What is video compositing?

What do we mean by the turn video compositing?

Video composition is when you combined visual elements to your video by adding multiple layers to a clip or even scenes. Basically you are integrating an object which isn’t in the original footage. The best way to think of Compositing is making a collage using text, image, graphic and video. Combining layers of new assets to go into the video which can look like it sits well in its environment or you can tell it has been added there. Compositing is creating a new image. The general principle behind compositing is to control the transparency/visibility and appearance of layers within a scene.

“Compositing: Joining images together in space to make one image, almost always after cutting out some of the areas of each”. Information from https://forums.creativecow.net/thread/2/973172

Video composition can be done using After Effects is a digital visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing application. This software is used in the post-production process of film making. After Effects can also be used for keying, tracking, compositing and animation. Other Compositing Software are Nuke and Autodesk flame.

Can you show me video compositing in action?

You can see video compositing being used in news reports such as, Lower 3rds which is tell the viewer, the interviewer’s name. They would have used After Effects and combined a text layer and shape layer onto the footage at the bottom of the screen. This can also be scrolling along the bottom of the screen.


Other examples where video compositing can be seen is complex film VFX (Visual Effects).

Can You Discuss a range of examples?

Examples of a simple video compositing is the Bravia TV Advert (which can been seen on my blog post). They have used video footage and then added a text layer.


Examples of complex video compositing is Deadpool (which can been seen on my blog post). They have used a lot of layers and effects to create this film title such as green screen, masks, mattes, tracking and Rotoscoping on the text so that it looks like the text is coming from behind and object. They have also used a lot of special effects.


What are different techniques used?

They are different techniques that can be used in composting such as,

  • Masks (can be attached to a layer) – Using a mask will allow you to hide or show parts of a video. You can also add a feather edge to create a vignette to the mask.

“A mask in After Effects is a path that is used as a parameter to modify layer attributes, effects, and properties. The most common use of a mask is the modification of an alpha channel of a layer, which determines the transparency of the layer at each pixel. Another common use of a mask is as a path along which to animate text”. Information from https://helpx.adobe.com/after-effects/using/alpha-channels-masks-mattes.html

mask vignette

  • Mattes – A track matte only applies to the layer directly beneath it. – Is independent of layer as appose to mask which is attached to layer. If you wanted to create a video which move across the screen such as on in the James Bond Gun Shot hole, this is ideal to create this look.

matte quantum_of_solace_-_gun_barrel

“When you want one layer to show through holes defined by another layer, set up a track matte. For example, you can use a text layer as a track matte for a video layer to allow the video to only show through the shapes defined by the text characters. The underlying layer (the fill layer) gets its transparency values from the values of certain channels in the track matte layer—either its alpha channel or the luminance of its pixels”. Information from https://helpx.adobe.com/after-effects/using/alpha-channels-masks-mattes.html

  • Green screen/ Blue screen (green and blue want be picked up on the skin tone). Green screen is a background that can have an image displayed on it in post-production.

“green screen

  1. (in film and video techniques such as chromakey) a blue (or green) background in front of which moving subjects are filmed and which allows a separately filmed background to be added to the final image”.

“a blue-screen effect” Information from Google.


  • Rotoscoping – is the process of cutting an element out of its background.

“Rotoscoping is an animation technique used by animators to trace over motion picture footage, frame by frame, when realistic action is required. Originally, photographed live-action movie images were projected onto a glass panel and re-drawn by an animator. This projection equipment is referred to as a Rotoscope. Although this device was eventually replaced by computers, the process is still referred to as Rotoscoping. In the visual effects industry, the term Rotoscoping refers to the technique of manually creating a matte for an element on a live-action plate so it may be composited over another background”. Information from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotoscoping


  • Adjustment layers – Any effects applied to an adjustment layer affect all layers below it in the composition stacking order.

“An adjustment layer applies colour and tonal adjustments to your image without permanently changing pixel values. For example, rather than making a Levels or Curves adjustment directly to your image, you can create a Levels or Curves adjustment layer. The colour and tonal adjustments are stored in the adjustment layer and apply to all the layers below it; you can correct multiple layers by making a single adjustment, rather than adjusting each layer separately. You can discard your changes and restore the original image at any time”. Information from https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/adjustment-fill-layers.html


Why would people want to use it?

As you can see from the examples on my blog there are numerous reasons people would want to use video compositing.. Essentially it allows you to create images that are impossible to film. Examples of VFX, Festival Titles.

Deadpool                                                            Smei-Parmanent

deadpool_titlesdownload making-of-semi-permanent-6


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