Masking is a powerful tool in an Editors kit and one that can save an otherwise unusable take. There are many uses for Masks, but one of the things that makes them so powerful is their ability to remove unwanted items or subjects from your shots. We’re going to take you step-by-step through how to remove objects in Premiere Pro with the help of some handy Mask effect.
Part 1: Quickly Remove Static Objects in Premiere Pro
Being able to remove static objects from a shot can help you neaten up things you either missed on-set or deliberately chose to leave in with the intention of removing it. A good example is microphones; you may decide to have the mic in the shot to get the best sound and remove it from sight in the edit.
- Play your footage on the timeline and edit to your preferred length.
- Hold Alt and click on the clip, dragging it higher in the stack to create a duplicate.
- Select the top of the two layers and go to the Effects Controls panel.
- Alongside Opacity, click the Masking tool and draw a mask around the object you want to remove.
- Move the mask around the screen to fill it with the most accurate background from elsewhere in the image.
- In the Mask settings, increase the Feather until you can’t see the outline.
- Go to the Position properties and move the top layer to sit above the area you want to remove.
- Finally, go to the Color panel and adjust the grading until the top layer blends seamlessly with the background layer.
Part 2: Easily Remove Moving Objects in Premiere Pro
Removing subjects that are moving in your shot is very similar to removing static objects; all you need to do is match the subject’s movements.
- With your clip edited in the timeline, hold Alt and drag it to create a duplicate layer.
- With the top layer selected, go to the Effect Controls panel.
- Choose the Mask option alongside the Opacity settings and draw a shape around the object you wish to remove.
- Feather the mask to blend the edges.
- Create a keyframe alongside the mask path by clicking the stopwatch icon.
- Move the playhead along the timeline, keeping your object within the mask by adjusting the Mask Path setting.
- Once you have added keyframes to track your object, click Invert in the Mask settings.
- Press Y on your keyboard to use the Slip tool.
- Go to the first layers and, using the Slip tool, drag the footage to a new timing, where the object is no longer in shot.
- If you can still see areas of your object, click on the top layer and adjust the mask path to cover your object.
Part 3: Top Tips for Removing Objects in Premiere Pro
When removing static objects, both the Object and the camera must be completely stationary. If your camera is moving, you can still use the methods described above, but they will have varying degrees of success. Follow our top tips for removing objects and subjects from your clips with Premiere Pro.
Don’t Cross Over
A key to successfully removing elements from your scene is to make sure nothing crosses in front or behind them. Remember, this method of object removal involves being able to stack up duplicates of the same scene. If your Object crosses in front or behind something, you may end up removing elements you want to keep.
Use a Locked Off Camera
As we’ve mentioned, it is much easier to remove elements from a shot if the camera is entirely static. Sometimes on set, there will be a plug or piece of kit that you’d prefer not to be there, but you’re unable to remove; keep this technique in mind so you can plan for object removal on set.
Take your Time
Keyframing your moving Masks can take quite some time, especially if you have a complex shot or movement involved. It is always best to take the time to Keyframe your Masks precisely, so you get the best possible results.
Use Color and Effects
Sometimes, no matter how great your Masking technique, you will still be able to see faint edges around the blend. Try adding other effects and grades to an adjustment layer to help tie the scene together and bury the boundaries further.
You can also use these methods for other fantastic effects, such as cloning yourself or a performer across the scene. Check out this handy step-by-step guide to create the effect yourself.
Removing objects in Premiere Pro isn’t as difficult as you might think. Once you’ve mastered the Masking technique, you can quickly make edits to a composition that might otherwise be useless. However, it is worth remembering that the Premiere Pro object removal method is no replacement for getting it right in camera.