Tripod and rig removal in DaVinci Resolve

Tripod and rig removal in DaVinci Resolve

Removing the tripod and other rigging from 360 video is important for achieving a convincing sense of immersion. Doing this in DaVinci Resolve takes some work but the results can be convincing.

Hero - Tripod and rig removal in DaVinci Resolve

Categories:Create & Build
Tags:Compositing Post ProductionSoftware ToolsTutorial
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Read Time: 5 Minutes

Updated 12/12/2022


A VR camera must be supported in some way, whether it’s by a tripod or monopod, a clamp, or even a rover or guy wire. Removing this from the clip requires patience and takes a few steps, but with clone brushes, areas near the unwanted elements can be clone-stamped over the top and these edits can be replicated across all the frames in a clip.

Painting out part of a scene by clone-stamping over the top from adjacent areas can be effective, but rendering out the final video is a processor-intensive task. Be prepared to wait a long time for your final output to be rendered when using this technique.

Begin by selecting the clip that needs editing, then go to the Fusion page. The main viewer area can show one or two viewers; if just one is shown, click the rectangle to the right end of the small toolbar that runs along the top of this area. The Nodes panel in the bottom half of the window is where most of this work is done.

Cloning out a tripod

1. Add a LatLong Patcher node

01 add latlong patcher - Tripod and rig removal in DaVinci Resolve

Right-click on the pipe connecting the MediaIn and MediaOut nodes. From this popup menu choose Add Tool > VR > LatLong Patcher, and this will be added as a node between the In and Out items. If this isn’t shown in viewer 2, make sure the new node is selected and type ‘2’ on your keyboard.

2. Look down

02 look down - Tripod and rig removal in DaVinci Resolve

Look in the inspector panel on the right. In this node’s Rotation settings set the X value to 90 so it looks straight down. If the object you want to remove isn’t found straight down then adjust the X, Y and Z values as required, but for removing tripods and similar support structures just this X value change will be needed. Make sure Mode is set to Extract.

3. Add a paint node

03 add paint node Tripod and rig removal in DaVinci Resolve

Right-click on the pipe between the LatLong Patcher and the MediaOut nodes and choose Add Tool > Paint > Paint. This will be added between those two nodes. With the new Paint node selected, type 2 to show this node in viewer 2.

4. Configure the clone brush

04 configure clone brush - Tripod and rig removal in DaVinci Resolve

There are not one but two places you need to use to select the correct brush type and behavior. First, in the toolbar that runs along the top of the viewers, pick the Stroke brush – fourth along, the icon with just the single brush. The Multistroke and CloneMultistroke brushes don’t clone across multiple frames, but rather just the current frame (or the number of frames set in the Stroke Duration slider. Don’t use these.

Next, select the Clone brush icon from the Paint inspector panel on the right, then open the Brush Controls pane in this inspector panel and set the brush size and softness to something a little larger than the default. The exact settings depend on what level of precision is needed, but 0.03 to 0.07 is likely to work well for the brush size, and around 1.3 for the brush softness setting.

5. Clone stamp to remove the tripod head

05 clone stamp - Tripod and rig removal in DaVinci Resolve

Alt-click an area near the tripod head to set the clone sample point, then click-drag to paint this area over the item that’s to be removed. (If you don’t see any change, check that you set the viewer 2 to show the Paint node by hitting the 2 key when it is selected.) Keep sampling from nearby areas, varying the source to avoid the clone areas looking too obvious but avoiding sampling from areas where action happens.

6. Convert back to LatLong view

06 convert back to latlong - Tripod and rig removal in DaVinci Resolve

To convert the newly cleaned up patch back to the original LatLong (equirectangular) form with the settings precisely reversed, select the LatLong Patcher1 node and copy it, then click an empty area in the Nodes panel to deselect, then paste.

Change this second LatLong Patcher’s Mode to Apply rather than Extract, but leave all other settings alone. Then drag the final pipe from the MediaOut node and connect it to the new LatLong Patcher node. With this node selected, type 2 to show this in viewer 2. You should see the extracted and patched portion reprojected back into the equirectangular ‘latlong’ view, but without the rest of the frame.

7. Add a Merge node

07 add merge node - Tripod and rig removal in DaVinci Resolve

Click on an empty area of the Nodes panel and choose Add Tool > Composite > Merge to add a Merger node. This will take two inputs, the video from the first LatLong Patcher node as the background and the patched content from the second LatLong Patcher node as the foreground, sitting on top of the original un-patched area of the original clip. Point and hover over the Merge node’s yellow triangle; it will show that it is the background input. The green triangle is the foreground input.

8. Merge patch and video

08 merge patch and video - Tripod and rig removal in DaVinci Resolve

Drag a pipe from the output of the MediaIn node to the background input of the Merge node, and from the second LatLong Patcher to the foreground input. Make sure you drag from the beginning of the pipe output from the MediaIn node, not the end of the existing pipe that goes to the first LatLong Patcher node. There must be two pipes exiting the MediaIn node. With the Merge node selected, type 2 to show the results in viewer 2.

9. Pipe the edits to the MediaOut node

09 pipe to mediaout node - Tripod and rig removal in DaVinci Resolve

Finally, drag a pipe from the output of the Merge node to the MediaOut node. Now the clip has been fixed you can return to the Edit page or work in the other pages, or go straight to the Deliver page if you’re ready to render this to the final video.

Plan ahead to minimize problems

Wherever possible, plan and shoot in ways that minimise or even entirely avoid the need to use clone stamp tools to remove objects, and especially try to avoid having long obvious shadows cast by the camera support. The odds of someone moving through the sample area and causing weird clone results go up dramatically when this happens, as shown here in this attempt to clone out a tripod shadow. Positioning the camera and support so that their shadows are covered by or at least mixed up in existing shadows would have avoided this situation, where the long shadows caused by the low evening sun extend into where there’s constant action.

10 boxout clone problems - Tripod and rig removal in DaVinci Resolve

Consider where shadows fall and where action occurs when filming. Sometimes their position makes cloning them away difficult or even impossible without causing other issues.