Blurring out logos, faces, words...

I am going to be shooting a marquee of a venue in a few days. However, the venue has the names of the bands that will be playing the venue in the coming weeks. Its a great looking marquee when it is all lit up. Not so much without lights. Anyway....

My question is: How do I go about blurring out the names on the marquee? I have Final Cut Pro, is there a quick way -- well, nothing is quick...or easy, but how can I blur out a section of the marquee without blurring the entire picture? Can I do this through FCP?

-- spinner :cool:
 
The main thing is to do the shot without moving the camera. If you must move the camera, try to move it in a very steady, smooth fashion.

On a still shot, blurring something out is as simple as layering a copy of the video over itself, creating a mask that defines the region to be blurred, and adding as much blur as you need. The mask will isolate the region to be blurred, so the sharp video on the layer below will show through where you've masked.

Defining a mask around a non-moving object is pretty easy; especially if it has a fairly rectangular shape. You can feather the mask for blending the effect. If, however, your camera is panning, you need to keyframe the mask points to track the object to be blurred.

If you've not done the shot yet, find a way to shoot it with a stationary cam. You can always do several different shots (all locked down) so you can cut between shots for some camera action, then make a mask for each shot, which is still easier than keyframing erratic motion.
 
"I have Final Cut Pro, is there a quick way -- well, nothing is quick...or easy, but how can I blur out a section of the marquee without blurring the entire picture? Can I do this through FCP?"

I have never user final cut, so I'm sure there's an easier way, but you could always make a copy of the video, blur it, place it on the track above it, mask/crop and feather it.

But, like I said, i'm sure there's an easier way.


EDIT:

And I was beaten to the answer. :(
 
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One more thing ... if you try to avoid obscuring the region you are going to blur, it may look better than having someone's hands waving in front of it, which means you'll either have to mask out their hand (to avoid blurring the hand), or blur their hand as it moves across the marquee. Although it's counter-intuitive not to try to hide an object you'll be blurring, your life will be easier if you have a clean shot of it.

I was doing a shot where I was replacing the contents of a billboard with a video clip. I planned it out so I would have the right shots and angles. Then, I wasn't looking through the camera, as it recorded a crowd cheering in front of the billboard, so I didn't notice that some peoples' hands reached in front of the billboard. Since I needed to keep those hands and I needed my video in the billboard to look good, I had to rotoscope 39 frames, which took close to 2 hours. If the shot didn't involve 15 people, I would have reshot it before going to all that work in post.
 
If there's a little motion in the frame, you can keyframe (the word to search for in the manuals is KEYFRAME) the 4-point matte filter that you've applied to the top, blurred layer.
 
Well, I am thinking that possibly some of the footage will be moving:
Driving towards the venue. Since the marquee is relatively big, maybe I can use some of that before you can read what is on the marquee.

Some will be panned to the marquee and then a still shot. By the way, I have my manuals in front of me and I'll be looking at them as soon as I get offline.

What I am trying to do is fill a glaring omission from the footage I did for a band. At the important opening perfomance they had in Detroit, they were not allowed to tape any video footage of the show. During the show, if Security saw you with a picture phone, they asked you to close it. The only person who was allowed to take pictures for them is unavailabe and would be expensive.

So, city of Detroit footage it is, and shots of the venue from the outside. I may attempt to get footage of the inside but since the venue is now under new management, they might not allow me to do so. I'll be checking this out as well. There is a possibility of using photographs of another show, I'll be checking that out tomorrow.

It might be a job for motion tracking....or Underdog, whichever comes first....

-- spinner :cool:
 
You really want to put your band's name in the Marquee, in place of what is there. That is a whole lot more fun! ;)

For the driving up shot, I'd get a high res picture of the front, fix the marquee in an image editor (like Photoshop) map it onto a crude 3D model, and animate the camera to move into the shot.

My copy of FCS2 is still sitting here on the floor, as I've been too busy to take any chances with a major upgrade. I'm not sure what motion tracking in FCP6 would do for a shot like this.
 
corner pinning is the technique for putting an image on video and making it follow the motion. No need for 3d models and all that.

That can be done in shake or after effects or probably the latest version of motion.
 
The reason for the model isn't just to change the Marquee, but also to allow me to use a virtual camera movement, like swooping in from the air. You see this in many productions. I think I've got an example somewhere, that I created, but a video with which you may be familiar is the one that the Serious Magic people used to demonstrate their virtual sets.

Essentially, if I need an effect I can't do without an airplane, or truck mounted dolly, I map images onto a model and setup a virtual camera. It's really not that difficult, as the model doesn't have to contain that much detail.
 
...well, I think I probably should not put their name on this marquee, I could get in trouble. If it were just a little club, I might do it...

I am going to call tomorrow and see if I can possibly drive down and shoot their interior as well, but if not, I will have to figure something else out. I have an idea about keyframes, but I do need to relearn it. As yet I don't know how extensive that would be. But my concern is getting this project finished and to the band.

At least I may still have some alternatives, no 3-D stuff.

-- spinner :cool:
 
Marquees have to be changed, on an ongoing basis. :cool:

Chat up the club owner/manager, and see if you can work something out... like when it's time to change the marquee, arrange to have the name of the band you want up there all by itself for 30 minutes, or something.

There's your window to film the shot(s) you need, then the marquee change carries on to what it should be.

Just try to work in into their schedule. Worst that can happen is you end up paying the hourly for the marquee-changer guy.

Best that can happen, is you get a prime shot of the marquee (with just the band name you want) and have a plug for the club in the credits. Win/win.

On top... no need to blur stuff out. ;)

Edit: Just saw the "already finished project" part. Ooops.
 
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Chat up the club owner/manager, and see if you can work something out... like when it's time to change the marquee, arrange to have the name of the band you want up there all by itself for 30 minutes, or something.

...you know, Zen...

I did exactly that and 3 weeks after I worked around it and finished and gave the project to the band, I get a call from the owner saying that they would allow us to come in. I had only wanted to shoot the interior when no one was in the club. Can you say irony? AUGH! :bang:


-- spinner :cool:
 
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