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Beam Me Up!
Create your own teleportation effect.
By Ryan Foss

If you want a sci-fi looking effect that simulates a teleportation device (similar to Star Trek), well then this tutorial is for you. I will explain how to make such a simple effect in video using a nonlinear editor. I stress simple, but it has lots of potential to look cool. You will need video, and two images: a key (matte) and a glow effect image. I use Adobe Premier for my nonlinear editor, and Adobe Photoshop for creating and editing images. However, the methods are general and simple enough that they should be applicable to different software.

OK, to start off you need source video. You'll need background and foreground video. I will provide the video I used in this tutorial here (~1.4MB). The quality is low because I used my digital camera, so the format is mpg. I will use my video as a reference in this tutorial, but I will assume that you have your own source video. I have to note that since I use my own video at a resolution is at 320x240, the values I provide for the filters and effects work for this resolution and are just suggestions. So,obviously this tutorial will show you the methods to make the effect, and may not necessary give you the exact same results.

So lets get started, here is what you should have:

The background is video or a still image. It is the scene without the subject(s). In the case where the scene is more dynamic than a hallway door, the background will most likely be video. I used video for better integration.
The foreground is video of the subject(s) acting as if a teleportation has occurred. (That's me! I'm not an actor... Well maybe a bad one. Plus, as everyone knows, you must protect your groin when teleporting!)

First we need to get the foreground and background video clips into place. Since my clip has both the background and foreground in one clip, I split it into two sections and put the foreground on a video layer above the background. I named the clips accordingly.


I quickly adjusted the opacity (transparency) of the clip using Adobe Premier's Fade Control. This adds a simple fade in effect.

What we have now is a very simple transition where the subject(s) simply fade into the scene. We want something more exciting. But before we start adding the effect, we will make a key image to use as an image matte. An image matte key uses an image to determine the the areas of transparency for the video. My video is so simple that an image matte isn't really required, but in the event that more dynamic footage is used as the background (i.e. you have a set with actors on a teleporter and some other action on the side), you may need a complex matte. Thus I explain how to make an image matte to emphasize your subject(s).

First thing, view your foreground video and get an image of the subject(s) as they will appear during the teleportation effect. Using an image editor such as Photoshop, make a rough outline around the subject(s) making the outline a little bigger than the actual subject. Fill the outline with white and fill the rest of the image with black. Now apply a Gauissian blur to feather the edges. I blurred with a value of approximately 10 pixels, but this is up to you. In an image matte, the white areas remain opaque, while the black areas are transparent. The blur blends the two by varying the amount of transparency, thus softening the transition between background and foreground. The harder cut image (center image below) may work fine, but the blurring will soften the transition between the different video and is less obvious.

-> ->

Apply the image matte to the foreground clip. This is done in Adobe Premier by selecting Clip> Video> Transparency (or just hit Ctrl+G). Select the key type to Image Matte and set the source to the matte image we created. Again, this step might not be necessary and depends on the source video you have to work with. Here is an example where an image matte was needed.

Background video

Foreground video

Image Matte


Merged video

Because the background video was of an empty scene, and the foreground video had active actors (some on the side, others acting like they were teleported), it was necessary to create an image matte to get an empty teleporter. (Note the shape of the matte includes the shadows created by the actors on the wall.)

In this case, it was also necessary to adjust the background video brightness so that it better matched the foreground.

If you look closely, you can almost see the transition edges. But because the image matte was used and the edges were blurred, it is much less noticeable.

OK, now we'll create image to make the effect. We will be adding a skeleton-like look by drawing, emphasizing the core of your subject(s) shape. I did this in Adobe Photoshop on a new layer so that I could make the background completely black. I made a very quick image, but the level of detail is up to you.

-> ->

Add effect image to the video project (you may need to add additional video layers, called video tracks in Adobe Premier). Put the image between the foreground and background. Do it again. Set the transparency of the effect images to Screen, so the darker areas are transparent. Adjust the clips' length so that they occur before the foreground starts fading in. Adjust the fade control settings so that they are fading in as well.

I call the top one Medium Blur, and the lower effect layer Big Blur.

Now what we are doing here is using these two layers to add a glow like effect. Since the foreground layer is fading in above, it will appear over these glow effects. To make these layers appear like glow layers, we need blur them. The lower effect image, Big Blur, is a wide glow and the image above it, Medium Blur, is a more localized glow.

In Adobe Premier, the blur is accomplished by adding a filter and selecting better Gaussian Blur and setting the value.

In this case, I set the blurriness on the Big Blur layer to 30, and 10 on Medium Blur.

I wanted a look that resembled a residual image, like if you stare at a light then look away. To do this, we need to do a few things.

First I adjusted the Color Balance of the Medium Blur layer so that it is a bright red. To do this I set the red level to 200%, green to 50%, and blue is left at 100%.

Now we need to add an additional effect above all of this, Top Glow I call it. I want to continue with the idea of a residual image.

Add the effect image to the project again, putting it above the foreground layer. Set its transparency to Screen, and adjust its fade controls so that it fades in and fades out (see image). I made the image last a little longer than the other effects to help simulate the residual image.

First I adjusted the Color Balance of the Top Glow layer so that it is a bright yellow. To do this I set the red level to 200%, green to 100%, and blue to 0%.

Now we will be adjusting the blur effect on the Top Glow layer, but we will be doing it over time.

Select the Better Gaussian Blur filter, and set it initially to 3.0. Select the last keyframe and set the blur setting to approximately 15.

This will blur the Top Glow effect image over time, transitioning from a slight blur to a wider blur.

Well, that's about it. You may want to adjust settings and clip length to your liking. For instance, I wanted the Big Glow layer to appear a little sooner to correspond with my sound effect so I stretched and changed the clip length.


Here are some suggestions for various other effects you could do.

Change layer order. Just think about the methods I used here and imagine what would happen if the Big Glow layer was put above the foreground video.

Use multiple images for detail and effects. Imagine what you could do with a more detailed image of a skeleton.

Add additional layers. You could add additional layers above the foreground to do additional effects.

Adjust effect values over time.

Add additional effects such as Wave, Crystallize, Extract, etc. One of my favorites is the Radial Blur with the blur method set to zoom. And though I didn't use this effect, I did want to show an example of what this effect does (see below). You could make it appear as if the skeleton shape is falling into the image by adjusting the blur amount over time.

Zoom Blur @ 100

Most importantly, have fun.

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