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How do I edit-out eyebrows in a movie clip?

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Ravi Hammond
How do I edit-out eyebrows in a movie clip?
on Jul 11, 2012 at 11:02:03 am

Okay so I have this clip of me using a fake razor and gliding it over my cousins eyebrow.

In the unedited version the eyebrow is still there after the razor passes over it, but I want to change it so it looks like the hairs are being shaved off, and there is skin.

I know how to use photoshop and know how to make it look like someone has no eyebrows. But that's JUST a still image.

The only way I can think of possibly achieving this is to get every single frame of the clip and photo shopping each one of them individually. Two problems come to mind when I think of this:
1 - There are hundreds of frames in the clip which would take an extremely long time to Photoshop them all out.
2 - When I play the clip, every frame would not be EXACTLY the same, so there would be alot of flickering.

If anyone knows of the proper way / more effective way to achieve such a task, I would be extremely grateful.

The things I am not sure of:
- What program to use.
- how to use the program (whatever it may be)

Thanks again to anyone who can lend me a hand.

Ravi Hammond

p.s. I am new to this forum, and if this post belongs somewhere else, I will report it to an admin.

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Mark Suszko
Re: How do I edit-out eyebrows in a movie clip?
on Jul 11, 2012 at 2:07:37 pm

You are on the right track, Ravi, and you understand the problem.

Here's what I would do in your situation.

Mark the timeline in and out on the clip for all the frames the shot requires. There is a command in Final Cut Pro (and most other NLE systems) to export the selected frames as a "frame movie" or "image sequence" of stills.

Photoshop will let you work directly with a frame movie, to digitally airbrush out the eyebrows, frame-by-frame. Then you bring that altered frame movie back into your timeline, line it up, and your effect is done. That's a variety of what we call "rotoscoping".
And yes, it is a tedious job, which is why it is often farmed-out to assistants and etc. It is a job that requires much patience to get a good effect.

Another method you can try that's faster but less accurate, is to make two identical tracks in your timeline. Offset the lower track in the vertical dimension so the eyebrows are lower. Now we cut a hole in the top layer with the multipoint masking tool, where the eyebrows are, revealing the empty forehead skin on the layer below. Using the keyframe tools in the Motion tab of FCP, you can keep the mask tracking with the facial position, if the movement is not too great. The two tracks move in synchronization, keeping the layers in their relative positions, if the shot does not change radically.

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