Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


Typos In Videos

I recently realized that one of our props for MathTacular3 had a typo on it. The sticker we used said "Erastothenes" rather than "Eratosthenes". The problem is that this was on a close up in the video and not just a title card. So, I needed to fix it in post.

The first step was to "photoshop" (I used GIMP) the correct spelling onto the image. Easy enough.



I tried to match the motion of the actor's hand with my replacement text, but I couldn't get it to truly lock on (this is difficult to do, and this kind of motion mapping can be seen breaking down in the opening title of shows like "Heroes"). So, then I tried just taking a freeze frame and playing that instead.

It looked bad. The popularity of zooming in and out of photos--or having them pan side to side--in video is due to people wanting motion pictures to have motion... even on their pictures. Trust me: You don't need motion on all pictures, but if something is obviously supposed to be video and is static, it looks bad.

So I needed motion from my static image. I first tried enlarging the image and just moved the freeze frame around the screen a little, but that looked completely wrong. The image was still static, but it seemed like the camera was bouncing around. Obviously the wrong effect.

So I needed to cut out the foreground and rebuild the background so I could move one without the other. This kind of trick has been used for years in films as different as "North By Northwest" and "Minority Report".

First, cutting out the hand was easy (if you'd like a tutorial on how to do that, please ask).

Cut Out of the Hand

But then I needed the background. This I completely rebuilt from another image I had of the chart and then a couple of gradients for the background.


In the end, I could move the "hand" layer over the background, giving my video motion.

Moving Pictures

The final result is pretty good. There are certainly problems with it, and if that doesn't work we may need to reshoot a close up. And that's the first lesson: Just because it is possible to fix things in post does not mean that you should, and you certainly should not count on your ability to do so.

However, the second lesson is this: Even with very simple (even free) tools, you can pull of special effects that an audience will buy. You just need to be willing to think outside the box, and have some idea of what it is you need to do.

~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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