Domineaux, First I have to



First I have to ask you 2 questions;

1. Are you a Director or not?

2. Do you really want to do this kind of work?

Those questions may seem harsh, but if you can’t properly plan and control your shoots why are you doing this? As a shooter/director your responsibility is to scope out your scenes prior to shooting and make a decision on whether they work for you or not. If they don’t work, don’t shoot them otherwise you’re just wasting time, footage and money. I don’t know how long you have been doing this, but you’ve already developed the terrible habit of ‘trying to fix it in post.’

So in answer to your initial question, yes there is a way to ‘change the background without using a green/blue screen.’

1. Make the talent understand that the background is unsuitable for the scene and don’t shoot it. If the ‘talent’ is paying you for this service emphasize that ‘fixing it in post’ is going to increase the amount of your fee for the extra work. If they aren’t paying then tell them you’re not going to kill yourself trying to ‘polish a turd’ instead of doing it properly in the first place.

2. Position your subject so that you can frame them in camera without the offending ‘scenery’ being visible in the shot.

3. Use a white sheet behind them as a background and key it out. White sheets are cheap just get a queen-size or larger non-fitted so it will be large enough to be useable.

4. This is a more expensive option, but if you can’t shake the ‘fix it in post’ bug then get a copy of Adobe After Effects or a similar program capable of doing serious keying and masking.

So in answer to your overall question, yes you can mask stuff out but to do it properly so that it doesn’t look like crap is to use software capable of doing so. However, the best and cheapest option is to shoot it properly in the first place. Masking footage to ‘fix’ inappropriate backgrounds should be your last choice and not your first. You’re going to spend far more time matching the lighting of your subject to the new background and will suffer through some serious hair-pulling sessions trying to make the subject’s shadows match the new scene, etc., etc., etc. Masking is a valuable tool and every editor should learn how and when to do it. But the best ‘defense’ is to shoot the scene properly.

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