with organizer features at this point. The new motion (or object) tracking feature is talked up in every review I've read of Prem Elem 8, so I assume the product actually offers it. I also expected The Missing Manual to treat it to some degree, but I haven't been able to find it.

      Please answer this question.

      Thanks in advance,

    • Chris

      Sorry about the 5 comments I inadvertently added. Slow system response time plus lack of feedback to my attempt to add a comment caused me to repeat the action.

      I found a statement in an online review of Prem Elem 8 that describes the feature I'm trying to learn how to use.

      "Motion Tracking allows you to select an object and track it throughout the scene. This can be used to apply a “Cops” style face blurring effect. Just select the object you want to track – a person’s face in this instance – and apply the effect. Premiere Elements 8 will then track and apply the effect to that object throughout the scene. This tool can also be used to insert clipart or other objects into a scene."

      Is this described somewhere in The Missing Manual?


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  • Tom--

    Motion tracking isn't covered in much detail in the book, so here's a better description:

    Premiere Elements 8
    Motion Tracking with a Label

    Premiere Elements 8 has a feature called “motion tracking” that identifies moving objects in a video clip and lets you attach clipart to those objects. It’s one of those features we Missing Manual authors refer to as a gem in the rough. It works but it’s not perfect. For example, if there is a lot of camera movement, it makes it harder for Premiere to identify moving objects. That said, you may find it handy for chores such as attaching labels to some of the characters in your video.

    In a thumbnail, here’s how it works. When you turn on Motion Tracking mode, Premiere places frames around objects that it identifies as moving in the scene. These moving objects can be a car, people’s faces or as shown in the example below, a dog named Lola. You can attach clipart to those frames so that the artwork follows the frame around the screen. Clipart could be something as simple as an arrow, or it could be text that identifies the moving object.

    Premiere identifies moving objects with the Auto-analyzer tool. That means if your Elements Organizer preferences have Auto-analyzer turned off, you’ll need to run Auto-analyzer before motion tracking and do its work. That’s easy enough to do because Premiere prompts you as needed, as explained in the example below.

    Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use it:

    1. Drag a video clip to the Premiere Elements timeline or the monitor.

    For your first attempts, it’s probably best to practice with one short clip.

    2. Below the monitor, click the Motion Tracking mode button as shown in the image below.

    The Motion Tracking mode button looks like three yellow circles. Like the other toggle buttons below the monitor, when Motion Tracking mode is on, this button shows a thin rectangle highlight.

    3. If you see the dialog box, as shown below, asking to Auto-Analyze the clip, go ahead and click Yes.

    After the clip is analyzed, Premiere places yellow rectangles around the moving objects.

    4. If Premiere identifies a moving object that you don’t want to track, right click the frame and then choose Delete Selected Object.

    The tracking frame is removed from the clip.

    5. If Premiere Elements doesn’t select the object you want to track, click the Add Object button.
    A thin frame appears in the monitor.

    6. Drag the frame so that it is over the moving object you want to track. You resize the frame by dragging on the corner circles.

    You can keep tweaking the frame as long as you want. You can even play or scrub the video to see if the frame tracks your object properly.

    7. When you’re happy with the frame placement, click the Track Object button in the upper right corner of the Monitor.

    The frame turns to a yellow motion tracking frame. This frame tracks the moving object in the video clip and it controls the position of the clipart that you add in the following steps.

    8. Go File->Get Media from->PC Files and Folders to import clip art or a text label that you’ve created outside of Premiere.

    Imported artwork appears in Premiere Elements in the project folder. You can see it by clicking the Organize tab and then clicking the Project button below the tabs.

    You can use clipart that you find inside of Premiere Elements, but you’ll probably have better results if you create your own small text labels in a separate program such as Adobe Fireworks or Photoshop Elements. That way you can create a label that’s exactly the way you want it. In this example, the dog’s name “LOLA” uses bold yellow text, with a slight drop-shadow to set it off from the background. The clipart is 103x48 pixels and was saves as a PNG with a transparent background. Clipart saved as a JPG will show a solid color background.

    9. With Motion Tracking turned on and a yellow motion tracking frame displayed in the monitor, drag your text label from the Project folder onto the frame.

    You don’t have to leave the label in the first spot where you dropped it. You can reposition it in the image. You don’t need to worry too much about the little diamond shapes that show in the image—these symbols mark the label’s path over the course of the clip. The diamonds and the tracking frame won’t appear in your final movie.

    10. Toggle the Motion Tracking mode button off.

    The yellow frame and the diamond symbols disappear, but your label remains on the screen.

    11. Press Enter to preview your movie.

    Sometimes it’s a little hard to control the motion of your label because Premiere automatically works to smooth the motion. If you’re unhappy with the results, toggle Motion Tracking back on and make your adjustments. If you find that you’ve attached your label to the wrong movie object, you need to delete the label (right-click->Delete), and then try again.


    Hope this helps with your project. Let me know if you'd like to practice with the video clip and label I used for this example. I can post them online somewhere.
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