Creative Communities of the World Forums

The peer to peer support community for media production professionals.

Activity Forums Adobe Premiere Pro Difference between two layers

  • Difference between two layers

    Posted by Bernhard Walzl on August 29, 2023 at 8:47 pm


    I have filmed from a tripod. I have two identical video layers but one has a person walking in them the other one doesn’t. I want to see only the person, the rest should be transparent. Meaning I only want to have visible what’s different between the two videos.

    How can this be achieved without going deep into the After Effects rabbit hole? Can this be done with Premiere? Blend modes, Keying etc?

    Santanu Bhattacharjee replied 9 months ago 4 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • Ann Bens

    August 29, 2023 at 10:35 pm

    After effects is the way to go: rotoscoping or use a greenscreen the next time you are filming

  • Bernhard Walzl

    August 29, 2023 at 11:56 pm

    There is surely some smarter way than rotoscoping and AE.

    Currently I am playing with difference matte, nesting and then keying etc. It does work but its just a bit tricky because I have to nest, I was wondering if there is some smarter way to do this.

  • Mads Nybo jørgensen

    August 30, 2023 at 1:35 am

    Hey Bernhard,

    In the olden days it was called a “difference key”.
    Within Adobe that appears now to be called a “Difference Matte”.
    Not sure that you can avoid going via After Effects, but there are tutorials out there that will take you through the process.

    It is late where I am, so I haven’t watched the whole video from Jake In Motion, but it looks close enough:
    And, if you are brave, you might be able to replicate in PPro.

    But Difference key is most likely only to work on a locked-off tripod shot, where the background on both layers is identical with no movement.

    If you don’t have that, you’ll need to follow Ann Bens’ advice above.

    Good Luck!


    Some contents or functionalities here are not available due to your cookie preferences!

    This happens because the functionality/content marked as “Google Youtube” uses cookies that you choosed to keep disabled. In order to view this content or use this functionality, please enable cookies: click here to open your cookie preferences.

  • Bernhard Walzl

    August 30, 2023 at 5:32 pm

    This is perfect. Too bad this effect is listed under “obsolete” in Premiere. I am wondering what they want me to replace this with in future versions.

  • Mads Nybo jørgensen

    August 31, 2023 at 10:57 am

    Hey Bernhard,

    Fab, that you got the fix that you needed!

    Yes, obsolete, but it is still there – what gives?

    Currently, if your subject is moving through the shot, you can use Mocha (BorisFX – included in some of their plug-ins for PPro, and basic version in After Effects).
    Or, if go down the Adobe “contemporary” option of using the Content Aware Fill in After Effects which involves some AI generative processing.

    Both Mocha and Adobe is for the right shot, really good choices.
    But will not beat the speed and quality of a good difference key.


  • Bernhard Walzl

    August 31, 2023 at 8:08 pm

    I avoid obsolete effects because this means that in a future version the effect is gone and I will get an error when opening an older project. Hence I couldn’t do changes and reexport it because of the missing effect.

    Your answer is still very helpful, I am going this path for now but will have to find a better solution in the future.

    For context: I film people presenting a power point presentation. Because it’s difficult to read whats written on the projector, I export the power point to JPEG images and then overlay them in my videos. So the viewer can much better read whats written and it looks nice. However, ever so often the presenter puts his hands in front or walks in front of the screen and in order to avoid rotoscoping I use this difference effect. It is working and looks good, but my current setup of double-nesting and several effects is quite a brain knot. I am looking for a simpler solution.

  • Mads Nybo jørgensen

    August 31, 2023 at 8:23 pm

    Hey Bernhard,

    There are easier ways of inflicting pain on yourself, than working with “actors” jumping around on a stage in front of your screen.

    But if they have the money, then why not.

    However, in those situations, I cut to the slide full-screen (from file supplied by client), or frame it on to a static or moving background (in case slide is 4:3 and master needs to be 16:9).
    You could also build a Zoom like split with presenter on one side, and slide on the other.

    Obviously, I am not being helpful here. Sorry 😉

    And, don’t worry, even if Adobe calls it “obsolete”, difference key/matte will always survive in one form or another.


  • Bernhard Walzl

    August 31, 2023 at 8:30 pm

    Thanks for your suggestions. I do this sometimes too with a zoom style, its style is accepted in some cases. I usually cut to full screen when the presenter is in front which mostly works but when it’s too often then there it simply no other solution to fall back to magic 🙂

    Thanks for your comments!

  • Santanu Bhattacharjee

    September 17, 2023 at 9:00 am

    Obsolete only means that that they use old tech. May be not use 32/64 bit processing. However they they do work but at the cost of the CPU and not the GPU. Adobe plans to phase out all such CPU based effects in the future and have put them in the Obsolete bucket.

We use anonymous cookies to give you the best experience we can.
Our Privacy policy | GDPR Policy