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How to create a video within a video?

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Melanie Easton
How to create a video within a video?
on Aug 25, 2015 at 6:13:52 am

Hi guys,

I'm trying to figure out how to pull this off for a music video I'm doing. Have tried to search it a dozen different ways but can't find what I'm looking for. I assume I'd need to this in After Effects.

Basically I've got a scene in the video where a character is watching another video on a TV. So it's a video within a video, I guess. The video inside the TV is being filmed afterwards, so I can't just have it playing on the TV during the shoot (though I suspect that wouldn't look good anyway).

What would I need to do in After Effects (or Premiere Pro?) to get the second clip to look like it's playing on a TV in the original clip? Could I paint the prop TV screen green or something to facilitate replacing it in post later?

Any advice on how to pull this off would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully I've explained it okay.

Thanks! :)


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Martin Brennand
Re: How to create a video within a video?
on Aug 25, 2015 at 7:02:20 am

You can do this in a number of ways, but it depends on a few factors:

1. Is the camera moving in the shot?
If so you will need to track the motion of the television afterwards to match-move the screen insert perfectly.

2. Is the television a modern TV or an old one?
This is important to determine how much you'll need to warp your screen insert to make it look realistic.

3. Do you need the footage being inserted on the TV to help light the room in any way?
If the lighting is important you may want to play your insert on the TV, then replace it with a clearer version afterwards in post.

4. Do you need to keep any reflections on the screen?
If so you may not want to place tracking markers or inserts on the TV.

Here's some examples of me doing just this. I'm using mocha Pro here, but most of these can apply to After Effects and the bundled mocha AE as well:






Martin Brennand | Product Manager | mocha - Imagineer Systems


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Nathan Walters
Re: How to create a video within a video?
on Aug 25, 2015 at 8:34:28 pm

It will definitely help to have some kind of green material over the screen. Some kind of clean, saturated green paper (carefully cut to the screen shape) should work okay.

Definitely want to consider movement. If there is any movement, you may want to consider putting tracking marks on the green (possibly a contrasting color to the green, such as magenta).

And as far as compositing, in order to sell that it's actually there, make sure the resolution of the tv screen image matches that with the rest of the scene (sharpen or blur accordingly to get a close match). I've seen many times where the screen is way too sharp in comparison to the rest of the scene, or vice versa. And it also helps to have it interacting with the rest of the scene. Such as reflections or the light subtly shining on nearby surfaces. All of these will help sell the effect.

Nathan Walters
Halo Union Productions
http://www.HaloUnion.com


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Melanie Easton
Re: How to create a video within a video?
on Aug 26, 2015 at 1:54:23 am

Thanks so much Martin and Nathan.

To answer the list of questions quickly:

1. Is the camera moving in the shot?
I was planning on it, yeah. Wanted to do a slider shot with the camera moving towards the TV. But maybe I will shoot a static version too for safety in case I screw up the tracking.

2. Is the television a modern TV or an old one?
Old one. Video is set in the 80s so will probably be quite curved.

3. Do you need the footage being inserted on the TV to help light the room in any way?
Nah, it's daytime, so not really.

4. Do you need to keep any reflections on the screen?
Wasn't planning on it.

With regard to putting green material over the screen - much of the decor in the room is green or green-ish, so could I cover the screen with maybe a solid magenta material instead?

Regarding matching the resolution of the two videos in the scene... the video is set in the 80s and the actor is watching an 80s video on TV. So could I have the video inside the TV be a lower resolution deliberately? So the main video looks super clean but the one on the TV looks a bit crap on purpose?

Watching your video now Martin. This is extremely useful.

Thank you both so much for the advice.


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Martin Brennand
Re: How to create a video within a video?
on Aug 26, 2015 at 6:21:49 am

If you're just placing the insert directly on the screen you may not even need the green screen, as you can just mask or warp the insert to match the screen frame. If there is a unique look to the TV that means keeping the soft edges of the screen is important, then a green screen may be useful.

In terms of placing the actual screen element and making it look 80s, there are a number of ways to do this. You'll have to consider whether you want to show any obvious interlacing and so on, but you can also deliberately down-res the footage first or degrade it in other ways using plugins.

AE has a few native effects that you play with to get the look, but there are also dedicated third-party plugins for stylising exactly the TV look you're after here, such as the BCC Damaged TV effect in the BorisFX Stylise Unit bundle:
http://www.borisfx.com/products/continuum-units/stylize/

Martin Brennand | Product Manager | mocha - Imagineer Systems


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