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How to synchronize video clips that are close but not perfect?

New Here ,
Feb 09, 2024 Feb 09, 2024

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I am trying to combine two clips with camera movement, one with greenscreen-elements removed, one without.  If you saw any of the behind-the-scenes work of how they shot 2020's Invisible Man, you have an idea of what I'm trying to accomplish.  In that movie, they had an expensive robot camera that could perfectly replicate camera movement across multiple takes.  One take would have greenscreen-suit guy doing something, one would just be the background.

 

I've tried doing this with a programmable gimbal.  The problem is that while multiple takes are close, they aren't exactly the same.  And if you mask something from the top clip, you can definitely tell that the bottom clip doesn't perfectly line up.  I guess a thousand-dollar gimbal just isn't capable of the same level of precision as a million-dollar robot camera.

 

So it occurred to me: is there a way to use After Effects to perfectly synchronize the two clips?  Then I could remove the greenscreen-suit guy from the top clip and get the effect that I'm looking for.

 

This isn't that hard to do without a stationary camera, but I really want to do it with camera movement.

 

Any suggestions?

 

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Community Expert , Feb 11, 2024 Feb 11, 2024

I took a look at the shots. The timing is off by one frame. I found that by setting the top layer's blend mode to Difference and offsetting the timing at the fastest part of the frame. I picked the frame at 03:23 and set a couple of layer markers. Then I offset the bottom layer until the timing looked as good as I could get it:

RickGerard_0-1707717589808.gif

Switching the blend mode back to normal and creating a mask on the top copy, then adding the black and white filter to the bottom copy, gave me a good look at the matchu

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Community Expert ,
Feb 09, 2024 Feb 09, 2024

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If the shots are close enough that the movements are similar and there is enough fixed geometry in both shots, you can use Mocha AE to motion stabilize both shots based on their camera movement, and then you can line up the inserts and effects and put the motion from the main shot (could be the background or the actor) back in all of the shots. I do this a lot with what I call an Advanced Corner Pin workflow, but it will also work with a simple Transform, Scale, Rotation, and maybe Shear track. It all depends on the shots. If you can share your shots, we may be able to suggest an efficient workflow.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 10, 2024 Feb 10, 2024

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Agree with Rick. Sharing some screenshots zto illustrate the problem would be useful. Quite likely you're seeing some minor perspective alignment issues and those could probably be fixed easily with a pit of corner pin or the Transform effect plus a bit of pulling & tugging with distortion effects like the Puppet Tool or Mesh Warp.

 

Mylenium

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Community Expert ,
Feb 11, 2024 Feb 11, 2024

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I took a look at the shots. The timing is off by one frame. I found that by setting the top layer's blend mode to Difference and offsetting the timing at the fastest part of the frame. I picked the frame at 03:23 and set a couple of layer markers. Then I offset the bottom layer until the timing looked as good as I could get it:

RickGerard_0-1707717589808.gif

Switching the blend mode back to normal and creating a mask on the top copy, then adding the black and white filter to the bottom copy, gave me a good look at the matchup. The timing is a lot better, and the footage matches close enough that a real-time preview doesn't show any significant problems. Even this 7-fps gif looks pretty good.

RickGerard_1-1707718280281.gif

Both shots are the same, so I'm not sure what you are trying to accomplish here. If you put another object in the shot, removed the background, and layered them in a composite, the shot would be good enough for TV or internet videos. 

 

I've included an AE 2024 file for you to fiddle with. It looks pretty good to me.

 

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New Here ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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Thanks so much!

These were just samples trying to illustrate what I was doing.  My plan is to do something like this, but in the top video have another object being carried/moved across the room by someone in a greenscreen suit.  Then I'd key out that person, leaving only the object being moved and whatever else was left of the room, but having the bottom video fill in where the key was.  They used a technique like this in the 2020 movie INVISIBLE MAN to do the invisible work while still allowing camera movement, but they had a very expensive robot camera that could guarantee a perfect sync between shots.  I was hoping to get the same effect with a much cheaper gimbal.

I've done similar things with a locked-down camera, but my goal is to achieve that effect with camera movement.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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They used the same technique, matching shots and rotoscope instead of color keying in The Invisible Man in 1933.

 

The same idea was used in the even earlier in "A Trip To the Moon" by 

 

Matching camera moves has become a lot easier. Mocha AE, After Effects, and a bunch of other software have reduced the time and budget required from weeks or even months to days. I'm a little surprised that the RS3 Pro can repeat moves that accurately when it is on a tripod. With careful planning and similar moves, you can do the same with a handheld phone as the camera. 

 

Sometimes Content-Aware Fill can solve the "remove the guy in the green screen suit" problem. Mocha Pro has a Clean Plate feature that I have used many times to eliminate objects from a scene. Neither of those solutions requires matching camera moves to remove someone wearing a greenscreen suit from a shot.

 

Good luck with your project. Let us know how it goes.

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New Here ,
Feb 11, 2024 Feb 11, 2024

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Here's three Vimeo links that show the issue.  The first two are clips I took with a Canon R5C on a DJI RS 3 Pro that had movement programmed using the Track functionality.  As you can see, they're awfully similar.

But I took the top clip, put it on top of the bottom clip using Premiere, then masked out half of the top clip.  The third link, Composite Video, shows the result.  As you can see, at first all looks (mostly) good.  But as soon as the camera starts to move, you can see that the clips don't line up perfectly, leaving a noticable line where the clips join.

Here's the links:

* Top clip (without mask): https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/912099017/99b7fd5288
* Bottom clip (without mask): https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/912099041/1556b45675
* Composite (masked top over bottom): https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/912098953/a7704bb7de

I allowed downloads on the clips so you can download and play with them if you want.

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