What do you do when you don’t have the shot?

What do you do when you don’t have the shot?

By John Fishback |

When you watch a film or video, it’s hard to know what production challenges have been met that subsequently made it look good. I thought I’d write a series of blogs highlighting certain behind-the-scenes work at P&P, and how We Produce.

Most editors have had the experience of getting to a certain point in their edit and realizing they don’t have a shot they need. This happened to me recently while editing a mini-doc about Pivot Ministries, a substance abuse rehab program. One of the pillars of Pivot’s process is to create a community that welcomes addicts and brings them out of isolation.

I needed a shot of an isolated guy and realized didn’t have one. But, I remembered a clip where Pivot’s Director was talking to a guy who had a very distant expression on his face – just what I was looking for. I started with a still of this scene. It might work, but I had to remove the Director from the shot.

Audio Production Stamford
I drew a mask around the guy.

Video Production Stamford
The composite resulted in an isolated guy.

Video Production Ridgefield
So now, I needed a clean background. My client took a couple of pictures with his iPhone, lining it up per my instructions. Here’s the original and the clean background.

Video Production Bridgeport
Video Production Danbury
I graded the background and the isolated guy so they were cooler, before I composited them.

Video Production Harrison
Video Production New Rochelle
Here’s the composite of the two pics, which is almost the final image I wanted.

Media Production Company Stamford
I imported the still into FCPX, added grain, light leaks, a bit of blur and tweaked the grade. I also added motion by slowly pushing into the image.