Live person interacting with a puppet

Contributor ,
May 27, 2020 May 27, 2020

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Hi All. I am looking for a good workflow for this project. I have a human (me) talking to a talking-head puppet. Both are in a conversation. The approach I have tried is to video the human and his side of the conversation. Someone talks the puppet's lines for timing. Then make the puppet audio and use the Lip Sync feature to animate the puppet. The problem I am finding is that the timing of the back and forth dialogue gets out of sync and I am doing a lot of video triming. The result is acceptable, but not great.

Here is a link to the Draft Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69xPVmhIZdw

Does anyone have a solution that works better than this?

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Adobe Employee ,
May 27, 2020 May 27, 2020

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I think you are on the right track.  

 

Here's an idea you might try:

 

For this type of scene I'd suggest you have the person doing the voice for Mario just stand off screen to the right.  They would then do the Mario lines conversationally with you.  This would have a few advantages over what you are doing now:

1) You would have someone to look at and interact with, which will help you do a better performance.  If your Mario performer stands in the right location offscreen (you will want to experiment with this) it could really give the impression you are talking to a puppet when you add Mario in later on.

2) The timing of the lines will be a lot more natural (because you are having an actual conversation.)

 

Once you have your audio totally recorded, you do a compute lip sync from scene audio for the entire scene. 

That will give you visemes for both you and Mario.  Now just go into the timeline panel and select the visemes you don't want (the ones for you) and delete them.

 

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LEGEND ,
May 29, 2020 May 29, 2020

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I think that timing is work pretty well... If you used the other person's voice for the puppet you could just both talk and record both voices in one pass and feed that into CH (then delete the visemes for when you are talking). But as soon as the other voice is you, its just going to be hard to get timing right.

 

You could just read the other character's lines in your head so its just you talking then reading the next line in your head (nobody else reading the other lines) maybe?

 

Another trick where you do the restarts (I assume a mistake was made so you are editing and trimming) is you can hide them a bit by using Prem Pro or After Effects to cut to a zoom in on yourself or the puppet. The can scale the video in, using keyframes or similar. Then the splice looks like it is there for a reason (the zoom) and it visually looks a bit more interesting rather than the same camera shot all the way through.

 

But I think you have done a good job already. If you are doing two voices, getting them synchronized is essential.

 

Oh, there is another trick I have used sometimes - in Prem Pro you can splice the video when the puppet starts and finishes talking, then change the speed of playback for just that part. E.g. if you paused for 2 seconds but it should have been 3 seconds, you can change the playback rate for those 2 seconds so it slows down for a moment then speeds back up again. It can look smoother than a video cut.

 

But I think what you have is good. It will just take time.

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Explorer ,
Aug 24, 2020 Aug 24, 2020

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Hi - I'm just starting a project like this with me and a puppet for educational video. How exactly do you put the puppet scene and my video together? In after effects? Is there a way to import my video into CA as background and then do the puppet part of conversation? Any help is appreciated. I'm fairly good with individual puppets but not an expert by any means. Also, I would like the puppet to be sitting either at a table or on the floor (like a child would). Any suggestions for an efficient way to do this? I know I can do both ends of the conversation as videos, then cut and put them together. Any other way? Thanks in advance for any help!

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Contributor ,
Aug 24, 2020 Aug 24, 2020

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Hi Smart,

     The advice from Geoffrey and Alan is the best! I will revise my process in the future. One thing that I find easiest for me is to create the character in CH using one of the above techniques. Then export the CH scene using the ". . . with Alpha channel" export option. I then use Premier Pro to combine all the elements. QED.

     Be well fellow puppeteers. - Platty

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