Wire Removal with After Effects

Wire removal can be useful for a variety of reasons: sometimes it is for aesthetics, such as getting rid of unsightly power lines, but if you work with stunt people, wire removal will become essential. Unfortunately, wires left behind by stunts tend to be more difficult to remove due to all of the action, moving backgrounds, etc. I recently had to remove a wire from what initially seemed to be an easy clip, but it turned out to be a little more complex and none of the “easy plug-in” methods were going to work, so I had to come up with another, more time consuming method.

Here are a couple of still frames from the before and after clips.

before wire removal
before wire removal
After wire removal process
after wire removal

The problems start with the fact that, rather than a lock-off shot, this one was made on a steadicam, so the background is in constant motion. This is an issue because I want to replace the wire with a piece of background from another frame in this clip, but because of the motion in the background, the pieces have to match in color, texture, light and motion or the fix is as apparent as the wire itself. Also the wire is fairly thick and moves vertically through the frame, so filters such as CC Simple Wire Remover, which cover the wire by extrapolating surrounding pixels, were also ineffective. Continue reading “Wire Removal with After Effects”