No magic. Just conventional masking/ cut-out work in PS and mending the resulting holes on the BG plates, then lining everything up as 3D layers and adding ever so slightly a camera pan (within the limits of the pre-defined perspective of a photo or whatever is used).
Sorry to sound so thick but that sounds like real work (time-consuming). I'm not doubting you but if that's the case then I'm wondering how TV shows do this -efficiently-. I mean... it must take hours to do, right? Or is there some way to automate the process?
It doesn't take hours, just practice and proper preparation. Of course any number of other techniques can be used, including keying or heightfield displacements and masking can be facilitated by using e.g. mocha's mask tracker. Similarly, there is any number of plug-ins that can mend holes and gaps like tools meant for Stereo 3D work. It's really not that difficult. You also forget that a lot of stuff on TV is done by external production facilities and if you have a handful of people just doing this you can get a lot done in no time...
"Similarly, there is any number of plug-ins that can mend holes and gaps like tools meant for Stereo 3D work"
Can you give me any specific recommendations? I work a lot in Premiere, but a noob in AE. Looking for starting point to learn.
The roto and masking tools are much easier and faster to use than they were just a year ago. Start by learning Rotobrush and Mocha for masking. You can find tutorials that will get you started by simply typing rotobrush in the Search Help field at the top right corner of AE. That little box is the most useful tool in AE for beginners and experts alike. I look up something about once a week and I've been using AE for 20 years. There's always new ways to look at solving a problem.
This is an oldie but a goodie. Do a search for the film where the technique was first extensively used: "The Kid Stays In The Picture".
PERFECT. I always feel like such a jerk with these questions because it's hard to find the answer -until- one knows the correct 'Google' keywords. Then a billion results come up. I found this one straightforward:
And for any other noobs as thick as meself... search for "Ken Burns Effect" or "3d From 2d Effect".
I marked Dave La Ronde's answer as 'correct' because that keyword was... well... the key to finding a zillion tutorials.
Thanks to mylenium for getting me started!