8 Replies Latest reply: Jun 25, 2007 11:49 PM by Bengt Wärleby
dmchord Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
What I'm looking to do is have a clip of me playing the guitar about 50% transparent over a clip of moving clouds. What would be even cooler is if I could somehow select just me and the guitar and cut out the rest of the clip, and play that over the clouds clip. Sort of like a photoshop mask in iMovie. Can I do this?

20" Intel C2D iMac, Mac OS X (10.4.9), 2.16ghz, 2gb ram and one pesky pixel
  • 1. Re: Transparent clip?
    Bengt Wärleby Level 6 Level 6 (19,160 points)
    Hi d

    Yes and no.

    No - with standard iLife/iMovie.

    Yes You can buy plug-ins that does some of this

    BUT

    Now is the time (My thinking !!!!) to calculate the costs of the various plud-ins
    needed and the cost of FinalCuExpress HD.

    In this: transparent 0 - 100 % is childs play and standard
    - blue or green screen - also standard but needs some practise
    (at least three various tools for this chroma-key as standard (read included))

    You'll also find better tools to get the color & brightness & contrast under control
    The audio tools also stands out.
    Picture control like size, rotation and even imagestabilization also included.

    And much more.

    BUT

    You have to learn another aproach to work like a pro.

    Yours Bengt W
  • 2. Re: Transparent clip?
    David Babsky Level 6 Level 6 (14,175 points)
    "..if I could somehow select just me and the guitar and cut out the rest of the clip.."

    You're talking about 'green-screening' (..used to be blue-screening..) to cut out your surroundings: it needs a bit of forethought, i.e; don't try to remove the background after you've shot the material; dispense with the background, instead, when you shoot the material.

    (..Though, of course, the simplest thing would be to mount the camera low, with a view of the clouds, and for you to just sit or stand between the camera and the clouds!..)

    You'll need a 'green-screen' iMovie plug-in, and then you'll need to stand, or sit, in front of a solid green (or whatever colour you choose) background. The plug-in effect will then remove everything of that solid colour, and will let you insert into that removed area your clip of moving clouds.

    Here's the Stupendous Software greenscreen plug-in but I don't think it's a 'Universal' plug-in, so it may force your Intel Mac iMovie to run a bit slower in 'Rosetta' mode, in order for this to work.

    As for making yourself semi-transparent ..that's a bit more difficult..
    (..Ooops, sorry; Bengt says it's simple..!)
  • 3. Re: Transparent clip?
    Bengt Wärleby Level 6 Level 6 (19,160 points)
    Hi David

    Simple - in iMovie I don't even know if it is possibly !!!!

    But I started to talk about FinalCut Express or pro AND here You most
    certainly knows there are lots of video tracks (99) and that they can be set
    to any transparancy of Your liking.

    But any plug in that does this is out of range Error.

    Do You know if it is possibly to do this in QuickTime-pro. Ought to be
    possibly.

    Yours appreciating reader Bengt W
  • 4. Re: Transparent clip?
    David Babsky Level 6 Level 6 (14,175 points)
    "..Do You know if it is possibly to do this in QuickTime-pro.."

    You can apply a Mask in QT Pro, then choose the Transparency of the Mask, or of the underlying clip.

    Doing that with a clip of a guitarist would probably involve taking a copy of the original clip, 'Inverting' it (..not turning it upside-down, but swapping black-for-white, for example..) then using that as the mask, and then adjusting the transparency.

    But I don't use QT pro very much, except to sometimes add video clips together ..although there's only one video track in iMovie, you can add as many as you like in QT Pro.. so I don't know all its ins and outs ..it used to be quite 'intuitive' to use, but many facilities seem to have moved to new places, and QT Pro 7 seems a but "unintuitive" to me.

    Karl or QT Kirk will know much more about it than I..
  • 5. Re: Transparent clip?
    dmchord Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Is it pretty easy to shuffle clips back and forth between QT Pro and iMovie? In other words, could I take the two clips from iMovie, adust the transparency of one in QT and lay it on top of the other, save that as one clip, and then toss it back to iMovie?
  • 6. Re: Transparent clip?
    dmchord Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    So, if I were to buy FinalCut Express, I could shoot a video clip of me playing the guitar against a blue background, shoot a time-lapse clip of clouds rushing across the sky, then overlay the footage of me playing guitar, semi-transparent, over the footage of the clouds?
  • 7. Re: Transparent clip?
    David Babsky Level 6 Level 6 (14,175 points)
    Yes, but you'd want to read all that Karl & QuickTime Kirk have to say about using QuickTime, or read Karl's QT Appendix to David Pogue's iMovie 6 'Missing Manual', and read all of Apple's QT support info here. You'd probably want to go to QuickTime Discussions, too.

    Apart from all that - and you probably need to upgrade to QuickTime Pro for editing capabilities, by clicking on the 'Downloads' tab at the top of this page, then choosing QuickTime near the top of the left-hand column - you need to know how to get to your iMovie clips..

    To find what iMovie calls any clip, double-click it in iMovie. (..You may have renamed a clip to "Peter in park 1", but iMovie may still call it "Clip 07"..)

    Jot down the name, then - using the Finder, not in iMovie - Ctrl-click on your project's name, and choose "Show Package Contents", then open the 'Media' folder, inside the iMovie project 'package', and that's where your clips are.

    OR - in iMovie HD 6 - you can just drag clips out of your iMovie project and straight onto your Desktop. That leaves the original in place, and puts a copy on your Desktop.
  • 8. Re: Transparent clip?
    Bengt Wärleby Level 6 Level 6 (19,160 points)
    Hi d

    Yes !

    You can do this. The big problem with FCE/P is not:
    - transparency (easy)
    - blue & green screen (fairly easy)
    but
    - a much more disiplined way of working. Importing Your material
    - understanding how video and audio keeps in sync
    - basic work flow
    It's pro way of doing and pro way of thinking.

    If You can put up to this:
    - namning each tape
    - import into bins
    - organise Your material - and what You want as end result - in before hand
    - may be even prepare a manus

    Then this is a very inspiring and interesting way to go.

    I use it for - full movies eg documentation of sermons/weddings etc
    - when I need to alter just a clip to be used in iMovie

    iMovie is still there and I use it rather often just for fun and when in a hurry.

    Yours Bengt W