CamTrace Tutorial

I did not know anything about CamTrace two weeks before the end of submissions for the ET Mini Movie Contest. There were no tutorials on CamTrace (the official was outdated and superboyy's was outdated and too complicated for beginners.) I was determined to finish my movie (100% cams) in time for the contest. What surprised me was the lack of tutorials on CamTrace. I put this down to ego movie makers who don't want any competition (please don't start an argument about this statement!) Anyway, here is the first full tutorial for creating accurate cameras in CamTrace. I have also developed a method and small application to follow panzers, bullets, nades etc at exact times. This allows for 1:1 syncing.

I hope to see some good cameras in movies after this tutorial.

Need further help? Create a journal.

Taken from the official CamTrace manual:
QuoteCamtrace 3D (ct3D) is a standalone application which essentially allows you to create camera paths in Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory or Quake 3 Defrag. Initially, ct3D was created by Jérôme Bressoud (alias gg67) for the ‘R3 ET T railer’ (, that is, for WolfET. Then, to answer some demands, it can also generate camera path for Quake 3 Defrag too (experimental). To use ct3D in a good way, you need to understand how and on what ct3D works. Basically, it uses game commands. It makes translations between the design representation of camera path and these commands. To use these paths, ct3D generates ‘cfg’ files which will be executed in the game. This is a summary of what ct3D can do:
• Ability to create camera paths and to modify them as you wish.
• Import camera/entities coordinates generated from the game
• Define curve duration.
• Launch a specific demo with custom configuration directly from the software.

The latest CamTrace version lacks tutorials and manuals, so I decided to make this manual for movie makers, in particular new movie makers. This manual will go into great detail. No previous knowledge is required. After following this manual, you should be able to create perfect synchronized cameras. Don’t become stressed if you cannot create the perfect camera on your first try – no one can. It may take a few attempts before you are able to make decent cameras.

This manual also includes a simple Excel spreadsheet to calculate exact times of points captured. This allows for perfect camera syncing (i.e. following panzers across a whole map)

Download this zip file. It includes all the installtion files, configs and a small Excel spreadsheet used to sync the cameras. You will need these files throughout the tutorial.

Mirror 1 -
Mirror 2 -
Mirror 3 -
Mirror 4 -
Mirror 5 -
Mirror 6 -
Mirror 7 -
Mirror 8 -
Mirror 9 -

Before we begin, you must have the right setup and programs installed. First of all, create a new Enemy Territory Installation. Make sure you use a separate installation for CamTrace. This will avoid any conflicts and make life a lot easier. Most importantly, use your normal ingame config for the CamTrace installation. Do not use a movie config to create cameras. You should only use a movie config when capturing cameras and ingame footage. When capturing you should also be using another Installation (so 3 in total – one playing Enemy Territory, a second for creating cameras and a third for capturing cameras/ingame footage [cl_avidemo]).

1. Locate to the Files folder included with the manual and run the CamTrace installer (Camtrace 3D b196.msi).
2. Copy the whole contents within the folder copy_content_to_etpro_folder and paste it into your Enemy Territory CamTrace etpro installation (…\Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory\etpro)

The configs provided (copy_content_to_etpro_folder) are similar to the superboyy configs for the older CamTrace version. They are modified slightly from the original files (downloadable from the CamTrace homepage). These modified configs simply have the extra commands “screenshotjpeg” and “show_framecount 1”.

You should also add the following command to your ingame config:
show_framecount 1image: Uq8oI

CamTrace uses ingame features to capture coordinates in the freecam position. By default, mouse3 (middle mouse button) is used to capture the coordinates. If you wish to change this, you can edit the config files:

Default bind with mouse3:
set pos01 "show_framecount 1; clear; viewpos; cg_fov; condump Cam\Pos\pos01.epcp; screenshotjpeg; Echo Cam01; bind mouse3 vstr pos02"

Bind with button X
set pos01 "show_framecount 1; clear; viewpos; cg_fov; condump Cam\Pos\pos01.epcp; screenshotjpeg; Echo Cam01; bind X vstr pos02"

The config files are located in …\Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory\etpro\Cam


