One of the best features of Cinema 4D is the user community, the sharing, and all the cool plugins. One of the coolest is a set, collectively called ‘CS Tools’. This may not be the most creative name but hey, the tools sure are. They are free, it’s easy to find tutorials on downloading, installing, and using so… let us begin, with ‘Easy Cam’.
This article assumes the user has installed ‘CS tools’ and there is a menu option on the top menu in Cinema 4D. Let’s start with a new project, click on the ‘CS tools’ menu icon and choose the Easy Cam from the list of tools provided.
It might help to know that the Easy Cam tool is going to simplify tracking a camera and having two cameras provide the images to your viewer. You can do this by setting up individual cameras, choosing the ‘camera point of view’ tag to display the camera perspective, do the same for a second and at some point switch your active camera but… the camera tool makes it much easier with some extra features thrown in. After placing your Easy Cam, open up and view its components by clicking on the plus sign by the ‘Easy Cam’ group.
You see an ‘Easy Cam_S’, an ‘Easy Cam_E’ for ‘start’ and ‘end’ cameras and below you see the ‘Easy Cam_CAM’, what will be the composite path you create with start and end positions. This is pretty much it. If you view some of the ‘Xpresso’ detail, if you look at some of the other components, there is some complexity, but at a high level, helping you create a shared view easily is what this tool is about.
Create an object, a figure, something to be the focus of your short movie, add ‘Easy Cam’ from the ‘CS tools’ menu option. Open the Easy Cam group and at the ‘parent’ level, ‘Easy Cam’ under the attributes, be sure the ‘UserData’ attribute ‘Lock E to S’ is checked ( it is by default ). This locks the start camera position to the end. Position your first camera. When I am working with a new effect or assistant, I often use extreme values or positions to exaggerate the effect, to make it unmistakably clear that what I am seeing is the effect I am working with. In this case since I know my ‘Easy Cam’ is going to blend two camera positions for me, I position the first camera at the right looking into my figure from a distance. My camera is on the right side of the stage, looking at the figure’s left side, from a distance.
Now we position our end camera but first, on the ‘Easy Cam’ parent object, ‘uncheck’ the ‘Lock E to S’ so we can position our end camera. If you don’t change this setting, you won’t be able to move the end camera. Now place the end camera at the opposite side of the stage. This camera is looking from the left side of the stage at the right side of our figure. Zoom in on our guy a little bit so we have a profound sweep. We begin on the far right of the stage from a distance, we end on the left hand stage close up.
Now choose the ‘Easy Cam_Cam’ below under the ‘SubParts’ component of the ‘Easy Cam’. Choose its camera icon to view the stage from its perspective, then click the arrow on the timeline. You will see your camera sweep from the first view to the second in a sweeping fluid motion. This is the view your audience will see.
We see this kind of effect all the time when a starlet sweeps into a closeup, when a product being advertised sweeps onto the stage, when we begin with a vista perspective then sweep into a detailed closeup. The ‘Easy Cam’… makes it easy. There is quite a bit more detail to how you can control the view and the combined views of these two but begin with a simple stage like this one… and see how easy it is.