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Adding Footage to a TV

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Greg SchoenbaechlerAdding Footage to a TV
by on Mar 10, 2010 at 5:48:01 pm

Can someone briefly explain to me the best way to transpose footage on a TV. Thanks.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Adding Footage to a TV
by on Mar 10, 2010 at 6:07:53 pm

There are many different techniques for doing this, each one tailored for the demands of the shot. People who do such things plan their shots out in advance.

Since we're not mind readers, and since no one here has the time to outline all of them in a single post, suppose you tell us what you have in mind, hmmmmmm?

Details are good. Especially if you want to move the camera.

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


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Greg SchoenbaechlerRe: Adding Footage to a TV
by on Mar 10, 2010 at 6:24:18 pm

You got it. There are multiple shots in the scene but there's no movement, which should make it considerably easier. I could just throw the image up there easily by resizing it and stuff and have done that before but it was lackluster. Just looking for the best looking way to do it.


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Walter SoykaRe: Adding Footage to a TV
by on Mar 10, 2010 at 8:33:20 pm

Details sell the shot. There's no one trick for making a composite work; there are dozens of little ones.

Perhaps the TV has a subtle curvature, perhaps it's not quite in focus in your camera shot, perhaps there's a bezel on the TV that you'll need to mask around, perhaps that bezel will need a light wrap, perhaps the TV should be glowing subtly, perhaps the TV should be casting light on other surfaces in the room, perhaps the glass in the TV is catching highlights, shadows, or reflections from elsewhere in the room...

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Joey ForemanRe: Adding Footage to a TV
by on Mar 11, 2010 at 4:02:58 am

The technique of "harvesting" any reflections on the screen is one "kiss of love" that will go a long way towards selling the shot.

This works a lot more easily if the tv was off when the scene was shot.

Duplicate the layer and Mask off the screen. Duplicate that layer. Apply Set Channels to the topmost layer and change each channel to the one with the highest contrast. Maybe Red, but often Luminance works well.

Apply a Levels effect and boost the contrast even more, so that reflection(s) are white and everything else is black. If the edges get chunky, apply a little Fast Blur.

Now on the masked layer below, set the Track Matte to Luma.

Precompose these two layers.

Sandwich the tv content layer between the precomp and the main scene layer below.

That's it, basically. You can set the precomp's Transfer Mode to Add or Screen or whatnot for different flavors of reflection.


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Joey ForemanRe: Adding Footage to a TV
by on Mar 11, 2010 at 4:05:58 am

Ha, but you know what? This technique is total overkill if the camera wasn't moving. You can just mask the reflections on a separate layer.

Oh well, nevermind.

I also neglected to mention (for anyone that might be interested) that before you duplicate the masked layer, you first animate that mask to roughly follow the screen, in order to isolate the reflections, basically a moving garbage matte.

The, um, benefit of this technique is that it lets you retain the reflections without having to motion track and rotoscope them.

Hey, you could reshoot the scene with a little camera push for more drama, then you could put this method to good use and -

Just kidding.




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Darby EdelenRe: Adding Footage to a TV
by on Mar 11, 2010 at 4:44:21 am

[Joey Foreman] "Ha, but you know what? This technique is total overkill if the camera wasn't moving. You can just mask the reflections on a separate layer."

Hahah, I was wondering what all this mumbo-jumbo about luma mattes and what-not was :)

My recommendation, if the screen was turned off, is to just place the video footage over the screen, deform it however necessary to fit the plane/curvature of the screen and then set the blending mode to (drum roll) Screen*!

If the result preserves too many reflections, duplicate your footage and apply Effect > Generate > Fill to the bottom layer with a black fill, set the blending mode to Multiply and start reducing the opacity until it feels right.

*This post is brought to you by the letter 'Screen'

Darby Edelen


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Joey ForemanRe: Adding Footage to a TV
by on Mar 11, 2010 at 4:49:18 am

Darby! Long time no see.

Yea, I always overthink things when fatigued, and it's been a looong day.

That was great advice.


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Greg SchoenbaechlerRe: Adding Footage to a TV
by on Mar 11, 2010 at 5:24:54 am

Thanks, but one question. What if the TV was on? Plus it might be worth noting that there was a lot of light in the room so the TV screen is extremely hot. Also it's a flat screen TV.


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Darby EdelenRe: Adding Footage to a TV
by on Mar 11, 2010 at 6:57:39 am

If the TV was on then it will be impossible to preserve the natural reflections that the environment created on the screen of the TV.

Then you'll just place the footage over the screen in the Normal blend mode, corner pin or otherwise distort it to match the screen, and try to color correct it to fit the scene.

You could add some fake reflections on top of the footage as a last step, which may work in this case since you said the camera is locked down, but it's not as nice as getting the real reflections for free :(

Darby Edelen


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Michael SzalapskiRe: Adding Footage to a TV
by on Mar 11, 2010 at 3:58:12 pm

Great suggestions so far.

Flat screen tv's aren't as much fun to composite onto because they don't really have reflections like "real" TV's had.
("Shut up, Grandpa, these HD TV's are more real than your old ones ever were; they're hyper-real."
"Oh yeah? You whippersnapper! When I was young we went outside and made our own reality!")

Anyway...
I once did a weekly entertainment show on a green screen set. This fake set had what was supposed to be a flat screen TV. So I've had a bit of experience with this stuff.
To make it look realistic, the image on the tv should be blurred a little bit. Images that are overly sharp are a dead giveaway that they're composited later.
They should also be blown out a little bit. A little kick of levels goes a long way. Also it shouldn't be anywhere near black on that screen. The lowest black level of the screen image should be somewhat brighter than the darkest black of your footage of the room.
To fake the sort of reflections you get off of an LCD screen you can apply a bit of a gradient (or a VERY blurred image of the room at low opacity) set to screen blending mode over top of it.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Greg SchoenbaechlerRe: Adding Footage to a TV
by on Mar 11, 2010 at 10:21:54 pm

Okay last question. Took a harder look at the footage and the guy who shot it didn't lock the camera down real well so there is some even if minimal movement. What's the best way to do this with a little camera movement?


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Michael SzalapskiRe: Adding Footage to a TV
by on Mar 12, 2010 at 4:49:56 am

Motion tracking. Tons of tutes on that kicking around.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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