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How to film 1 person twice in the same scene...

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dallas kruse
How to film 1 person twice in the same scene...
on Sep 20, 2016 at 5:39:46 pm

I have this idea for a music video where the actor is 2 characters. Its been done so much but I'm not sure how to pull it off.

In the attached scene mock-up, I'd like to film the scene twice. Once with the Actor as "character 1" and then again with "character 2".

It'd be easy to do as split screen but what if I want the actors to cross each other?

i.e., have Character 1 sit on the couch and Character 2 walk behind the couch.

The camera will be locked off for the shot. Is there some sort of trick to doing this?

Here's a photoshop mockup of the scene



Music Producer dabbling in Video.
FCP 7. Adobe CS6.
Canon T3i.


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: How to film 1 person twice in the same scene...
on Sep 20, 2016 at 5:55:23 pm

You could use a difference matte. You'll need to keep the lighting identical for the shots and shoot a clean plate too.


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dallas kruse
Re: How to film 1 person twice in the same scene...
on Sep 20, 2016 at 5:59:23 pm

The lighting won't change at all. Which will help.

So, shoot a clean shot (no actors) then do the scenes with the actors.

How about shadows? If I have an actors cross the other actor, should I worry about there NOT being a shadow cast?

Music Producer dabbling in Video.
FCPX. Adobe CS6.
Canon T4i.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to film 1 person twice in the same scene...
on Sep 20, 2016 at 6:04:04 pm

I strongly recommend that you shoot a test using the Difference Matte before you commit to it. It's a VERY picky effect, and it doesn't leave you room for shooting goofs & camera shortcomings.

A shadow? Sometimes you just have to fake it.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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dallas kruse
Re: How to film 1 person twice in the same scene...
on Sep 20, 2016 at 6:39:14 pm

I would definitely shoot test shots first. Thats a great thought.

If the actors stay on either side of the frame, it would be easy to just film and then crop.

But IF I wanted to get fancy and have them cross each other, I might try it.

Music Producer dabbling in Video.
FCPX. Adobe CS6.
Canon T4i.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to film 1 person twice in the same scene...
on Sep 20, 2016 at 6:46:52 pm

You don't even need actors to shoot the test. ANYBODY will do. You're after looking at lighting, image quality, and the effectiveness of the effect.

If the shot's set, YOU could even do it. Just get a clean plate, walk into the shot on the right, walk in on the left and do some stuff. Then see if it will work.


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dallas kruse
Re: How to film 1 person twice in the same scene...
on Sep 20, 2016 at 8:45:57 pm

And thats what I did do.

I didn't get a CLEAN slate (some tv light flickering changing some of the minute details of lighting).

I'll try again. The matte didn't get clean.

Music Producer dabbling in Video.
FCPX. Adobe CS6.
Canon T4i.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to film 1 person twice in the same scene...
on Sep 20, 2016 at 9:35:50 pm

Yup, that's why you run tests! When EFX pros get a shot for effects work, they KNOW it will work... either through prior experience or through testing.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: How to film 1 person twice in the same scene...
on Sep 21, 2016 at 10:43:38 am

Also something to note. You might want to denoise the footage before doing the difference matting. Also one rarely gets a perfectly clean matte with one click and one usually needs to clean it up by hand or by using the refine matte tools.


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dallas kruse
Re: How to film 1 person twice in the same scene...
on Sep 21, 2016 at 5:17:29 pm

All of these are great points and are helping a lot.

The body double idea ... great idea but I'm afraid we don't have the manpower to do so. But its something to keep in mind.

If difference matte is the way to go, I'll search on line for difference matte tutorials.

Question ...

for the clean plate ... would you film the empty scene? or take a snapshot photo of it and use that for the source matte?

Music Producer dabbling in Video.
FCPX. Adobe CS6.
Canon T4i.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to film 1 person twice in the same scene...
on Sep 21, 2016 at 5:28:47 pm

Since the Difference Matte compares the pixels of one clip to the pixels of another clip, then makes the identical pixels in each shot transparent, it's essential that each clip is identical in every way possible. So use the same camera for the clean plate.

Given those constraints, you can see how this effect only works on locked-down shots. Under identical lighting conditions. As I said earlier, it's VERY picky.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: How to film 1 person twice in the same scene...
on Sep 21, 2016 at 9:40:25 am

One other trick that may help is to use a body double - someone that is the same height and body type as the actor, dressed exactly the same- in the shots where the two characters are supposed to interact. Shoot both passes with actors switching roles (practice a lot to try to get similar timings- doing this on music or counts of 8 will help) and then roto the face of one character played by the actor in on one of the shots and match it on the second shot where the same character is played by the body double.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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