Pinnacle Studio, AVID Studio, HFX, proDAD, Boris FX Tutorials, Tips & Tricks
25 Latest Tutorials

DV FX RSS Flux Subscribe to Articles update by email - All Tutorials - Search - Tutorials by Category / Author / Month

special FX: Video Cloning

special FX: Video Cloning By saby - Last updated on Saturday, January 14, 2012
17118 Views :: 11 Comments :: Article Rating (Total Votes: 20)
Category: Studio 1-15 Tutorials / Edition  -  Previous tutorials  -  Associated File(s)
Published on Friday, October 10, 2008
Created on Thursday, August 28, 2008 6:01 AM

Preamble :

This method doesn't require Hollywood FX or any secondary video track. So, any Studio version can be used.

You probably have already seen this special effect on TV or in the movies where the same person appears twice on the screen, right? Take a look at what we can produce, with me and... me in the starring roles in my living room :

In fact, it's a very simple technique, I'll try to explain it to you in this tutorial. It uses Studio's 2D Alpha Magic transitions. You'll just need to place a camcorder on a tripod, film the scene twice with the person in the scene, but once on the left side of the set and once on the right side.

There's two important points to pay attention to, if you want the effect to be realistic : no item from the scene should move between the two videos. Moreover, the lighting conditions should be kept strictly the same. To avoid light fluctuations, it would be better to set your camcorder exposure to manual mode. As you can see in my video demo, I didn't pay attention to the the second caution and there is a slight light variation appearing on the tiled floor in the right part of the picture due to the subject sitting under the window.

Now, let's see in detail how to create this effect.

Step 1 : Create an jpeg image for Alpha Magic

First you open your favorite 2D picture editor (Windows Paint would be a simple example) and create a 720x534 monochrome picture half-white (255,255,255) and half-black (0,0,0), like this:

Gradient jpg for Alphamagic

Save it as "Clone-NTSC.jpg" for example and place it in the Alpha Magic folder which should be at C:\Program Files\Pinnacle\Studio x\Alpha Magic for Studio 9-10-11, or C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Shared Documents\Pinnacle\Content\Alpha Magic for Studio 12 and higher versions for XP and C:\Users\Public\Public Documents\Pinnacle\Content\Alpha Magic for Vista.
Bonus : You can download this picture included in the Clone.zip file available in the « Associated Files » section below

Step 2 : Import clips to Studio's timeline

Open Studio and import your two clips to the timeline:

Importing clips to timeline

The clip with the person on the left, to the left side and the right one just to the right side.

Step 3 : Select the new transition

After that, we will use the principle behind Alpha Magic files in order to be able to show off the two clips in the same time. Alpha Magic transitions rely on greyscale pictures. The complete white pixels (255,255,255) start first, while the complete black pixels (0,0,0) show at the end of the clip. The transition between one or the other follows the gradient in the greyscale image. When there's no gradient the two clips will be seen simultaneously. That's why we created clone.jpg. In the Alpha Magic Transitions Album you should find a new transition corresponding to your picture:

New Alpha Magic transition in Album

If you have any problem in finding the new transition, take a look at our tutorial "Install our free HFX transitions in Pinnacle Studio 9-15". It also works for Alpha Magic Transitions.

Step 4 : Insert the transition

Insert the transition on the timeline between the two clips :

Transition insertion

Step 5 : Lenght adjustment

The last simple step . . . .  you lengthen the transition to the left so it covers the left clip completely:

Transition lenghtening

In fact, the most difficult part is to synchronize the movements of the two subjects if you want them to interact in the rendered video. For that, it's a no-brainer : a little imagination, a good chrono, a few unsuccessful attempts, and a lot of patience should do the job.

Good cloning !

{Thanks to Loosecannon for the fine tuning}

Associated File(s)
Share/Save this article

Ron Talbot By # Ron Talbot @ Sunday, October 12, 2008 2:05 PM
Thanks for all of your help, support and ideas!

samuel By # samuel @ Monday, October 13, 2008 12:29 PM
ls i need a full tutorial on how to use the Pinnacle Studio 12 ultimate edition

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Tuesday, October 14, 2008 5:20 AM
Dear Samuel,
This comment section is generally reserved for discussions related to :
- errors on our part
- effects which are described in our article and not possible for any reason
- asking details regarding a particular point
- approval that you were able to find and apply this article, or on the other hand, your disapproval
Unfortunately, your question is not covered by any of the above. Since we are receiving more and more requests, we do not have the ability to answer on a case by case basis. I suggest that you contact the forums listed on our home page so you will receive a prompt answer to your question. As specified in our contact page, all questions related to Pinnacle Studio, HFX, VitaScene, Heroglyph, Adorage or Mercalli proDAD "How to." must be asked in the appropriate forums.

