Fix it in Post: Removing the boom (or other unwanted elements) from your shot

Oop. Did you see that!? Bummer! Looks like Derek dipped the boom mic into the shot again. I guess it's time to re-shoot the interview and fire Derek am I right!?

Not necessarily. I have something that can save your shot and Derek's job. It's a neat little trick that I've been using for a while, and the guys over at Framelines TV recently made a video demo that sums it up nicely:

Remember, this trick only works with a locked-off shot where your background remains consistent. Let's run down how to do this effect in Adobe Premiere:

1. Find a section of video from the same shot that doesn't contain the element you want to remove (the boom, a shadow, a reflection, etc.).

2. Layer that video on top of the section of video that needs fixing.

3. Highlight the clip you want to use as the overlay. In the Effects tab of the Project panel search for Crop, or locate it under Video Effects > Transform > Crop. Double click on the effect. That will apply the effect to the clip and open up the Effect Controls tab in the Source panel. From there, you can crop the left, right, top, and/or bottom of the overlaid clip in order to cover up the element you wish to remove.

And voilà! The boom is removed.

I love this trick because it's super low tech. You don't need fancy software and crazy VFX skills to do it. Just a simple crop and you're back on track to cinematic mastery.

Do It Yourself




This is an awesome trick, thanks for sharing :)

Victor Muh

Victor Muh

Now, what if the shot is moving; like say a pan or dolly shot?


Lucassou Plus

It's necessary to motion track the scene (a little more advanced step than this above).

Jamie Thalman

Jamie Thalman Plus

Relatively easy way that probably won't work in a lot of situations: In After Effects (CS6 or later), play with 'Camera Tracking' to get a decent 3D null object and camera (better if working off of easily trackable footage), parent the clean masked footage (enabled and placed in 3D space) to the 3D null with tracked motion and if you're lucky, it might just marry with your real and virtualized camera movements (may want to apply motion blur and play with shutter angle to emulate blurring).

Matu Aban

Matu Aban

omg thanks so much for this!

Ron Calhoun

Ron Calhoun

Cropped out a kid at a wedding making faces during the kiss. Great tip.

matters Somehow

matters Somehow

wow, that was amazing and i didn't know about that!! that's so cool, thanks


Shiply PRO

Great tip. Was wondering if Derek came up with this after dipping the mic ;)

Riley Hooper

Riley Hooper Staff

Derek was the person who originally tipped me off to this trick... so probably! ;)

Rui Pinto

Rui Pinto

Thanks a lot! Will be useful

Michael Spencer

Michael Spencer Plus

It is an awesome trick. But I want to point out that it's not entirely new. It predates digital. In fact, it predates video. Well over a hundred years ago a variation of this was used by George Melies (active 1896-1913) in his hand-cranked films. Hollywood films of the '30s and '40s would use the same trick to create twins from a single actor. In the 1950s this technique was occasionally used in live (!) productions to, for example, make someone disappear. One camera would be trained on a couple of actors standing in front of a curtain. A separate camera would be trained on another part of the curtain with no-one standing in front. In the control room, the TD would merely perform a vertical wipe over one of the actors and poof - he'd vanish. I mention this only to give perspective to the wonderful techniques we have at our disposal. I know we all think that we're so smart in our modern age - but really, those who came before us were pretty good at coming up with these tricks too!

Jamie Thalman

Jamie Thalman Plus

The four, eight and sixteen-point garbage mattes in Premiere let you get nuanced with your clean plate with a similar workflow :)

Imagineer Systems

Imagineer Systems Plus

For more advanced "object removals" you could check out mocha Pro from Imagineer Systems. This software can automatically remove unwanted elements even when the camera is moving.

mocha AE is bundled free with Adobe After Effects and mocha Pro supports almost all editing and vfx software.




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Lesson Summary

Boom in the shot? DP's reflection in the window? Before you scrap the footage, try this neat trick to remove unwanted elements from your shot!

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