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Why does my green screening stinkl so bad in motion/FCP?

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Mark Suszko
Why does my green screening stinkl so bad in motion/FCP?
on Jan 10, 2006 at 4:53:13 am

Cross-posted from the FCP forum, only because I think you guys here wil have a slightly different take on it.

OK, I'll admit I'm a rank beginner when it comes to FCP, though I have several years' practice on other NLE's. Today I got on the system to do some chromakeying, and 12 hours later have yet to be satisfied with the output. Maybe one of you guys could offer some suggestions?

The setup is FCP HD with an IO for input, unfortunately this particular setup (we have 2) does not have SDI, I am taking in the green screen footage as 10-bit analog uncompressed off of a DVCPro25 deck. My best guess is this is fundamentally the cause of my quality problems, but let me go on a bit...

Green screen footage digitized, imported diretcly into Motion as a project. Added a background layer of a simple gradient as a 720x486 targa file. Between the greenscreen layer and the background layer, I have another 720-high targa file of a complicated form that needs filling out. Trying to get the same look as those blown-up giant pages they use in the opening of "60 Minutes" , so you can see the lines clearly while the talent walsk you thru filling them out. This is about a 7-minute clip.

Tried motions' supplied greenscreen filter, it looked horrible, could not pull a decent matte. Tried the extra plug-in from Ultimatte, and the stills are looking pretty good fromthe get-go. Some tweaking and it looks pretty good, but my preview play-back is not really smooth enough to see if there are any bad artifacts in the motion footage.

Tried rendering as .mov from within Motion... 7 minutes took over an hour. When I brought it into FCP, I found I still had to render it, another hour-plus. (hence the headline for the thread) Finally, it's done, I play it back, only to see raggedy edge artifacts on the matte, #$@^%#@!$#!,

Re-did everything, tried sharpening the green screen layer, no improvement. Tried again, used the video filter to de-interlace, no improvement, worse if anything. Tried exporting from motion using compressor, export was faster than the .mov, but still had to render once on the FCP timeline, and it still stinks on ice.

I'm pretty sure this is all "pilot error", but now you've had a good laugh at my antics, any pointers you wanna suggest? Take my word, if you will, that the green screen footage was exposed evenly enough.


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specialcase
Re: Why does my green screening stinkl so bad in motion/FCP?
on Jan 10, 2006 at 5:28:58 am

Heya Mark,

If your footage was imported as DVCPro, then it's been pretty significantly compressed, which limits the quality of key you will be able to pull. Also, the Primatte RT keyer that comes with Motion is great, but it's not designed for use with lossy footage. The Ultimatte plugin is a software-only AE filter (runs on the CPU, not using the graphics card), so it'll be quite slow. I highly recommend checking out dvGarage's dvMatte Blast keyer. It is specifically designed for use with compressed, DV-type formats. And, it has been written as a Motion-native filter, so it runs hot-diggity fast. And...it's cheap. Check it out at http://www.dvgarage.com/prod/prod.php?prod=dvmatteb They have a demo you can test out.

Good luck with your project!


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David Jones
Re: Why does my green screening stinkl so bad in motion/FCP?
on Jan 10, 2006 at 2:45:18 pm

Starting out with DV25 can't help.


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klthomas
Re: Why does my green screening stinkl so bad in motion/FCP?
on Jan 10, 2006 at 3:33:31 pm

Yeah, for DV25 footage, DV Matte Blast is definitely the way to go. Your not going to get Movie quality keys from it, the edges will look a bit soft and high frequency detail will disappear (strands of hair, ect.). But it's really good at clearing up the chunky edges. Also I would suggest breaking up the 7 minute project into 1 minute or so chunks if possible.



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Noah Kadner
Re: Why does my green screening stinkl so bad in motion/FCP?
on Jan 11, 2006 at 2:49:34 am

Good green screen is probably the most difficult thing there is. Starts with perfect lighting and uncompressed footage and processed shot by shot in 16-bit via Shake or Inferno. That's the best it gets. As you wind your way down to moderate lighting and DV 25 you need to do a lot more work to get it to look good. Spend some time googling- there's many many articles about this.

Noah


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