Digital Actor Removal

Can a micro budget romantic comedy be a special effects film? It can when you have to do digital actor removal! In this shot, one of our extras had to leave about a quarter of the way into the shoot. Needless to say, having one of the actors simply disappear in mid-scene was a tad distracting. My solution? Paint him outta there!

Here is the original shot :

And here's what we needed to arrive at :

What to do...what to do? Well, step one was to paint Barry out and replace his pixels with a simulated background, which I did with some plain ol' digital painting.  Problem was, Andy (the guy on the left) moved a round a bit and kept slipping under the "Barry replacement" :

Not good. Half his face disappeared on this frame...So to remedy that, I added a layer that tightened up his edges and added them back in :

Yuck. Tedious, frame by frame rotoscoping! And then, there were some spots where the animated mask conflicted with the painted cabinet in the background. So I had to add yet another layer to tighten that up :

Once they were all together, the final clip looked great (see above), sans Barry (sorry Barry! Maybe next time!). All accomplished with Sony Vegas and the Gimp.


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