Can't see any other posts on this site about this which seems unusual so here goes.

I have a video in which a wire is used to pull an object from the scene. I did a test which worked well, but the actual shoot didn't go so well, and I've tried several different methods to remove the wire without success.

This is the test video that I created. https://armorgard.box.com/s/bjfpc4mig8mssf8dw8zae0y65r8iu0qe

  • This just shows a toolbox flying into scene (video of it pulled out then reversed).
  • The wire was removed in rendering by masking out the wire in the video, then putting a still frame from the end behind the clip.

This is a piece of footage from the actual shoot: https://armorgard.box.com/s/z83yzn1yv85nbu35jgxfxotg76vsxyzs

  • Problem with this is the natural light affected the clip so you get a change in contrast and lighting throughout the clip.
  • When the wire is removed in the same way as the test footage, the clip behind is outlined in the mask due to the variance of colour.

See below image for an example of the colour difference around the mask.

mask outlined test

I've tried a few ways to overcome this.

  1. So the first thing I tried was to colour correct the still behind so that the colour and contrast reflected the masked clip above it. Even using the lumetri scopes, it's difficult to do accurately and any additional color correcting can affect this adversely when it's not dead on. To do this accurately would mean colour correcting almost frame by frame.
  2. I tried a video as the plate, rather than a still, and slipped it a few frames ahead so that the tone closely matches the top video. This is ok, but I get parts of the original scene showing through the mask that I don't want showing. If I slip the background video more, the colours don't match up again.
  3. I tried CC wire removal in After Effects, but due to the wire often being curved and not straight, this tool hasn't really worked. It also seems to struggle with backgrounds that aren't plain.
  4. I tried the content aware fill in After Effects, but this doesn't look great at all.
  5. I tried opening the video directly in photoshop and using the healing tools to remove the wire frame by frame. This works to some extent but do it accurately would be very tedious.

Do I have any further viable options? Can anyone recommend anything that could work that I haven't already tried?

1 Answer 1


I solved this later but haven't ever posted my solution:

At the time, a frame by frame edit in photoshop using healing tools seemed the only way to clean up the wire used. When I tried this however, you get a lot of artifacting that looks fine on one image but differs from frame to frame and creates a fuzzy blur as a video.

After some learning about the healing tools in After Effects itself, I found out that I could heal a frame using a previous frame:

  1. Select the Clone Stamp Tool, but don't alt click or set any source points - this means the source point remains the exact centre of the brush.

enter image description here

  1. In the paint panel, there is an option called "Source Time Shift":

enter image description here

  1. When you increase this by +5, the source frame will be the frame that is 5 frames ahead of the one you are currently editing. Depending on how quickly the object moves that you need to remove, you will need to tweak this. For a fast moving object, offsetting the source frame by +/- 5 frames might be enough, but a slow moving object might need a frame from a whole second away or more.

  2. From there, you can quickly move along frame by frame and paint over a moving wire to clean it out of the shot. Occasionally there'll be a point that needs more attention but overall it seems the fastest and best way to do this.

Because my footage was tripod shot and was absolutely still, the walls and background didn't move, making it easy to brush out the wires. In a moving shot this could still be achieved by just offsetting the source of the brush.

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