Our ability to answer through the forums is dependent on how much free time we have. Best Regards,
DV FX Team
PS: 1st, consult the online manual as well as paper manual...

Daniel By # Daniel @ Friday, October 24, 2008 3:18 PM
i have vista 64, and studio 12, where do i put the jpg file for the alpha clone i cant find it. please help

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Saturday, October 25, 2008 12:50 PM
Hello Daniel,
I am not using Vista64, but someone from our team is looking at the problem. In the mean time, you can try to look on your hard disk where are located the others Alpha files and insert it in the same location. Otherwise, if you can wait a little bit and we will give you the correct path, as well as updating our website.

saby By # saby @ Saturday, October 25, 2008 1:57 PM
Here I am.

Daniel, check this path : C:Users\Public\Public Documents\Pinnacle\Content\Alpha Magic

grendet By # grendet @ Tuesday, October 28, 2008 12:38 AM
He,there. I used the cloning effect in a DVD I made for my daughter, who gave birth to twins this week. I made it so, that 2 (same) grandpa's are talking to each-other. Very funny effect.... keep on searching for effects like that. Thanks a million..

mf6759 By # mf6759 @ Sunday, January 18, 2009 2:30 PM
I have tried creating the cloning effect and I cannot get Studio 11 (Plus) to see the Clone-NSTC.JPG in the Alfa Magic directory. One problem I am having is that I cannot find C:\Users\Public\Public Documents\Pinnacle\ Content directory. I am using Vista Home Premium with SP1. I can find Alfa Magic in C:\Program Files\Pinnacle\Studio 11\Alfa Magic. But when I place the JPG there it just takes over the effect to the right (shows Icon of Clone as a reversed Clone) but uses the effect (Cloud) to the right but not the Cloning effect. Another thing I noticed was that all the files in this location are 720 X 480 with horizontal and vertical resolution of 96 pixels. My file is 720 X 534 and 76 pixel (Vert and Horz.) resolutions. Any ideas

saby By # saby @ Monday, January 19, 2009 3:06 AM
Hello mf6759,

As above-mentioned in Step 1, the correct path for Alpha Magic tranistions is C:\Program Files\Pinnacle\Studio x\Alpha Magic for Studio 11 users.

Sorry, but I can't understand the part of your comment where you speak about "Cloud". Could you be a little more explicit ?

Concerning the size (in pixels) and resolution (in Dot Per Inche, DPI) of the JPG it doesn't matter.

Larseda By # Larseda @ Tuesday, March 9, 2010 9:06 PM
I'm interested in creating video showing the same person twice. Followed procedure for creating Clone transition file but couldn't see it in my transition options when running Pinnacle. Then, I followed the procedure to delete Effect Cache and Editor Cache as described above but noticed that the ...\RTFx directory has 4 different files of the Editor Cache and one of the Effect Cache. Should I delete all? My computer runs Vista 32 and I own Pinnacle Studio 12.

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Wednesday, March 10, 2010 11:22 AM
Hello Lardesa,

Regarding cloning, you have two methods. This one (see above) and this one: special FX: Video Cloning - 2nd method

The question you ask is about the file deletion when you have a problem with HFX file. Please refer to our HFX tutorial, and download the appropriate batch file which will do the job for you if you are unsure.


WARNING: this comment section only relates to the current article. All technical and/or general questions regarding software detailled in our article *MUST* be asked through various forums; we won't even answer to comments which do not comply to this basic rule, and we might even moderate it. Thanks in advance for your comprehension.

Comments support tags : [quote]Text[/quote], [b]Text[/b], [i]Text[/i], [u]Text[/u], [url]www.sample.com[/url] or [url=www.sample.com]Link name[/url].
You can use these tags to highlight your text or insert a link in your comment.

Name or surname (required) - publicly visible on the website

Email (required)


Enter the code shown above:

Pinnacle website access

Site officiel Pinnacle Studio