A video of a show of a movie….

Back in the Photoshop tutorial, I discussed how to paste a computer screen on an image to avoid visual artifacts that could ruin the image. Video is even more problematic with screens because of flickering images and dark bars that can appear. This is due to the camera’s shutter and the screen’s refresh rate being unsynchronized, and it’s insanely hard to do.

Luckily, digital film editing has provided a much simpler way to film a TV screen. I just finished editing a comedy film where one of the characters spends a large amount of time watching a TV marathon. That meant we needed to be able to show the marathon on a TV screen, so this method came in handy a lot.

First you need to get video of a TV screen, (preferably while it’s off). Make sure you record long enough that will place the video you want on the TV screen to fit!

DISCLAIMER: This tutorial will feature screenshots from Apple’s Final Cut Pro software. Most of the controls and menus are similar in Adobe Premiere.

First, import the TV recording and the TV show footage into your project and then drop them on the timeline.


It is important to note that the video tracks work just like layers in Photoshop. The upper tracks are laid overtop of the lower tracks.  Now the image is probably going to cover the whole video clip of your TV.


This is obviously not what we want, so double click on the TV show footage in your timeline. In the source window (the one to the left of your viewer), the video footage should appear. Go to the Motion tab and change the scale and center of the footage until it sort of fits on the TV screen. If it doesn’t fit perfectly, that’s okay. We’re going to crop it in the next step.


If the image doesn’t fit snugly (such as my example below), then use the cropping to squeeze the image into the frame of the TV.






Now it looks great! But it still looks a little artificial. That’s because an image on a TV screen has glare and shadows from the TV on it. If you shot your TV footage well enough, the TV screen has a bit of glare and shadow on it.


By tweaking the opacity of the TV show footage, a tiny bit if the glare and shadow from the TV will come through. This creates a convincing illusion that the image is actually in the TV.



Perfect! Now you may notice a little red line above you video tracks in the timeline. That means the computer wants to render that section of video. Rendering a video makes playback smoother, and reduces how hard the computer has to work to display the video.


If you go up to the Sequence menu, and then select Render, you can choose to render different parts of the movie. (This menu is very different from Adobe Premiere. I believe in Premiere, the best option is to Render Workspace?)


And now its done! Save your project and keep editing!


About cerrax

Butcher. Baker. Candlestick Maker. And world-class cheese. http://www.cerrax.com
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