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If I have a video of a face moving around, and I want to change the colour of the eyes in the video for example, how do I do that? I don't need specifics, just point me in the right direction, like which software is designed to do things like this? What is this process called? Do I literally go through frame by frame and make the changes? Is this a task that is mainly done programmatically?

I just want to know where to start learning. I'm very technical but I don't have experience with video editing, and don't know where to start googling even. Thanks!

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2 Answers

Technically, what you're looking to accomplish falls into the scope of visual effects (commonly abbreviated VFX), more than editing. Editing is mostly making decisions about timing cuts between audio and video tracks. I don't mean to be pedantic, but perhaps this distinction will help your google searches.

Basically, you want to perform two actions:

  1. Track the eyes
  2. Adjust the color of the eyes over time

For the first task, I would recommend researching "motion tracking" For the second, I would recommend "color correction"

Adobe After Effects (with the bundled Mocha module) and Davinci Resolve are each capable of accomplishing both of these tasks. I'm sure there's more, but these are the software packages I'm most familiar with. Nuke, Houdini, Premiere, Shake, FCP7 (FCPX can't keyframe color adjustments), and Apple Motion are all other names that come to mind, but I'm less familiar with them.

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As Jason Conrad pointed out, this would fall into the realm of visual effects rather than video editing. Also, as he said, After Effects would support doing what you are attempting by tracking the eyes and then doing a selective hue change would probably be the easiest way to do it after a video has been shot.

That said, this isn't really the right way to do it. It is far more practical and will get far better results to simply use a physical effect. Get colored contact lenses and have your actor wear them to change the eye color in practical effects instead of trying to artificially change it in post (which will get far inferior results). You should be able to find color contact lenses at most costume stores.

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