Remove Moving Objects in Premiere Pro: 3 Effective Methods

Removing moving objects in Premiere Pro can be useful for:

  1. Clearing up shots: This gets rid of unwanted things like people or vehicles that cross into your shot.
  2. Fixing distractions: Moving things can take focus away from your main scene. Removing them keeps viewers focused on the important content.
  3. Making creative effects: You can remove something to create special effects, making your video more engaging or interesting.

Method 1: Masking and Tracking

  1. Open Adobe Premiere Pro and import your footage into a new project.
  2. Drag the video clip onto your timeline.
  3. Click the video to select it in your editing timeline.
  4. Open up the ‘Effect Controls’ tab and click the ‘Opacity’ drop-down to access the masking tools (Ellipse, Rectangle, or Free Draw Bezier).
  5. Choose your preferred mask shape, then click and drag over your footage to create the mask. It will auto-hide everything outside of its bounds.
  6. Once you’ve placed the mask correctly, click on the ‘Tracker’ button.
  7. In the Tracker control, click the ‘Play’ button to begin the tracking process. Premiere Pro will frame-by-frame adjust the mask to keep the unwanted element hidden.
  8. Adjust the mask manually in any frames where Premiere Pro didn’t get the tracking perfect.

When to Use This Method

This method is most effective when dealing with simple or predictable motion. This allows the tracker to follow the masked object with relative ease.

Additionally, it’s best used when your subject is on a stationary backdrop.

That’s because the tracking function sometimes struggles with very complex or changing backgrounds, as it could lose track of the object’s exact location or shape.

Based on the complexity of the background and movement of the object, you may need to manually adjust the mask frame by frame.

Method 2: Content-Aware Fill in After Effects

Adobe After Effects offers a powerful tool called Content-Aware Fill, which automatically removes undesired elements in videos by filling in the space they occupy with pixels derived from the surrounding areas.

When to Use This

This method is the best choice when dealing with more complex motions or backgrounds that the masking and tracking in Premiere Pro might not be able to handle accurately.

The tool uses artificial intelligence to understand the content of the scene and makes intelligent decisions about what pixels to replace the moving object with.

Premiere Pro and After Effects Integration

Premiere Pro and After Effects are designed to work together seamlessly.

You can easily work between the two applications by using the “Edit in Adobe After Effects” command in Premiere Pro, which will open up the selected footage in After Effects, allowing you to use more advanced tools like the Content-Aware Fill.

Once you’re done editing in After Effects, saving the project will automatically update the footage in Premiere Pro.

Step-by-Step Instructions on Content-Aware Fill

  1. In Premiere Pro, select the clip with the object to be removed and replace it with an After Effects Composition.
  2. Open the After Effects file and select the area to be removed, using either the Pen tool for freehand selection or the Rectangular Marquee tool for more geometric shapes.
  3. With the area selected, go to ‘Window’ and select ‘Content-Aware Fill’ to open the dedicated panel.
  4. In the Content-Aware Fill panel, under the ‘Fill Method’ options, generally ‘Object’ will be the best choice for moving objects. But you can always experiment with others (‘Surface’ and ‘Edge Blend’) according to your needs.
  5. Select the ‘Range’ to be ‘Work Area’ or ‘Entire Duration’, depending on your preference.
  6. Once you’re happy with your options, click ‘Generate Fill Layer’.
  7. After Effects will process the frame-by-frame reconstruction and generate a new layer that covers the unwanted object smoothly.

Remember, this method is processor-intensive and might take some time depending on the length and complexity of the video clip.

Afterwards, just save the After Effects composition and the changes will automatically reflect in your Premiere Pro project.

Method 3: Photoshop Frame Replacement

For particularly challenging cases where both Premiere Pro’s Masking and Tracking and After Effects’ Content-Aware Fill might falter, Photoshop Frame Replacement emerges as a powerful albeit labor-intensive option.

This method involves manually editing each frame where the unwanted object appears, leveraging Photoshop’s renowned suite of image manipulation tools.

When This Is Necessary?

This meticulous approach is best reserved for very complex cases, such as:

  • Highly detailed or dynamic backgrounds that automated tools struggle to interpret accurately.
  • Scenarios with overlapping elements, where the object to be removed is intermittently obscured or intertwined with other important visual components.
  • Significant visual effects requirements, where precise control over each frame’s content is necessary to maintain consistency and believability in the scene.

Photoshop Frame Replacement Process

  1. Exporting Frames from Premiere Pro: Identify the segment of your video that needs editing. Use Premiere Pro to export this segment as a sequence of frames (commonly in JPEG or PNG format).
  2. Editing Frames in Photoshop: Open each frame in Adobe Photoshop. Utilize a combination of cloning, healing, and patch tools to painstakingly remove the undesired object from each image, filling in the background as seamlessly as possible.
  3. Reimporting into Premiere Pro: Once all necessary frames have been edited and saved, import them back into Premiere Pro as an image sequence. This sequence can then be dropped into your timeline, effectively replacing the original segment containing the unwanted object.
  4. Adjust for Consistency: You may need to apply additional color correction or effects to ensure the newly created sequence blends smoothly with the rest of your footage.

Despite its time-consuming nature, the Photoshop Frame Replacement technique allows for unparalleled precision and control, making it a viable option for those cases where detail and accuracy are paramount.

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