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Blend in a still photo with a video that fits in the scene

Blend in a still photo with a video that fits in the scene By Le Papy - Last updated on Saturday, January 14, 2012
10474 Views :: 6 Comments :: Article Rating (Total Votes: 16)
Category: Studio 1-15 Tutorials / Edition  -  Previous tutorials
Published on Monday, March 2, 2009
Created on Tuesday, December 2, 2008 5:21 AM

A few years ago, Tiwa -who had provided several tutorials at the time- had a problem : he had a video of a folk event that had been taken in the restaurant of a hotel. The dancers and the music he liked, but the decor was poor ...at that time Studio 9 Plus with the overlay track had just arrived. Many things became possible then and an inspiring idea led him to create this tutorial, which would be called: "Transparency by Tiwa". Of course, this tutorial is still valid with S10, S11, S12, ...

Step 1 : The Setup

This happened in Martinique, the island of flowers. So why not see the dancers through flowers, sunsets etc? But we do not want to use just a plain mask (transparent or opaque). We want the dancers to "blend", literally, in the scene. So we need a mask with variable transparency.

That is what we will do. We will learn to:

  • Create a variable transparency mask on an image;
  • Save this image and the mask to disk (using the .tga format, which is used by Studio);
  • Use these images in Studio.
Step 2 : Sample of video created

Imh0t3p, from the "Le Repaire" forum, provided us with a sample clip to show what can be accomplished using this tutorial.

Demo video

Step 3 : The method
  1. Choosing the backgrounds

Select and crop, if necessary, the photo that will serve as a background. It should be chosen according to what will be seen underneath. For me, the interesting elements here are slightly shifted to the right.

Le choix de la photo

One of the photos selected

Contrary to what you might think, picking the right photo is the most difficult part (the rest is only applying the method!).

  1. Create a mask

I used Photoshop here, but any software that can manipulate tga images and layers will be fine.

Le masque qu'il faut réaliser

The mask that we need to create

The method is as follows:

    1. Create a new blank image that is the exact same size as your picture.
    2. Use the "material" palette to create a circular gradient centered at the desired location and spread out enough (but not too much).

Le paramétrage du gradient

Setting the gradient

  • In the palette select the gradient;
  • Click the preview to open dialogue;
  • Select "black-white" (Very important that the mask is a grayscale mask!)
  • Adjust the settings by clicking on Edit and adjusting the sliders.

In the end, no matter the shape, position, etc ..., what is important is that the parts that need to be transparent are black. In fact, the level of gray will determine the percentage of transparency:

- White: we will see the picture;

- Black, we will see the video;

- Gray, we will see a little of both.

    1. Select the "Flood Fill" (the paint bucket) and click on the white image to get the result shown above.
  1. Import the mask into the image

Select the image, then Layers => New = Layer Mask> From image.

Mise en place du masque dans l'image

Establishment of the mask in the image

In the drop-down box select the name of the mask image (here it is "image3" because I did not save). Check light source and click OK.

Masque de "Luminance"

Mask "Luminance"

Your image is now showing a portion more or less transparent from the mask.

L'image avec son masque

The picture with the mask

  1. Save image in tga format

To do this, save the mask with the alpha channel: Layer => Load Save Mask => Save to Alpha Channel.

Copie du masque dans la couche alpha

Copies of the mask layer in the Alpha.

Click "Save" in the dialog box.
We just have to make a "save as" format "TrueVision (TGA)."

For information, you can also read the tutorials of saby "Create transparent areas in still images with Gimp" or "Handling layers with Gimp" that will give you the foundation needed to perform all these operations with Gimp which is free.

Step 4 : Use in Studio

Place the image on the title track. To do this, double click on the TITLE tab and then select the picture (with Studio 9 PLUS, it is necessary to insert text so that the image is treated as a title and the transparency is enabled. In such case, simply insert a space, or a character with no color, transparent). Then, create transitions (and film titles) ... What a classic!

Le projet dans Studio

The project

And here are some examples of what you can get :


Exemple 2

Exemple 3

From my experience, setting the gradient of the gray mask to get the desired effect can be very tricky. Don't be afraid to experiment until you get the desired result.


- Baby surrounded by a cabbage or a rose
- A dream in a soap bubble
- A scene of sailing in an aquarium
- ...

{Thanks to Loosecannon for the fine tuning}

Share/Save this article

ralf By # ralf @ Tuesday, March 3, 2009 12:38 PM
Thank you for this nice tutorial but can I use it for v.12 too?

Peter By # Peter @ Wednesday, March 4, 2009 11:39 PM
Wow, you guys have done it again!
I have been trying to figure this out myself, but only doing it within Studio.
i have been trying picture in picture and varying the transparency. It worked, BUT I could never get the edges to feather out.
Thanks again for another great tip.

Hey do you ever do anything else but work with Studio all day, every day?
Certainly seems like it with all the stuff you come up with.
Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge world wide

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Friday, March 6, 2009 2:55 AM
Hello Ralf,

Sorry for answering so late... Sure, this tutorial is also for Studio 10, 11, 12.

@ Peter
Yes we do something else... Wanna know what ? We shoot of course !


Ken By # Ken @ Friday, March 6, 2009 9:44 AM
Great info! Thanks for all the work you put into this forum I have used many of your tips in the past year

Bert By # Bert @ Monday, February 22, 2010 8:16 AM
I purchased the new Canon 7D that offers video capabilities. Unfortunately, when flipping the switch that transitions between still photography and video, I erroneously video recorded half a wedding with the camera rotated...and now I have video that is rotated 90 degrees! Is there any way to rotate the video so that I can use it in the final video production?

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Sunday, February 28, 2010 5:24 AM
Hello Bert,

Your question does not correspond to this tutorial. Please read the WARNING before posting. I strongly suggest that you join Pinnacle Forum, where you will find the answer (some plugins will solve your issue).


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