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Forrest Gump Effect| Add Yourself Into Historical Footage Using After Effects

By Hanssie on August 20th 2015

It’s Thursday, which means it’s almost Friday, and you might be sitting at work trying to look busy wondering whatever will you do this weekend? Well, look no further because this is what I’ll be busying myself with. If you’ve ever seen the movie, Forrest Gump – which if you haven’t, then you must put that on your weekend to-do list as well – there are numerous CGI-induced scenes throughout the movie where Forrest meets and interacts with historical figures. Using archived footage, it looks as if Tom Hanks was actually there, as Forrest, in these key moments in history.



In the following 3-minute video tutorial, you can learn how to insert yourself into the history books by using Adobe After Effects. Filmmaker Steve Ramsden shows you step-by-step how to do it. It takes some compositing and post production skills, but otherwise the process is fairly simple. First, you need to find a piece of footage that “has good possibilities for interaction.” Then you set up a green screen and try to recreate the setting. The entire process is shown in 8 steps in the video below.

Honestly, the first example he shows, him stepping in front of the camera to greet the Beatles, was not bad, but you can tell it is not real. In the second example, where he moves behind Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt, he inserts himself almost seamlessly, and it looks to be believable.

A fun way to spend a rainy Saturday…or bored Thursday at work.

Is this something you’d try at home either for fun or in your filmmaking? Comment below!

[Via Laughing Squid]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Don Weber

    That looks like a lot of fun! Great movie too.

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  2. Ralph Hightower

    This would be fun to do!

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  3. Lester Terry

    Very interesting

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  4. Raymond Craig

    These are always fun to do. Two things I would mention after looking at the Churchill shot is: try and mimic the direction of light as close as possible so the shadows match, and if you can move your subject away from the greenscreen you’ll get a much better key (less shadow casting on the screen and less color spill on the subject).

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  5. Brandon Dewey

    very cool!

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