I have found a decent tutorial on creating heat haze and the results are exactly what I want. I have created animations in 3DS Max and then imported file sequences into AE to add the heat haze. This is great when the camera is not moving and when the hot components in my scene are "static" (location wise).
Q. If I have a moving camera panning around the scene and I also have hot objects that are moving around the scene, what is the best way to animate my heat haze effect to follow the hot objects and change size with them.
This is the method for the heat haze that I am using: Creating heat distortion and shimmer with After Effects
You will need to create custom passes in your 3D program using particles and placeholder geometry. Typically UV passes, motion vector passes, normal passes and custom point position passes are used for this in combination with object buffers to determine positions of pixels or apply reverse mapping techniques and generates masks and mattes. Sometimes VFX companies even go so far as to simulate the actual heat flow using fluid simulations and output the direction vectors or point clouds... And then of course depending on the camera move a bit of manual keyframing, masking and tracking will do many times. It's not that most people will notice the difference as long as there is no obvious drift...
As ever, pushed for time, so I will try and do it without the channels.