Welcome to Final Cut Pro X in under 5 minutes. I’m Steve from rippletraining.com. In the past several years, aerial videography has become increasingly popular do to the low cost barrier of entry for a complete system like this DJI Phantom 2 shown here.
We took one out for a test drive recently and shot some go pro footage our house in northern arizona. After viewing the footage later on my Mac, I began to notice things in the shot that weren’t so obvious while flying the camera around and looking at the tiny image the drone was streaming to the iPod touch.
Here is one example; in the foreground you can see the hard shadow the drone as it flies over the scene. I learned the hard way that on bright days like this one, I need to be aware of my shooting angle and direction if I want to avoid seeing the camera in the shot. But since this was my first shooting experience and I was more enamored with the fact that I had a new toy to play with, I cut myself some slack.
Be that as it may, I very much like this shot, and wanted to see if I could remove the shadow in post using Final Cut Pro X. I’m going to be using an effect called the RT Cloner that is part of our Ripple Tools 2 collection of plugins to see if I can’t salvage the shot.
If you want to know more about our Final Cut Pro plugins, click the link in the info section. I’ll start by selecting the clip, then pressing X to set a range for the entire clip. In the Titles Browser, I’ll locate the Ripple Tools 2 collection, then select the RT Cloner. Press Q to connect it above the clip in the timeline.
In the center of the screen is an onscreen control called a target. Drag it over the pixels you want to clone out. The RT Cloner works by defining how large a section of neighboring pixels you want to use for cloning. Press Command 4 to open the inspector. In the published parameters section, reduce the size of the target until the gray circle is just covering the object you want to remove.
In order to see the pixels you are cloning from, turn off the Show Target button. Now using the Clone Offset hot-scrubbers drag up or down for the X value. Dragging upward clones pixels to the left of the target, and dragging downward clones pixels to the right of the target. I’ll drag up because the tonal range of the pixels to the left are a much better match. In order to reduce the hard line of the clone patch I’ll crank up the feather amount.
In order to track the target to drone shadow, set keyframes at the playhead location. Move the playhead to the beginning of the clip by pressing Home. Now I’ll drag downward on the X Target Position to clone from different source pixels. Notice a new keyframe has been set for the Target position at the current playhead location.
Using the right arrow key I’ll step through the clip looking for any frame where the target is not covering the drone shadow. At any point I can refine the target position to get the clone back on track.
Let’s see how it looks playing back in real time… not bad…. If I press the V key I can see a before and after. I can even make adjustment to the clone parameters while the clip plays back. Depending how much movement is in the shot and where you are cloning from, you may have a perfect clone or you may have one that’s passable. But for me, the real benefit was how fast I was able to fix it in post.