8 Replies Latest reply on Jul 7, 2011 8:20 AM by PaulFAubin

    Masking Footage




      I have Production Premium CS 5.0. I am working on a scene where the footage has a green screen in the background and action in the foreground that I need to layer. The subject on the green screen needs to fade out and disappear revealing the footage behind. I can do this in Premiere Pro. However, before they disappear, their arms which are out in front of the subject need to disappear first. We did take some footage with the arms behind the back, but it is not very satisfactory, so I am trying to mask around the arms in After Effects. It is slow going, but working OK. I have two questions:


      First: when I mask out the arms, I would like to use the same footage to reveal behind the disappearing arms. I was wondering if After Effects has a clone or healing brush tool like Photoshop? Can I use the surrounding footage to "paint" in the missing parts revealed by the masked semitransparent arms?


      Second: when I do "replace with After Effects composition" from Premiere, the green screen (ultra key) effect does not come across. After Effects does not seem to have this effect or another suitable green screen effect that I can see. Will the Ultra Key get reapplied when i return to Premiere? or do I need to export out final footage from Premiere first? Is there some other better work flow to go between the two programs?


      I am still pretty new to both of these, so forgive me if these are considered basic questions. Thanks so much.


        • 1. Re: Masking Footage
          Dave LaRonde Level 6

          It sounds like you need THREE layers:

          1. The foreground subject
          2. The middle-ground subjects, the ones with the arms
          3. The background


          The first two layers mentioned would be shot on green screen.  But it sounds like you only have two layers.  Is this true?

          • 2. Re: Masking Footage
            PaulFAubin Level 1



            I did try to create three. I have the background. I shot the subject with arms, then again with the arms behind the back to try to similate having no arms, but we did not shoot very well, so it does not match up so well. So yes, I do have three layers, but if I decide to not use the one with arms behind the back, can I duplicate the top layer twice, mask the first, then paint over the arms on the second?


            Of course we may decide to reshoot, so that is always an option. Thanks.

            • 3. Re: Masking Footage
              Dave LaRonde Level 6

              You could try to salvage the shot by animating a garbage matte to isolate the arms once you pull the chroma key, then  animating both layers' position properties to get things to match up.  It'll be tough to do, I think.


              If that doesn't work, take what you've learned about the proper way to shoot this, re-shoot and try again.  You will have gained valuable experience.

              • 4. Re: Masking Footage
                PaulFAubin Level 1

                I have definately gained valuable experience. No doubt about that.


                So do you know a way to get the Ultra Key I did in Premiere to show up in After Effects? Thanks

                • 5. Re: Masking Footage
                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  A screenshot of the footage would help us focus a little better on a viable solution.

                  • 6. Re: Masking Footage
                    PaulFAubin Level 1

                    Here is a screen capture. We have been talking it over here internally and I think we are going to reshoot. We are going to treat this exercise as a rough cut and use it as a story board to get the reshoot correct. I appreciate the help and suggestions. It may be a few weeks before we get to shoot, but I will try to post back when we make progress.


                    Meanwhile, I am still curious the best way to go back and forth between PP and AE and preserve the keyed out green screen. Thanks Masking and Keying.png

                    • 7. Re: Masking Footage
                      Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      With this complex of a key I'd do it all in AE. Keylight will go a good job.


                      You'll need to be very careful with the positioning of your actors so that the arms don't overlap. If you want overlap then lock off the camera and shoot one shot with one actor and another shot with the other. This will require a bit of planning and some good direction but it will be easier in post to separate out the elements.


                      Once you have the shots first thing you'll have to do is to pull a clean key. Once the actor is keyed perfectly duplicate the layer and roto out the actors body so you have one layer with just arms and another layer with the arms and the rest of the body. A quick mask around the body will be much easier and faster than trying to cleanly mask the moving arms. Just set your mask to subtract. You can then do a simple fade from the arms only shot to the entire actor shot.


                      I hope this helps. Planning is the key.

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Masking Footage
                        PaulFAubin Level 1

                        Thanks for the reply. Very helpful. I will keep you posted when we reshoot. Just getting into After Effects. Very cool stuff. Very powerful.