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David Edward Keen

Removing an object from its environment in Post

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Hello folks


I'm making a short, the action of which takes place inside a facility building. I can find a few buildings around NYC but how can I remove them from their environments and place them into new ones?


Specifically, I want the building but not the parking lot, cars, and NYC streets and signs etc around it. I would like to pluck it out and put it into a wide shot of a desert location near Flagstaff that I have.


How might this be done on PremierPro and FCPX?





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Is the camera going to move? Are the actors or anyone else moving around going to physically cross the areas you are replacing? You really have to plan this sort of stuff out carefully...

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Well then it's basically about matching the two plates in terms of light, angle, view, lens height, etc. and figuring where the matte line is going to go to blend the two parts. As for the actually joining process, someone with digital VFX will have to answer that.

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Since there is no movement as you described, you can do with just

taking proper photos of the building and the desert place and Photoshop them together.


By proper i mean matching angle of view, camera height and lighting, as David mentioned.

After creating the "real" looking matte (painting) image, in your NLE, you can add

some slow zoom, to add interest to the shot.


I would probably do a take with the camera i'll be using a black clip.
Lens cap on, ISO the one i'll use for exterior.
I will overlay that black clip's (micro) noise over the image,
to give interest and "life" to the still image. As being shot with that camera.

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viewer is easily fooled with a still image if you composite some moving elements to it (moving clouds, flying sand, etc.) which can be shot separately or even be stock footage.


be extra careful to pre plan where your matte lines will be so that you don't need to rebuild half of the building in photoshop to make up for cars etc. in front of the lower levels of the building etc.


as others said it would be easier to start with a high resolution image to make the composite and then degrade it afterwards to match other footage in the movie.

remember to add the correct amount of noise/grain if you are using stills

AND be careful to use believable depth of field if you have out of focus areas in the image (the most classic mistake with today's VFX is to have both the subject AND the cgi background perfectly in focus which defies the laws of physics and looks like totally fake all the time. camera can focus to only one point at a time and other parts (foreground, background) MUST more or less out of focus, period. I don't know where the trend of having the fake DOF in cgi shots comes from but it is absolutely horrible and for some reason used in even 100M+ budget movies :blink: )

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