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Softening the focus on interview subject's face (4k video delivered on HD Timeline)

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Anne Davis
Softening the focus on interview subject's face (4k video delivered on HD Timeline)
on Sep 5, 2018 at 10:31:03 pm

I shot an interview on a Panasonic GH5 in 4k for delivery on an HD timeline. The interviewee was lit with soft diffuse light and fill but since the video is for a documentary no cosmetic effects were requested at the time it was shot (i.e., special lighting, ProMist filter on camera, etc.)

The interviewee is not happy with the end result and I'm hoping to be able to soften the focus either within FCPX or with an external plug-in or program.

I'd appreciate any suggestions of filters, etc. that might be helpful to achieve this result.


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Softening the focus on interview subject's face (4k video delivered on HD Timeline)
on Sep 5, 2018 at 11:31:40 pm

HyColour Pro has a pro-mist filter that I've used from time to time. Digital Anarchy have Beauty Box plugin, Red Giant have Cosmo. There's also a free plugin I picked up ages ago that I use a lot which I think is part of a set called "Brett's FX" but I'm not near the computer to say for 100%.

If you want to DIY you can duplicate the footage, apply a slight gaussian blur to the top layer, then composite it using either the Screen or Lighten modes. Adjust the upper clip transparency and amount of blur to taste.

----
Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer & Cinematographer
Hobart, Tasmania | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Joe Marler
Re: Softening the focus on interview subject's face (4k video delivered on HD Timeline)
on Sep 6, 2018 at 12:38:31 am

[Anne Davis] "The interviewee is not happy with the end result and I'm hoping to be able to soften the focus either within FCPX or with an external plug-in or program.

I'd appreciate any suggestions of filters, etc. that might be helpful to achieve this result."


As Jeff said, Digital Anarchy's Beauty Box is OK. However the best skin processing plugin is Imagenomic Portraiture. It was long the best such product for stills, but is more recently available for video. Unfortunately it is expensive but it's simply the best. It is very compute-intensive to run, so if you are processing a 5 min interview clip that will take a while, even on an iMac Pro.

As with all compute-intensive plugins such as Neat Video or Digital Anarchy Flicker Free, it's best to defer running it until editing is almost finished. Since some trial and error may be involved in getting it "dialed in", it's best to blade a small range and run it there. Then once you finalize the settings run it on the entire clip. That will take a while.

It can produce a very natural looking result, not some artificial softened look.

http://imagenomic.com/Products/VideoSuite


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Softening the focus on interview subject's face (4k video delivered on HD Timeline)
on Sep 6, 2018 at 2:05:19 am

There’s a “cheap” way to do this by selecting the skin tones and blurring shadows in to oblivion.

You’d use the color corrector, add a color mask, select the skin tone add or remove color, and then blur it a bunch. You can control the blur through a garbage mask (shape mask as FCPX calls it).

I don’t have a machine in front of me right now, or else I’d post screengrabs.

Sometimes I find those digital makeup kits make the subject look too plasticy.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Softening the focus on interview subject's face (4k video delivered on HD Timeline)
on Sep 6, 2018 at 2:18:00 pm

I was going to suggest the same thing as Jeff K. did. Duplicate/stack the clip, gaussian blur one layer, adjust opacity and blend mode to taste. I'd add a little different color correction to the new layer as well, and this is totally subjective, you do it to your own taste, but play with the exposure settings in the color corrector there. I think it does give something like the look of a ProMist.


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Anne Davis
Re: Softening the focus on interview subject's face (4k video delivered on HD Timeline)
on Sep 8, 2018 at 5:42:54 pm

The DIY approach Jeff suggested, as well as the additional tips from Jeremy and Mark, worked out well. I'll be looking further into the plug-ins for comparison on the results. Thanks to all for the helpful answers.


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