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Old September 13th, 2004, 10:38 AM   #1
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REALLY annoying problem

Hi,

I've just come back from an exhausting week long shoot for my new feature length DV project. We got some amazing looking shots.

However I have spotted one problem with one of the shots that has really got me fuming. It actually took me, and the rest of the crew a while to notice it, despite it actually sticking out like a sore thumb once seen! A combination of having a beautiful actress to distract, plus the very late time at which we had been shooting after a 15hr day had obviously lead to this mistake.

The problem is that in one of the shots (annoyingly the most amazing composition of the entire shoot) has a crew member prominantly visible in the background. The scene is set in a bathroom, and the leading lady is considering suicide. The crew member MUST GO at all costs!!!! I'm still kicking myself extremely hard for not noticing this at the time. Going back to reshoot the shot is not an option.

I have partially managed to get rid of the guy on one frame using the clone tool from within Photoshop.

I was wondering if there was a more automated way I could go about doing this from within Vegas. For example creating one static version of the background that needs to be replaced and place it below the problem shot (Thank the Lord that the shot in question was locked off!), and then use an animated mask or matte to show it through each frame?

I have tried using the bezier mask within Vegas, but there doesn't seem to be a way to actually move the points from frame to frame. I really don't want to go through each shot using a clone tool on each individual frame.
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Old September 13th, 2004, 10:57 AM   #2
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Simon,

I know the feeling!

You might try to use the photoshop still that you made without the crew member as a matte painting. Basically you would make the part of the frame that the actress is in transparent in the photoshop still. Then put the still frame on a track above the actual footage. The footage will show through the transparent area and the non-transparent area will hide the crew member.

If you have any frames where the action and the crew member interset you will have to create additional masks.

If there aren't too many intersections, this is not too painful.

Randall
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Old September 13th, 2004, 11:16 AM   #3
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Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, and this is the real pain, the actress is in front of the crew member. So the intersect at all times throughout the shot :-(
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Old September 13th, 2004, 11:22 AM   #4
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How about three or four screenshots from different sections of this area? That might help coming up with a few ideas.
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Old September 13th, 2004, 12:16 PM   #5
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I think I may have found a solution.

Before I couldn't move the bezier mask points from frame to frame within Vegas using the mouse (it seemed to only want to adjust the bezier curves). Now I have discovered purely by chance that by clicking on a point and using the arrow/cursor keys I can move them around. This feature doesn't seem to be anywhere in the Vegas manual!

Anyhow I think I can now remove the person in question. I have found that moving each individual point from frame to frame using the cursor keys is a relatively painless process. This will enable me to make the required area transparent on the original footage.

Now all I need is for someone to suggest a good texture synthesis or inpainting program so I can recreate the background decently to use as a background plate to show through the transparent areas.
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Old September 14th, 2004, 07:37 AM   #6
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Any paint program (photoshop) should be good enough to do that
with a clone tool and some manual labour. Posting a shot from
the scene might help in getting some more ideas to you.
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Old September 14th, 2004, 07:56 AM   #7
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Yeah, Photoshop was one way, although there is the problem of replicating the subtle moving CCD grain etc, as well as the fact I can't seem to find a way to export an image sequence from within Vegas.

Now I have found out that the points on a bezier mask can in fact be moved and tweened I'm well on the way to solving the problem. I'll post up some stills as soon as I have completed the work.
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Old September 14th, 2004, 08:13 AM   #8
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I know you found the bezier mask way, but you still asked for a
way to get a clean plate. Noise should be repeatable with some
detailed attention to it.

Vegas cannot per default export an image sequence (and you
won't need to if you just make a clean plate and do the rest
by animated bezier splines) but there is a script to do this. You
can export one frame at a time with the copy to clipboard and
save buttons at the preview screen. Make sure the preview is
set to full/best before doing this though.
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Old September 14th, 2004, 09:46 AM   #9
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Ah yes, sorry.

I've been using the clone tool within Photoshop for the background plate. Although I am still finding it hard to get an exact look. More experimentation needed methinks.
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Old September 14th, 2004, 10:35 AM   #10
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Simon,

If you have Photoshop CS, the Healing Brush tool works well for cloning texture and keeping the hightlighting.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 11:46 AM   #11
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I've had good success on smaller areas with creating a regional soft blur.
Works great for booms etc, haven't had to use it for a whole person yet.

Please keep us informed. It sounds like your solution could end up being a life saver.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 12:00 PM   #12
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Will do.

I'm pretty close. At the moment it's just a matter of refining the matte motion. I'll try and post up some before and after stills later.
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 09:36 AM   #13
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another thing that might help blend it in even more depending on lighting and style, you can use the light rays spot light effect to spot on her and feather it around her...
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 10:37 AM   #14
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Here is a shot of the finished comp.

http://www.freewebs.com/fallenangels...aye%20look.jpg

I'll get a before image up soon, it's just that I've got this one already on my internet computer.

The crew member in question was sat behind her on the bottom left hand side of the image and pretty much occupied a large portion of that area, and most of it behind her shoulder. Because of the similarity in colour between his clothes and hers it took me forever to decipher where the line of her shoulder was.
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Old November 5th, 2004, 08:49 PM   #15
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Match the frame and use a wipe

If the crew person was clear enough to the left or right of the actress and the camera didn't move, then you could just recreate the set such as lighting and lens height, match the frame with an A/B comparison and then shoot a plate. Next, wipe the new clean side over the old side with the crew person and they would disappear. I know that they intersect but it's just another way of getting rid of unwanted background content.
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