🎬 Basic VFX For The Editor or Colorist

In the modern world of video editing things are changing rapidly. Jobs are frequently given to those able to wear the most hats, so this section introduces some basic VFX techniques that everyone aspiring to assistant editing or color is wise to learn. These were previously the domain of “finishing artists” working on high-end systems, but the affordability of modern software means you have a lot of power available to you for free. Very often assistant editors will be given rough VFX tasks to help communicate the creative intent of the shot. These shots will ultimately be farmed out to VFX houses for the final shot, but the assistant can play a key role in helping tell the visual story in the mean time.

Paint Outs

Weather it’s removing a blotch from a floor, a dirty sensor spot, or an imperfection on the talent’s face, learning to do small cleanup jobs is a task everyone should learn. This is essentially like Photoshop’s clone tool for video and can be done in several ways.

Object Removal Effect

First, if you have the studio version of Resolve, simply try the “object removal” tool (like Adobe’s ‘content-aware fill’).

Color Page Node Sizing

The next most simple approach is to use node sizing on the color page. If you lock it, you’ll see that as you adjust sizing the image underneath the area you’re “cloning” moves.

Qualifiers in Color

A secondary qualifier can often be a great method of reducing the visibility of small imperfections. Just select the ‘spot’, make sure you have a good key, and color it to match its surroundings.

If none of the above work for you, it could be time for a trip to the Fusion page.

Sign or Screen Replacement

Whether a cell phone frequently used by the main character or a billboard used as exposition at the opening of a film, you’ll be doing this sort of thing a lot. It’s easiest done in Fusion.

Fusion’s planar tracker lets you select the rectangle you want to track and then via a “corner pin” you place your content back on top. Adding the real world reflections via a “screen” transfer mode can really help sell the shot.

Sky Replacement

A simple luma key on the shot in the color page, combined with an alpha output, can give you a very passable sky replacement. Don’t forget this simple technique to really sell an otherwise dull shot.