Pro Tips, Tutorials

How to Track and Replace a Screen in Premiere Pro with Mocha Pro

Mocha Pro is the only tracking plug-in available for Premiere Pro, but it’s different than typical tracking software, because it’s based on a unique planar tracking algorithm that can track almost any footage. Basically, Mocha sees that everything in your video frame consists of multiple planes, or surfaces, from which it can compute tracking data. This tool has been used on tons of high-profile feature films, such as the Harry Potter series, Star Wars: Rogue One, and even La La Land. In fact, the team behind Mocha won their own Academy Award in 2013 for the development of the technology.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to replace a reflective phone screen with a screen insert, step by step. You can also follow along with the video tutorial for audiovisual support. To start, download the phone screen I filmed for the tutorial and screen insert or grab any stock video clip of a computer or phone screen from the Pond5 library. If you don’t already have Mocha Pro installed in Premiere, you can head over to BorisFx and download the trial version for Adobe. (If you want to purchase it, you can use my code GAL10 to get 10% off.)

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Step 1

To start, go to your “Effects” tab and search for “Mocha Pro,” then drag and drop it onto the clip in your sequence.


Step 2

Under “Effects Controls,” click on the “Mocha” logo to launch open the Mocha Pro plugin.


Step 3

Define the plane you want to track by using the “Create an X-Spline” tool. In this case, we want to track the plane of the phone screen. I’m going to draw what will look like a curved edge rectangle by clicking on each corner of the full phone surface, including the borders around the screen. To close the rectangle, click on the first corner you selected again.


Step 4

Since screens have reflections, use the spline tool again to draw a rectangle just around the screen, inside the existing rectangle you just drew. This will mask out the reflections, making it easier to track.


Step 5

Toward the bottom, under the “Track” tab, make sure to select “Perspective,” so that it will track perspective change over time.


Step 6

Now, track forward by selecting the “Track Forward” icon, which will track frame by frame. Since this clip is short and Mocha’s tracking is accelerated by GPU, it won’t take long to track. You’ll be able to see if the track is working if the tracking layer stays on the phone in the same location over time.


Step 7

After tracking forward, scrub the Current Time Indicator (CTI) to the green triangle on the time rule, which is the point at which we’re creating the tracking layer. Then click on the “Track Backwards” icon.


Step 8

Now it’s time to adjust the planar surface, which lets you define the specific region where you want the screen insert to be placed. To do this, click on “Show Planar Surface.” You’ll see a rectangle appear; move each corner of the planar surface to be in the place of each corner of the black screen. You can use the magnify tool and then use the hand tool to make it easier to use the pick tools to move the planar surface corners into the exact corners of the screen.


Step 9

Once all the corners of the planar surface are in place, under “Layer Properties” next to “Insert Clip,” select “Import” from the dropdown and select the screen insert you want to use. (There’s one provided with the download of the iPhone screen, which fits perfectly.)

Note: If the camera is zooming in to the shot, you may want to create a screen insert with a higher resolution.


Step 10

Under the “Insert” tab at the bottom, turn on “Motion Blur” to make the final render look more natural. Then go up to File > Exit to jump back into Premiere Pro. Under “Effects Controls,” check the box next to “Render.” Now you can fully render the clip out in your Premiere Pro timeline by hitting the “Enter” or “Return” key.

If everything was done correctly, you’ve just performed your first screen replacement entirely in Adobe Premiere Pro! Check back soon for more tutorials. I also post new video editing and production tutorials every week on my YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe to keep up with the latest video trends.

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If you have any questions or want to learn something specific, tell us in the comments below, or make a tutorial request on my website.