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I shot a piece today with an on-screen narrator.  I thought her eyes looked a little red during the shoot but didnt think much of it.  I guess I was preoccupied or something, I dont know.  Now that I'm home and processing the footage, I realize the subject's bloodshot red eyes are way too obvious on video- the way your eyes look when you're allergic to something, or high.  I feel stupid and should have just paid attention during the shoot, but I'm going to pay for it now!  Does anyone know any solution during post to this problem?

if it helps, I'm editing HD video from a Canon XH-A1 with Final Cut.

Tags: bloodshot, eyes, red

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Hmmm...do you have a REALLY good keyer? You could try keying out the red in the eyes, but it'd have to be really good, because they're probably more pink, and there's also a red component to skin color.

The only alternative I can think of would be if you had tracking software that could follow the pink eyes and replace them with white.
I haven't had to deal with this myself but maybe try increasing the contrast (try to burn out the white a little?).

Also try de-saturating the reds (hopefully there isn't too much red in the rest of your image).

I suspect doing "too much" of one of the above will look weird, but maybe if you did "a little" of a combination of things, including keying out like Shane suggested, you might get better results? At least in theory, it makes sense to me... it might not work in practice... good luck!
not knowing the content or treatment my first response is b-roll, second response, black and white for effect. You could also squeeze the talent in a box and layer it over b-roll, making her smaller will reduce the impact of the bloodshot eyes, but still keep her on screen.

alternatively you could re-shoot, and it's all on the talent, showing up for a shoot with bloodshot eyes, that's like a VO cutting a track with laryngitis, unacceptable.

the value of adding a bottle of Visine to one's kit can never be underestimated.
I only have the keyer in Final Cut, so im not sure, but thanks for the info- maybe I can try to take out that "pink"ish hue and that will help. Whats an example of a good tracking program? Excuse my ignorance.




Shane Killian said:
Hmmm...do you have a REALLY good keyer? You could try keying out the red in the eyes, but it'd have to be really good, because they're probably more pink, and there's also a red component to skin color.

The only alternative I can think of would be if you had tracking software that could follow the pink eyes and replace them with white.
Visine is right! We usually keep the "speaking spray" stuff for throats, haven't had a problem with eyes until now. I'm going to take it as a learning experience. BTW, I am planning on covering something like 95% of this 10 min video with b-roll, but I do need some on-screen time with the narrator, which is what I am concerned about. The box-inbox idea is great though, thanks so much!

Bill Mecca said:
not knowing the content or treatment my first response is b-roll, second response, black and white for effect. You could also squeeze the talent in a box and layer it over b-roll, making her smaller will reduce the impact of the bloodshot eyes, but still keep her on screen.

alternatively you could re-shoot, and it's all on the talent, showing up for a shoot with bloodshot eyes, that's like a VO cutting a track with laryngitis, unacceptable.

the value of adding a bottle of Visine to one's kit can never be underestimated.
Thanks for the info. I think I'm planning on taking out some of the reds or at least some of the red highlights in the image. I'm going to try to only affect a matte area. Does this seem like it will work?

Nishi said:
I haven't had to deal with this myself but maybe try increasing the contrast (try to burn out the white a little?).

Also try de-saturating the reds (hopefully there isn't too much red in the rest of your image).

I suspect doing "too much" of one of the above will look weird, but maybe if you did "a little" of a combination of things, including keying out like Shane suggested, you might get better results? At least in theory, it makes sense to me... it might not work in practice... good luck!
You could also combine the two and make the PIP black and white, you could move it around the frame, lots of possibilities. finding solutions to problems like this is what taps our creativity! If it all worked smoothly it would be soooo boring...LOL

would love to see the final result and what you come up with.


D.A.B. Productions said:
Visine is right! We usually keep the "speaking spray" stuff for throats, haven't had a problem with eyes until now. I'm going to take it as a learning experience. BTW, I am planning on covering something like 95% of this 10 min video with b-roll, but I do need some on-screen time with the narrator, which is what I am concerned about. The box-inbox idea is great though, thanks so much!
Bill Mecca said:
not knowing the content or treatment my first response is b-roll, second response, black and white for effect. You could also squeeze the talent in a box and layer it over b-roll, making her smaller will reduce the impact of the bloodshot eyes, but still keep her on screen.

alternatively you could re-shoot, and it's all on the talent, showing up for a shoot with bloodshot eyes, that's like a VO cutting a track with laryngitis, unacceptable. the value of adding a bottle of Visine to one's kit can never be underestimated.
Affecting a matte area could work if the narrator isn't moving too much. Also, try bumping up the blue a bit... might cancel out the red?

Are the whites of her eyes generally reddish or do they have a lot of red lines in them? I'm on Avid, not FCP but I imagine FCP must have a similar colour-correction tool... this is a long shot but if her eyes are generally red/pink, what if you colour corrected the red/pink eyes to be white? If that whitens the whole image... increase the contrast to compensate? Just throwing out theories.

D.A.B. Productions said:
Thanks for the info. I think I'm planning on taking out some of the reds or at least some of the red highlights in the image. I'm going to try to only affect a matte area. Does this seem like it will work?

Nishi said:
I haven't had to deal with this myself but maybe try increasing the contrast (try to burn out the white a little?).

Also try de-saturating the reds (hopefully there isn't too much red in the rest of your image).

I suspect doing "too much" of one of the above will look weird, but maybe if you did "a little" of a combination of things, including keying out like Shane suggested, you might get better results? At least in theory, it makes sense to me... it might not work in practice... good luck!
For 2D tracking any compositing package should suffice. Shake or nuke are what I prefer. Just started looking at Blender which is a full 3D/2D suit which is free. It looks to have a compositing interface that may have the tools you need.

tips for this process:

Track the pupil/iris of the eye then apply that track to a roto shape around the eye whites. Then check every 20th frame to check the alignment, followed by tens, and fives. You want a tight match so you don't notice your matte slipping. You won't be able to chroma key this since there is so much red in flesh tones. That is why you never see red screen compositing, to much red in the color spectrum of life.

This is all probably too late, but thought I would throw that in there.
just put a doobie in a an ash trey at the bottom of the screen to give the red ays an ecplaination. Not tracking needed.

I noticed that my eyes were run a couple of days into our cruise. As some others have pointed out it could have been because of the snorkeling. Also, about 5 days into the cruise, I developed a cold so that may have contributed to the red eyes.

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