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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old May 5th, 2004, 01:24 PM   #1
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Any good rotoscoping software?

Does anyone know of an easy way to rotoscope DV? The only software I know allows it is Premier and Photoshop by way of filmstrips. This method is extremely inefficient though. It would be nice to be able to draw right on a frame in a timeline directly. Anyone know of software that allows this? Thanks a lot.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 01:30 PM   #2
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Media Studio Pro comes with a really nice rotoscoping tool called Video Paint.
You can open AVIs (including DV), WMV, MOV, MPEG, etc. format video directly and start painting frame by frame.
This is one of my favorite tools and has instrumental in rescuing and/or fine polishing a number of shots for me. (In addition loads and loads of special effects that called for roto work).

Loads of great "helper" tools like onion-skinning, selection replication etc.

You can only get Video Paint as part of MSP, but the suite itself is only $300 these days. The one bummer is that Video Paint is not included in their download-able demo.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to post 'em up.

Have fun.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 03:13 PM   #3
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Not a bad deal.

I wish Photoshop had some kind of plugin to work with NLEs like Vegas, so I could just use Photoshop to edit frames and then immediately recompress them to DV. It wouldn't work with inter-frame compression like MPEG2 but would work great with DV.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 05:30 PM   #4
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Yeah. The thing about Photoshop is that it just doesn't work with video files ... at all.
When you're viewing a flat filmstrip, you can't "flip" through frames or scrub or playback the video as you work to see how the motion is working out like you can with a rotoscoping app like Video Paint.

One nice thing is that Video Paint stores your "painted" work on a "paint" layer in the project, so you can totally work with MPEG video without any loss in quality. The original MPEG encoding is untouched in the underlying video layer.

You would have to render to new compression for the final video, but the MSP editor handles VP projects like nested projects in Premiere or AE, so there would only be a single pass between original clip and final render.

Have fun.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 06:22 PM   #5
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After Effects works pretty well.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 08:56 PM   #6
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You know what's funny - I'm pretty experienced with Windows programming, and for years MS's big push was to integrate all applications using COM Automation so that a program like Vegas could allow you to seamlessly edit a frame using a Photoshop interface, and the two progs wouldn't even have to know anything about each other as long as they conformed to standard interfaces. Too bad that tech never really caught on the way we all hoped.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 09:55 PM   #7
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The MSPro paint program will also copy changes forward and backward so you only have to paint in a single frame if you need a minor change and the camera is locked down.

Like wiping out the tip of a microphone on a boom.

After Effects has some really good tools for doing this too.

One can even erase something like an airplane from the sky by having AE track the airplane and then copying the sky from a short period before or after the plane traverses that spot. No artifacts and the plane is just gone. Course it helps if the camera is locked down.
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Old May 6th, 2004, 06:31 AM   #8
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Look for Aura. It was given away in one of the UK magazines about a year ago. Digit I think or one of those $14 US slick graphics or video magazines. Can't remember which one but it was built to rotoscope.

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Old May 6th, 2004, 07:30 AM   #9
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I'm not sure that the COM model really works well for handling large amounts of data like what's needed for video. Blocks of business data, spreadsheets, documents, etc. are easily stored im memory during processing, but video-sized files aren't quite so easy. ;)

The "airplane replacement" is a great example of rotoscoping put to use. As was mentioned, this can be automated well in programs like AE or Combustion through the use of trackers, so long as the camera is locked down.

I used this technique in MSP to "correct" a moment when a speaker glanced away from the camera to look at a bullet list of topics. A quick, rotoed mask over the eyes combined with a frame-offset copy of the clip fixed the shot.

Things get a little difficult when the camera's not locked down. I think I mentioned in some earlier thread that a client had brought in a hand-held shot to be used in the intro of his DVD. Really cool shot that was tainted by a big tractor in the background. With Video Paint and 5 minutes the tractor was completely erased from the shot. Having told you this, the coverup will be fairly obvious to you guys, but not one person that saw the shot without know of the effect noticed it, and some even had to watch it a few times to catch the mask.
If you like, you can check out the finishe shot (the first shot after the logo) on this webpage.

CGI has come along way to help in these situations, too. Camera tracking software can now backwards calculate the path of a camera through 3D space based on a 2D video clip and some basic measurement inputs. The path can then be attached to the camera in CGI software to place matched 3D objects into an existing scene, all without rotoscoping.
I'm only just starting to experiment with this myself, but here is an example shot.
(there's only one teapot in the raw video.)

Just to add some variety to the software being discussed here...
There is a professional-grade rotoscoping tool called gFX available here, but it sells for about $1000.

Have fun.
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Old May 7th, 2004, 08:04 AM   #10
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We got off onto a tangent subject (programming) so one of the wranglers kindly made a spin off thread just for the COM programming for video discussion.
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Old May 7th, 2004, 08:10 AM   #11
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Vegas has four options -- buy BorisFX ($1500), Vegas 5 standalone ($599), upgrade to 4 with its improved masking ($199)...

... or keep Vegas 4 and download Satish's Wax 2.0b for free :)


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Old May 7th, 2004, 08:36 AM   #12
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I know that Vegas 5 added roto masks, but does it also permit actual "painting" or pixel manipulation on a frame-by-frame basis ??

I tried out the stand-along WAX. It's seemed pretty slow.
Is the plugin version quick enough for day-to-day use ??

Just curious.
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Old May 11th, 2004, 07:56 AM   #13
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There is also the free Wax for Vegas. I haven't tried it myself yet.
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