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Kryštof Jankovec
Silhouettes
on Sep 29, 2009 at 8:14:05 am

Hello,
I've got some footage of two people sitting in the car at night. You can see them from the back (the camera was in the trunk of the car) and it is all quite colorful - which is nice, but I would like to make the two men talking to each other only black silhouettes (while everything else will be colorful. Do you please have any ideas how I could do this?
Thans a lot for your time.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Silhouettes
on Sep 29, 2009 at 3:11:23 pm

When you shot this, did you hope you could do something in After Effects without actually knowing what to do?

Some people will suggest a variety of keying processes. This may or may not work -- we can't know for sure because we haven't seen your footage.

The only reliable way to do it is this: you will need to rotoscope the people to isolate them from their surroundings. This involves animating VERY precise masks around the people, sometimes on a frame-by-frame basis. If this sounds like a very painstaking and time-consuming process, you are absolutely right.

Dave's Stock Answer #2:

When you're out on a shoot, and you say, "we'll fix this in post" without knowing PRECISELY HOW you're going to fix it in post, don't shoot it! You'll only end up shooting it over again.

Since post typically costs three times the cost of production, fixing something in post is not a way to save money, but rather a way to spend more of it.

And, before you say "well fix it in post," always consider who's doing the work, especially if you're the one doing the editing.


Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Kryštof Jankovec
Re: Silhouettes
on Sep 29, 2009 at 9:44:48 pm

I didnt shoot the film yet, I just have a few sewconds to see what it would like:-). I wouldnt film something without knowing in advance what Im going to do with it. So do you have any ideas what to do with it, please? Rotoscoping is pretty desperate:-). Please? Any suggestions welcome.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Silhouettes
on Sep 29, 2009 at 10:07:51 pm

[Kryštof Jankovec] "do you have any ideas what to do with it, please? "

Congratulations! You seem to be one of the few people who think before they shoot. Here is what I would do:

  • Shoot the actors, sitting on stools or cushions, on a chroma key background.
  • Shoot the car interior separately, with no one in it.
  • Make sure both shots match in terms of camera position and lens focal length.
  • Once you get a good chroma key, you can use AE's Fill effect to make the actors all black.
  • Put the chroma key layer on top of the empty car layer in the timeline.
  • Duplicate the empty car layer and put it on TOP of the chroma key layer in the timeline.
  • Make a mask on the empty car layer, keeping the parts of the shot that should be in front of the actors.

You will want to test this to make sure it works, of course.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Kryštof Jankovec
Re: Silhouettes
on Sep 30, 2009 at 5:55:23 am

Thank you:-). Maybe these are stupid questions, but it's better to look dumb than to be: Why would you duplicate the car layer and put it on top of the chroma key layer? Also, I suppose the empty car could just be one frame with one mask? I think the only thing that will be in front of the actors will be the backs of the seats.
Once again, thanks for your time.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Silhouettes
on Sep 30, 2009 at 3:11:45 pm

[Kryštof Jankovec] "Why would you duplicate the car layer and put it on top of the chroma key layer?"

If the shot is locked down, what does it matter if it's two frames or the entire layer?

Have you solved the problem of what to do if in the empty car shot, a car passes by with headlights on... which means the light changes in the car interior?

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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