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I have a video in which a person is speaking something. He is right in the middle of the frame. I want to blur out all of his surroundings like you have when you shoot a photograph or a video with a shallow depth of field. I am in post-production.

I am using Sony Vegas Movie Studio 11 HD.

If the shape to be blurred was rectangular, I could overlay two duplicate tracks and blur out the section from the frames in the top track, but I want to blur out everything around the person's body, which happens not to be a geometrically named shape.

How do I do that?

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2 Answers

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Unfortunately you are asking too much from Sony Vegas my friend! In order to get a true effect you'd have to do something called "rotoscoping" which means you go into each frame and mask out the background.

You can do this in vegas by going into the pan/crop window on the video event. Look for "mask" and then you can key frame out the background with the pen tool there.

There is no way to automate this so you'll have to key frame quite a bit. Then once you have just the person visible you duplicate the track beneath it and uncheck the mask on the duplicate. You then can add lense blur or gaussian blur to create the desired effect.

Unless the clip is super short I wouldn't recommend doing it this way though. It takes a lot of time even for skilled maskers.

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Thank you very much for your answer. I think I am going to just crop everything around the speaker out and then blow up, i.e. resize his face to fit the whole frame. I know it'll look ugly but I can make it look like it is some artistry. :-) –  Sathyaish Jan 3 at 18:11
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You can easily do this in Vegas Pro using the blur function and compositing two tracks.

One way to do this: The lower track will be your back plate, apply the blur effect on this, the top track is your clear on blurred original track, use the cookie cutter likely an oval or a circle and and invert it so you have it allow everything around the cookie cutter to show through.

The effect should be an out of focus back ground with a sharp area where the cookie cutter was not applied. You may want to use the feathering feature of the cookie cutter to blend the tracks better.

Another way to do this would be to put your clear unblurred video on the bottom track (back plate) and put the blurred version of the original on top, again with the Cookie Cutter bit but this time allow only the cookie cutter to shine through. Either way you get the same effect.

I did something like in my video "K I T E S":

https://vimeo.com/47605517

At time marker 02:41 you will see a post production selective rack focus.

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Thank you, @filzilla. I will try this. I don't have Vegas Pro at the moment, but I think it'll be worth buying. I have Vegas Movie Studio, which is a stripped down version of Pro. –  Sathyaish Jan 22 at 8:32
    
I think Vegas Movie Studio supports at least two video tracks, and I am pretty sure it has the "blur" effects. –  filzilla Jan 23 at 18:12
    
Thanks, @filzilla. I just saw your movie. Very nice. I was told about this feathering and to apply the cookie cutter. I can't remember why I didn't do it. I am not sure if Movie Studio has the cookie cutter or the feathering tool. –  Sathyaish Jan 24 at 5:49
    
It definitely should have blur effects. I can't remember why I didn't go with them. It would have been obvious. It's been a long time. I can't remember. I have to get back to the issue to recollect. But thanks much for the help. May be it's possible. I will try it. Thank you so much. –  Sathyaish Jan 24 at 5:50
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