Points = coordinates

Before you go ahead and capture the points, make sure you have watched the demo several times and have a good idea of how the camera should work. This will reduce the trial and error method and allow you to create better cameras. Once you are ready, following these steps:

1. Make sure you have the demo files ready in your CamTrace etpro installation
2. Load ET (the ET installation you created earlier for CamTrace)
3. Choose the etpro mod and load the demo
4. Execute your ET config if you haven’t already
5. Go into freecam mode by tryping /freecam into the console
6. Position the freecam to the first point you wish the camera to start
7. When the demo is near the time you wish the camera to start, enter /timescale 0.1 into the console (maybe it’s best to bind a key to this command). This will slow the playback speed of the demo right down so you have enough time to position the freecam as the demo plays.
8. When you are in position, press mouse3 at the time you want the first camera to be.
9. Move the freecam to the next point you wish to camera to move to and press mouse3 at the time you want the second camera to be.
10. Repeat step 9 for the third, fourth, firth… camera until you have finished
11. Quit/Minimize ET

Make sure you do not create too many points in a short period of time. This will result in a very rough/unsmooth camera. On the other hand, creating a small amount of points may result in cameras moving through unwanted positions. If you think you created too little/many points, continue with the tutorial so you can see how the camera looks at the end result. Remember, you will not create the perfect camera on your first go, no matter how experienced you are. Do not be afraid to redo cameras many times! The “Winghaven” camera in my movie “Strike Plastic” took me around 5 attempts till I had was happy with the result. It may take around 15+ attempts for your first camera. Practice makes perfect, don’t give up!

Syncing the points with cameras is one of the hardest parts when creating cameras.

When I first tried CamTrace, I gave up at this stage as I couldn’t even be bothered (lack of tutorials on this.) However, I decided to enter the ET Mini Video Contest. I was determined to make this process easier and learn CamTrace. I sat down for a few hours, messing around with a lot of trial and error. Eventually I developed a very simple formula to calculate the exact times of the points captured (hence, “show_framecount 1 “ and “screenshotjpeg”). With this method, you are able to create cameras to follow panzers, rifle nades and even bullets across long distances. Included with the manual is a simple Excel spreadsheet I made that will calculate the times for you. All you have to do is enter frame values. This section will teach you how to do this.

After capturing the points, close ET and navigate to the etpro folder. Within the etpro folder you should see a folder called screenshots. Now:

1. Open Microsoft Notepad
2. Open each picture within the screenshots folder and type the frame numbers into notepad as shown in the picture below:

image: 4F4Dc

3. Open camtrace_frame_calculator.xls included with the manual and enter the frame numbers into the YELLOW CELLS as shown in the following picture. (The cells/boxes on the left tell you the frame number you must enter [“Enter First Frame”]).

image: IG4Bh

4. The red cells on the right of the frame numbers show the times in seconds for each point, as shown in the picture below. You will need to enter these times into CamTrace, which will be covered in the next section.

image: 9NJuH

5. Save the notepad document and Excel spreadsheet. You will need these later.

Notes about CamTrace Frame Calculator:

• All you have to do is enter frame numbers into the yellow cells. Descriptions are on the left of each yellow cell.
• All cells are password protected except the yellow cells.
• These cells are password protected because it is easy to accidentally modify the formulas. If you want to modify the protected cells (not recommended) the password is nm

At this stage you should have the frame numbers in Notepad, times in Excel and positions generated by ET (…\Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory\etpro\Cam\Pos). This section will show you how to preview the cameras ingame.

1. Load CamTrace 3D
2. Click on Import
3. Choose the folder …\Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory\etpro\Cam\Pos
4. Enter the times from Excel into CamTrace as shown in the picture below. (Note: CamTrace will round the times to 3 decimal places).

image: qmifT

5. Click on the “Curve” tab

image: 3qxKH

6. Since we are only previewing the camera, we will not have to use the cl_avidemo command just yet. However, when previewing the camera you must have a stable FPS. Enter an FPS value into the box which you know you will be able to achieve 100% of the time. I recommend using 50 (note: when you capture using cl_avidemo 1000, your PC does NOT have to achieve 1000 FPS. However, this does not apply when creating preview cameras)

image: FDV7W

7. Click on the "Create" button at the bottom of CamTrace

image: 2x2fE

Navigate to ..ET\etpro\Cam and click "Save". Remember to choose your CamTrace ET installation which you created earlier.

