14 Replies Latest reply on Sep 4, 2009 5:31 PM by Kurt_777

    documentary effect


      Hi Guys,


      I need to know how to make that effect that particularly documentaries use. History channel use it a lot. Where they take a photo, say an old black and white, and they make the main subject seem to be slightly seperate to the background and they pan slowly across the image revealing more background as though it was a 3d image. Perhaps this is a photoshop or illustrator job but would appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction for a tutorial.





        • 1. Re: documentary effect
          Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

          That's an effect we've seen used a several times in video contest entries at http://Muvipix.com.


          You do it by cutting the foreground object or person from the picture using Photoshop Elements and saving that as its own PSD file. Then you take the background of the picture and, using the Clone tool, you paint in the area that the foreground object was removed from.


          Then you put the background on Premiere Elements timeline on Video 1 and the foreground on Video 2, directly above it, and you use Scale and Position keyframe to create separate animations for each to get the 3D effect.


          You can see the effect at work here.



          And this thread, from Muvipix.com, links to a tutorial for doing it.

          • 2. Re: documentary effect
            Paul_LS Level 4

            It can be done in Premiere Elements, however it is more suited to After Effects. See Tutorial #5, "3d Ken Burns effect" on the link below. Note you need to use PhotoShop/Elements to seperate your foreground and background.


            • 3. Re: documentary effect
              the_wine_snob Level 9

              Along with the suggestions, links and descriptions above, I'd like to throw out an additional possibility. Instead of using the exact "background" image, and having to do the hand-work to replace where the subject was removed with the Clone Tool, think of picking another similar image, or perhaps another area of that background image to use on Video Track 1. You see this effect in several golf ads right now. The background images are shot separately and never had the subject in them. This allows of a lot less work needing to be done.


              As an example, if one had a Civil War (US, or other) archival image of a soilder on a battlefield and you wish to separate them from the background, instead of using exactly what did appear behind them in the original photo, think of finding a similar shot with nothing needing to be cut out and Cloned in. It might just be going to one side, or the other, of the same shot, or maybe a different background all together.


              This can save a ton of work, and depending on how far you wish to remove the subject from the background, can save a ton of work. Also, think about varying the focus of the background. As you zoom in on your subject, Keyframe in Gaussian Blur on the background to make it appear to receed more, behind the subject.


              Good luck, and have fun,



              • 4. Re: documentary effect
                briano.de.rhino Level 1

                Thanks so much, I looked around the net for hours till I thought of

                becoming an adobe forum member. Tips like this will make my videos

                ,and me, look better. Then I can pretend to my boss I am an uber-tech

                wizard. I will put your name in the credits....in very small writing.

                • 5. Re: documentary effect
                  the_wine_snob Level 9

                  A good editor is always learning. With few exceptions, most of what we do has been done before, by someone else. We learn from them, as it has been since the Lumiere Brothers.


                  Good luck,



                  • 6. Re: documentary effect
                    Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                    And I do encourage you to check out the forum and products page at Muvipix.com.


                    The site is full of helpful, friendly people -- and its loaded with dozens of great articles and tutorials.

                    • 7. Re: documentary effect
                      briano.de.rhino Level 1

                      Hi Hunt, sorry to bother you about this, I am trying to use the 3d

                      picture effect in a video I am making for my company. I have my

                      background layer and subject I want to move in layer 1.Did it in

                      Photoshop and saved as psd file which I opened in AE. I follow all the

                      steps in the tutorial but when I press play in the right hand box or

                      scrub the timeline no movement happens.it stays still. Maybe I amnt

                      doing keyframing right. I will look that up now. And if it doesnt help

                      me I will get back to you.



                      • 8. Re: documentary effect
                        Paul_LS Level 4

                        Not sure if you have seen this AE tutorial for achieveing the effect.


                        • 9. Re: documentary effect
                          briano.de.rhino Level 1

                          yeah this is the tutorial I was working from. I am making some

                          elementary mistake im sure. Its my first time trying out AE so when he

                          says use such and such a tool I have to grope about.thanks anyways.



                          • 10. Re: documentary effect
                            briano.de.rhino Level 1

                            Hey, I figured out the 3d photo effect in AE finally. The clip is an

                            old black and white photo of the subject and her Mom when she was

                            young. I saved the AE file onto memory stick to bring into my work

                            computer that has premiere elements 2.0. It wouldnt recognise the file

                            format. I am going home now to see if I have to render the AE clip or

                            something to make it work. Also, maybe PE2.0 is too old and wont

                            recognise .aep files so I will try and open it in premiere pro cs4 at

                            home and save it as .avi or somesuch and then bring it in to

                            work[elements 2.0]. What you think?


                            tHANKS FOR YOUR HELP THUS FAR.



                            • 11. Re: documentary effect
                              Paul_LS Level 4

                              The .aep file is an After Effects Project file, no version of Premiere Elements will open it. You need to export from After Effects as a video format and then bring this into PE2.

                              • 12. Re: documentary effect
                                briano.de.rhino Level 1

                                Youre a lifesaver. I am doing as many tutorials as I can so I never

                                have to ask you these inane types of questions again.





                                • 13. Re: documentary effect
                                  the_wine_snob Level 9

                                  Some tutorials stop a bit short, when talking about either PE, or AE Project files. These are but databases in XML, that locate Assets and tell what is done to these. They do not contain any useful image data. They are unlike, say a .PSD, or .AI file, from Photoshop, or Illustrator, which DO contain image data. To get usable data, one must first Export (PE, or AE, and also with .SES files from Audition), and this is where some tutorial authors stop short. They assume that all users will know this, but until one encounters it, they can be terribly confused. With Paul_LS's help and your work, you "broke the code," and have gotten past this little hangup. Even the manuals do not go into enough detail to make it perfectly clear as to what is required, and exactly what the various programs' Project files are, and what they are not.


                                  Hope that the Project goes well. We'd love to see your results. Maybe post to the Gallery in Muvipix.


                                  Good luck,



                                  • 14. Re: documentary effect
                                    Kurt_777 Level 1

                                    Way to think outside the square there, Hunt!


                                    Or would that be, "outside the frame"?