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Narrowing depth of field in Smoke

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Daniel Burrell
Narrowing depth of field in Smoke
on Feb 19, 2014 at 3:47:50 pm

I understand as I ask this that it very well may not be possible, but it's worth a shot. I have some footage of a person in a warehouse talking about a product. The speaker is in focus, and everything in the background is soft, but we would have liked it to be softer. Is there any tool in smoke that will analyze the shot, and keep what's in focus in focus, and whatever is out of focus, blur it more? Again, I understand that the answer to this might very well be no, but there's so much to smoke that I don't understand yet, so it's worth asking. And I know that there is always the option of masking the shot, but I really don't want to go down that road, nor would the budget allow that. Thanks.

Daniel Burrell
Light Productions


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Grant Kay
Re: Narrowing depth of field in Smoke
on Feb 19, 2014 at 5:31:57 pm

Hi Daniel,

Unfortunately there is no real solution to auto-guess the depth in Smoke.

So Rotoscoping is one option if there is a time.

Another option is to either find or make a clean plate of the background without the talent. You could than pull a difference key to create a matte for the talent. That would allow you to blur the background and recompose the talent on top of the image.

There is also a lot of fine tuning to be done but first see if this is feasible.

Hope this helps!

Regards
Grant

Check out the Smoke Learning Channel

Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/smokehowtos
or search for the Smoke Learning Channel on iTunes
Follow me on twitter @discreetuk


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Daniel Burrell
Re: Narrowing depth of field in Smoke
on Feb 19, 2014 at 5:35:05 pm

I've never done a difference key, but I assume the background would need to be static, and it's not, there are people moving around in the warehouse, so I'm guessing this wouldn't work anyway. That's fine though, it was something I hoped might be possible but didn't really think would be. I appreciate your response, Thanks.

Daniel


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Danny Thompson
Re: Narrowing depth of field in Smoke
on Feb 19, 2014 at 7:38:30 pm

Yeah, Grant, a quick summary of how to pull a difference key using a clean plate in Smoke would be tops.


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Grant Kay
Re: Narrowing depth of field in Smoke
on Feb 20, 2014 at 11:14:22 am

Ok…. I can certainly look at putting something together.

What you need to bear in mind (and I will mention this when I make the video) is that a difference key is a great way to get you three-quarters of the way there to pulling a matte or alpha. It never has been the ultimate solution to isolating an object from the background.

Here is another thing that is worth mentioning and it is totally time dependant. If you were fortunate to shoot on an automated camera-rig/jib/tracks/etc … then you could repeat the same move with the main plate and than shoot a clean plate. That would easily pull a difference matte with that mechanism.

However, if you don't have tons of time, budget and a rig, another option is to create a clean plate with a combination of painted still frames or even using the recursive clone trick to rebuild the scene. You could than track this onto the original shot and attempt to match the clean frame to the move. With the result from that, you can try pull a difference key on your subject in an attempt to start creating the matte.

I know its easier said than done but it is food for thought.

I'll add this to my list of to do videos :)

Regards
Grant

Check out the Smoke Learning Channel

Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/smokehowtos
or search for the Smoke Learning Channel on iTunes
Follow me on twitter @discreetuk


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Danny Thompson
Re: Narrowing depth of field in Smoke
on Feb 20, 2014 at 3:57:39 pm

Thanks for the advice Grant. I'll give this a try.


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Dan Stewart
Re: Narrowing depth of field in Smoke
on Feb 21, 2014 at 3:21:38 pm

Can you send the frames to photoshop? I remember a while back I used a built-in photoshop filter to do something similar (can't remember which one sorry - some sort of blob detector).

Basically I tweaked the settings untill it isolated only the pixels that had sufficient contrast between them. It worked very well at picking out the areas that were sharp and ignored the rest. Might get you at least a fair way there with a simple batch process..



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