How to ADD YOURSELF into movies | After Effects actor replacement tutorial

In this tutorial I teach how you can add yourself to famous movies!

This fun trick video effect (and a creative use for green screen) which was used by Quentin Tarantino in ‘Once Upon a Time In Hollywood’ to make it look like Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Rick Dalton had appeared (or almost appeared) in The Great Escape, playing Steve McQueen’s famous role of Captain Hilts. So technically we are not just adding me to these movies – such as by putting me in the background – we are actually doing a full actor / character replacement and having me interact with the other actors. A tutorial for this effect will be coming soon!

For Tarantino’s film, cinematographer Robert Richardson shot DiCaprio in front of a green screen. The actor then read the identical lines McQueen said in the scene. The main challenge for Richardson was making sure he was shooting at the right height and using the right lenses.

I was inspired by this to try the same scene from The Great Escape, and also tried a few others: meeting Daniel Craig playing James Bond in Skyfall (in the National Gallery), Matt Damon in The Departed (the lift scene) and Leonardo DiCaprio himself as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street.

This trick is also somewhat similar to how Forrest Gump was inserted by ILM into archive footage meeting Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. It is also a little similar to how you can complete a dead actor’s performance, such as with Oliver Reed in Gladiator.

Made using our home green screen studio and some creative guesswork to recreate the lighting setups of each film, as well as the correct distances and focal lengths for our lenses.

The first thing I needed to do was to try and find some key scenes in films where two actors were appearing next to each other where I could replace one of them, and where there was some good possibilities for interaction. I saved a freeze frame each time the actor made a big movement and combined parts of these images in Photoshop to make a blank background. Then in After Effects I dropped this in over the top of the clip. Now I could draw a mask around the other actor because of we want him to still be moving on top of the still background. And then for any shots that move slightly we can use the motion tracker markers, so the blank background will move in exactly the same way as the original take. We used a green screen and a large key light with a soft box on it for copying the lighting in the original films. I had to learn the timings of the original clip because my performance had to be the same length. I found the easiest way to do this was to play the original clip on a loop and talk and move in time with it. I used Keylight in After Effects to remove the green screen, and Lumetri Color to match the colours.

Watch the finished effects here:

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Duration: 00:11:32

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