Removing Equipment/Crew Using Photoshop (Macs too) at

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Old March 13th, 2005, 12:50 PM   #1
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Removing Equipment/Crew Using Photoshop (Macs too)


For a long time I've been removing equipment and crew that sneak in to shots using Photoshop. I assumed everyone did, but talking to someone the other day I realised that might not be the case... so I figured I'd put in a word about it.

I always get things creeping in to shots - a lot of times because I don't have a field monitor with overscan... my shots are clean until I get them in to post and see that the camera saw more than the TV did. And sometimes people move...

I found that if it is a stationary camera shot, and if the people are moving in front of the wrongly-included items, it is pretty simple to take them away in Photohop.

If it is a microphone that ducked in to the shot, or something like that, I go back and find a frame that didn't have the mic in it. I take the piece of that frame that covers where the mic was, and delete everything else (making sure I have a transparent background) in Photoshop. I then take that still image and overlay it on top of my video that has the creeping microphone and viola - no mic to be seen.

If it was something that was in the shot all along - so there are no clean frames to grab - I just break out my clone tool in photoshop and take them away. I am decent with that from prior photo experience, but it isn't tough to learn. After that it all goes the same.

I put up a couple examples from a short I shot last year. Take a look:

There is a video of it in action there too... each little clip is only 5 secs or so, though.

If the shot is grainy this doesn't work. The grain moves everywhere else in the video, but is stationary in your mask. You could do the same thing, however, masking a section of video and overlaying that... haven't gone there yet.

If the camera is moving, you're out of luck unless you want to paint frame by frame.

But... if the camera is still, and there is no noticeable grain, I can mask somethig out this way and you would never, ever, know from the final DVD.

Anyway... let me know if anyone finds this useful, or wants any more info.
Barry Gribble
Integral Arts, IMDB
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Old March 21st, 2005, 01:37 PM   #2
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Nice page!

If you're camera movements are pretty clean (like a pan or something - not random shake) you can pretty easily set up tracking mattes to remove the extra crud that you don't want. Matte out/correct the frame that has the most amout of 'unintended stand-in' (heh) and then keyframe as necessary. If you mess around with your blending modes or your edge blurring, you'll have great results.

Also, don't discount frame by frame. If you've got a 25-40 frame 'mess-up' it's pretty easy to go through and correct the worst one, then copy/paste that to each of the follow up frames and just adjust for positioning.

That's how the pros do it... brute force and raw elbow grease can almost always do a better job than an automated process ;-)
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Old March 22nd, 2005, 06:50 AM   #3
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You guys seem to be pretty good at this masking stuff.

I can do some still masking like Barry mentioned, but I have never tried moving shots.

I love to use the clone stamp tool to add extra trees and mountains in the backgrounds of my still shots.

Patrick, you mentioned masking with a camera with movements. As long as the camera movements were clean. So, I thought we should have a little fun. We should at least test this out. One of us should purposely set up a moving shot with some rather hard masking required to see what kind of results we can get.

I found Barry's site interesting and I would love to see it done in motion by some of us in this online community. Scince we aren't quite "pro's" at masking....yet. ;)
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Old March 22nd, 2005, 07:35 AM   #4
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Yes, I do think you could mask a smooth tripod pan using AE or something like that... I have seen some great examples of AE's advanced tracking, but I haven't used it. Masking a handheld shot would probably be a frame-by-frame deal still - which I agree is certainly doable... the only question is time.

Glad you guys liked it.
Barry Gribble
Integral Arts, IMDB
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Old March 22nd, 2005, 09:48 AM   #5
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This is a really common technique, in it's simplest form. Digital Matte work can can REALLY fun/intense when you introduce 3D tracking tools like Match Mover Pro and a CGI applications. :)

Media Studio Pro comes with a really nice tool for doing frame by frame (rotoscoping/roto) work. A lot of pro roto work utilizes Curious gFX these days.

A few years ago I did a basic frame by frame mask in MSP for the first shot in this video:
No casual viewer has ever noticed it, but if you look to the left of the scafolding in the opening shot, you can probably see where a clean background was added to cover an ugly tractor that was left in view of this hand-held shot.

More recently, I worked on the "Sleeps with Butterflies" Tori Amos video to add flowers to her hair that were not present on set. My part was to produce a 3d track of her head position relative to the camera so a Maya artist could add the CGI flowers, replacing a metal hair piece that was used on set.
The video can be seen on Yahoo! launch:
Tori Amos Artist Page on Yahoo! Launch
("Sleeps With Butterflies (2005)" link)

Have fun.
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