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Old April 17th, 2006, 12:17 PM   #1
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Taking background 'out of focus'?

Can anyone tell me the easiest way to lock in on a particular object in Vegas (6.0d) - say a bride and groom - and take the background out of focus?

I'm pretty sure Vegas can do it - just can't figure out how.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 12:32 PM   #2
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You have to manually select the foreground. This is back-breaking work; do reconsider.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 12:37 PM   #3
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Depends on how precise you want to be. You can do it easily with a cookie cutter -- you duplicate the clip on two layers, put a cookie cutter effect on the upper clip, adjust it to the size and feathering you want, and then blur the lower clip. Given what you want to do, you might see acceptable results with this method.

Or, you can do it with bezier masks, if you want it to be super-precise. But that takes a long time and is frame-by-frame if there's a lot of movement.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 02:36 PM   #4
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Here is how I do it. I recommend this for your next time.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=70
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Old April 17th, 2006, 06:52 PM   #5
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Thanks Emre and David -

Bill, I'd like to see what you recommend but the link just takes me to the Alternative Imaging forum. Can you link the post?
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Old April 17th, 2006, 07:47 PM   #6
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Brandon,

I think that is his point. If you use a 35mm adapter you'll have a shallower depth of field, thus eliminating the need to do such intensive post work. It's not perfect for all situations (almost impossible to do most wedding work with) but it does make shallow depth of field much simpler. Good luck. I agree that masking this will work, but it is going to take time and a whole lot of effort.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 08:10 PM   #7
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If you have Photoshop, you can use its tools (i.e. extract) to cut out the bride and groom. And then bring that layer into vegas. Only works with still images.

The bezier mask tool in Vegas 5+ will do the same sort of thing.

You want two layers:
top layer: Only bride and groom
bottom layer: Original shot with gaussian blur.

2- If the bridge and groom move, that will not be fun!! Then you likely have to rotoscope.

3- In some cases, it is possible to pull a difference key on the footage. This will mostly work if the background is completely static/non-moving. A difference key is best done in compositing programs like Combustion, Shake, etc.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 08:17 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone.

I would have thought by 2006 there would be a some kind of script or application that would follow the object in focus, and make this a fairly easy task. Guess I'm a few years too early or just daydreaming too much :)
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Old April 17th, 2006, 09:34 PM   #9
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Take a look at FinalFocus2.0 for video. Requires Adobe products.

Or look at Depth of Field Pro, but I think it is for still pics only. Which means if you were willing to work in progressive imagery and willing to spend a LOT of time doing it, you use this to create DoF in post.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 12:31 AM   #10
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Thank you Patrick. The finalfocus looks very good, but...the price for that and after effects would be through the roof for me!

One day when I'm bringing in more profit, I may seriously consider it. But hey, now I know there are programs like this available.
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Old April 18th, 2006, 01:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Wood
Thanks everyone.

I would have thought by 2006 there would be a some kind of script or application that would follow the object in focus, and make this a fairly easy task. Guess I'm a few years too early or just daydreaming too much :)
Since your camcorder has a very deep depth of field, it's all in focus, therefore the software can't know what your subject is.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Oveson
Brandon,

I think that is his point. If you use a 35mm adapter you'll have a shallower depth of field, thus eliminating the need to do such intensive post work. It's not perfect for all situations (almost impossible to do most wedding work with) but it does make shallow depth of field much simpler. Good luck. I agree that masking this will work, but it is going to take time and a whole lot of effort.
Mike, you are right, that is what I meant. However, I have shot two weddings and I disagree that it's almost impossible to do most wedding work with a 35mm lens adapter. The parts that are very difficult are when you have the aperture cranked open for a very shallow DOF and you are shooting motion of course (dancing, walk down the aisle, etc). However I found that a great time to get footage with very shallow DOF is in tandem with the photographer during the photography sitting or whatever we'll call it. If you keep rolling, you can get some really nice shots of the couple joking around or looking at each other, laughing, coming together, transitioning from looking at each other to looking at the camera, and so on. And since they're posed, they remain in place so you're not hunting for focus!

Other times you can get gorgeous shallow-DOF footage is the cake, the cutting of the cake, the signing of the guest book, speeches, the couple's rings, and so on - any time your subject isn't moving.

After shooting intermittently for months with my adapter I got much better at manually focusing my lenses at some fairly shallow depths of field. Also you learn how to compensate for (and/or hide) camera shake induced by focusing, and so on.
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