Let’s talk a little bit about cameras in Houdini. Most of the time cameras will be coming from other 3D apps or tracking/matchmoving apps. The most common file format then it would be alembic. Apparently alembic cameras are not very welcome in Houdini, don’t ask me why, but there are certain issues that might occur. In my experience most visual effects companies have their own way to import alembic cameras.
I have never used fbx cameras in a professional environment but I have done a few tests at home and it seems to work fine. So, if you get weird issues using alembic maybe fbx could be a solution for your particular case. Go to file -> import to do so.
To create cameras in Houdini use the camera node. Here are some important features to consider when working with cameras in Houdini.
If you need to scale the camera, not very common but it can happen, do not scale the camera itself, just connect a null to the camera and transform the null instead.
Render resolution is set in the camera attributes. It can be overwritten in the ROP node but by default it uses the camera resolution.
There are different types of camera projection, perspective, orthographic, etc. There is also a spherical lens preset in case you need to render equirectangular panoramas.
Apperture parameter is pretty much the same as sensor size, this is very useful when matching real cameras (always in vfx)
Near/far clipping, same as every 3d app, important when working with big/small scales.
Background image: It places an image in the background that actually gets render. Usually you don’t want this to happen for final rendering. If you disable this option, the image won’t be visible during render time but it still will be visible in the viewport. Use the below icon to disable it.
To see safe areas go to display -> guides (display is d key).
Shutter time: Controls motion blur
Focus distance and f-stop: Control depth of field
To see focus distance, select the camera and click on show handle