In a serious breakthrough for the open source visual community, intrepid Google Summer of Code-sponsored developers have managed to work advanced camera tracking into the free and open source 3D / video / everything else tool Blender. Part of what makes that impressive is that Blender, far from just being a shadow of proprietary alternatives, offers some uniquely-powerful 3D compositing tools that can genuinely rival other tools.

Thank Sergey Sharybin and a team of Blender devs for making it happen. It’s absolutely bleeding edge – even the features you see here are just a few of what’s planned, and they suggest you build from source. But I look forward to seeing it completed. Check out the demo at top for a taste of what’s to come, even if not entirely feature-complete.

There’s also a more recent tutorial that shows you how to make it all work:
GSOC Tomato Branch: Camera Tracking [embedding is disabled, so go straight to Vimeo!]

The project is still in active development, but combined with Blender’s recent UI redesign, this could make the frighteningly-powerful tool worth a second look.

GSOC Tomato Branch: Camera Tracking [Blender Cookie, which offers loads of tutorials and downloads, while you’re there!]
GSoC Tomato Branch: Motion tracking in Blender [Blender Nation, the best source for up-to-the-minute Blender news]

More on building:
Building Blender in Mac OS X‚Äč
Tomato builds, which give you pre-built snapshots for Mac, Windows, and Linux – no fuss, no muss.

And see the video tutorial below for how to build on the Mac:

And here’s a tutorial on compositing in 3D that helps demonstrate why this stuff could be so powerful:
Blender 3D Compositing

Thanks to Giorgio Martini for the tip!