MoKey – Auto roto tool

One of the smallest and one of the most interesting stands at NAB were the boy’s from Guildford in the UK with their MoKey software. We spoke to Alan Jaenicke who wrote the code about the newest must-have spark and FX software at NAB.

MoKey is an application that separated foreground from background, producing a repaired final clip without say an unwanted tree or perhaps a car or person that was moving through shot. The program not only produces a matte of the extracted objected but a unpre-mul foreground and completely repainted background plate. using information from frames either side of the current frame and multiple auto trackers the software morphs and replaces otherwise lost information, thus replacing the road where the car was, or replacing the building where the tree had been blocking. Of course the technology only works if the camera or the object move relative to the background, so there is at least one frame of information to use for the repair.

Launched in Sept 01 with v1.0 of the software Mokey at NAB started their move into the US market with V2.0 of their brilliant MoKey software. The software is available as a Spark for FFI (or AVID, or 5D Cyborg) or a stand alone piece of software running under Windows. Priced at around US$10,000 for the Spark – this plugin on the right shot – could save you days of roto and repair!
We spoke to Alan Jaenicke about the software and the attention it was starting to get.

FXGUIDE: What does MoKey do ?

Alan: It tracks the background, and then produces a matte for a target object you have roughly rotoed, giving you a matte, a treated foreground and a repainted background.

FXGUIDE: Is it restricted in what resolution or files it can use?

Alan: No the software is resolution independant, the system looks at the movement of the object, the softness is worked out and the colour spill of the forground is removed, there are additional controls for filtering etc as well as adjusting the matte if you need to, but it works pretty well actually.

FXGUIDE: Who is using it?

Alan: We have a fair few users in the UK and Europe now, such as MPC, Kincine, Studio 109, and Men from Mars.We are just really launching it now in the States.

FXGUIDE: So how did you come to write this code?

Alan: I was doing research at University and the stuff we were doing was interesting but there was no real commercial application, then it occured to us that this might be useful to the entertainment industry.

FXGUIDE: Whats different in V2.0?

Alan : version 2.0 should ship before IBC and it handles some things much better now, such as lens distortion.

Here is an image sequence showing start, foreground, matte and final from some DV footage.


the original


MoKey derived foreground


Mokey derived matte


the MoKey repaired frame from the final sequence

More info: http://www.is-distribution.com/