Some post-production tricks that initially seem simple to pull off usually end up being more complicated than one may think. That certainly applies to placing text behind an object, a commonly used technique that could also be very deceptive. While it does seem straightforward at first, it actually involves a lot of manual masking, which is even more tedious to accomplish when the object is in motion. Fortunately, seasoned video editor Justin Odisho has come up with a solution that allows you to achieve the effect easily in Adobe Premiere Pro.
Before moving on, it’s worth noting that this effect won’t apply to every situation. It’s more of a shortcut and is only really useful for if your footage is not super complicated in terms of composition and movement (and has proper foreground/background separation). For a more complex version of the effect, you may have to use other compositing programs such as Adobe After Effects.
That said, the first step is to duplicate your clip, and place the copy on top of the original file. Then add the Paint Bucket filter to the duplicate clip. The effect essentially works like the Paint Bucket tool in Photoshop where it simply fills the selected area with single color. The reason why Justin uses this particular filter here is to avoid having to mask out the subject manually.
After you apply the Paint Bucket tool, select a part of your image in the Program Editor as the filter should detect the edges of your subject automatically. Once you’ve found an area of your image that works for you, adjust the tolerance and try to cover as much of the frame with the fill color, without affecting your subject.
The next step is to change the blending mode of the Paint Bucket effect to Stencil Alpha and then select the Invert Fill option. At this point, you should be able to isolate the subject (at least most of it) from the background, allowing you to put text or any other object between the two layers. To complete the task, just place the graphic of your choice in between the original clip and the duplicate clip with the Paint Bucket effect.
That’s all there is to it! If your shot has more complicated movement (whether it be the camera or the subject), you can try animating the position of the paint bucket tool or even the tolerance. But remember that the technique will yield the best results with shots that are much simpler in terms of composition and motion.