8. Save the CamTrace project file by clicking on "File -> Save". You will need this for later.

9. Now your preview camera script has been created, you must execute it ingame using the exec_at_time command.

10. Refer back to the Excel sheet where you entered the frame numbers. Copy the first frame number (CTRL+C). This will be the time your script will be executed.

image: 25WQw

11. Open a new Notepad document. Enter:

/exec_at_time [CTRL+V NUMBER HERE] cam\cam

In my example, the end result will be:

/exec_at_time 347852806 cam\cam

12. Copy the whole line from the Notepad document.
13. Load Enemy Territory (the CamTrace one)
14. Start the demo (it must be etpro) and enter /freecam into the console and hit enter.
15. Bring down the console again and press CTRL + V. This will paste the line from the notepad document into the console. Then hit the Enter key.
16. The camera script generated by CamTrace will be executed will then be executed at the correct time for perfect sync with the ingame actions.

As of 30th March 2009 I have not completed this part of the tutorial. I plan to do so when I have some time. Keep checking this tutorial for updates.
Now that you have tweaked and previewed your camera, you must now go back to

CamTrace to create the scripts for capturing (cl_avidemo).

1. Open the CamTrace project file which you saved earlier.
2. Go to the "Curve" tab
3. When you created a camera for previewing, you had to enter an FPS which your PC could handle. However, when you create a camera for capturing you should enter the value you wish to capture at. I use cl_avidemo 200 for movie making, so in my case I would enter 200 into the box:

image: awEVV
4. Click on the "Create" button
5. This time, you should save the script into your movie making installation. Naigate to ...ET\etpro\Cam and click "Save"
6. Now the script is created, close CamTrace and navigate you the folder etpro\Cam.
7. Open Cam.cfg and enter cl_avidemo below the com_maxfps command. Your cl_avidemo value should match the value of the com_maxfps value. Obvously, the com_maxfps command was generated by CamTrace so you must not edit this value (if you wish to, you have to go back to the Curve tab in CamTrace and enter it there). The screenshot below shows this.

image: gddQ1

8. Close Cam.cfg and click "Save" (overwrite)
9. Open the last CamXXX.cfg. In my example, it is Cam005.cfg

image: bTKjF

10. Enter cl_avidemo 0 to the end of the file, close it and click "Save" (overwrite)

image: WCLoY

11. Go back to your original notepad document where you had:
/exec_at_time 347852806 cam\cam
And copy the line like before (CTRL+C)
12. Load the demo from the movie making installation
13. Enter /freecam into the console and hit enter.
14. Bring down the console again and press CTRL + V. This will paste the line from the notepad document into the console. Then hit the Enter key.
15. The camera script generated by CamTrace will be executed will then be executed at the correct time for perfect sync with the ingame actions. When the script is executed, the camera and capturing will begin. When the camera is finished, capturing will also stop.

Tutorial by United Kingdom beggin
Last update - 30 March 2009 - 20:27 GMT
nice effort

"Enter an FPS value into the box which you know you will be able to achieve 100% of the time."

this is still a problem because et cant sustain any fps 100% of the time, which will cause the preview to be a bit off, especially for the longer cams.

setting the time for each point seems great. it was a pain in the ass making cams where you had to mess around with timescale to get the right timing.
If u wants to use the "Map" menu point:

1. open the <mapname>.pk3 with i.e. WinRar from your ETmain folder and double click on subfolder "maps" in WinRar
2. create in ur ETpro folder a folder "maps" (there it is easy to find)
3. extract all content from the subfolder "maps" in WinRar to the just created "maps" folder in ETpro.
4. click in Camtrace3D on the menu "Map" and load the <mapname>.bsp from your created folder.

now enjoy in camtrace the map as background of your cam route.

have fun

PS: works also with the standard maps in the pak0.pk3
cool tutorial bro
Such an awesome tutorial! thank you very much
Back to top