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Music video? Green Screen, 2D Images, etc.

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Chaernon Adrian
Music video? Green Screen, 2D Images, etc.
on Jan 9, 2016 at 1:39:13 pm

Hi, this forum has helped me before, hopefully it can help me again.

As the title says, I`m trying to achieve a music video for one of my piano exclusive tracks. I`ve got a 1080 Nikon D3200, a green screen wall, and 3 yellow lights.

As for what I`m trying to achieve, I`m thinking about adding a 2D image of a piano in my video as the camera won`t be moving around, only still from different angles, so I`m guessing different 2d images of a piano, so I figured it might work. What I don`t know is how exactly will I make that look as real as possible and if it`s even achievable.

The next thing I`m trying to do is to create this chill atmosphere, sad but not "emo" sad, kind of like John Legend All Of Me video.

I`m also looking for some kind of smoke/cloud thing to maybe cover the fake piano and give my video more of a professional look.

If you guys can point me to the right video on YouTube or something similar I`ll be more than happy to learn it. But as of now I don`t really know what exactly to search for.

Thanks a lot in advance!

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Kalle Kannisto
Re: Music video? Green Screen, 2D Images, etc.
on Jan 10, 2016 at 12:56:11 pm

There's a two-week course worth of questions there, but let's start with the green screen.

You can google for "green screen lighting" which is (in addition to the quality of your camera) just about the most important thing about shooting green screen, and "green screen keying", which is the procedure of how you remove that green background and put something else there.

Using green screen you can put another background behind you, but you don't need green screen to replace the piano, if that's all you want to do.

I take that you want to replace the piano you are playing with another piano that looks better?

The make it (relatively) simple, don't use angles where you or your hands are in front of the piano (the part you are trying to replace), as that will make it way more complicated, unless you want to spray paint your piano green (joke). Basically, don't put anything (moving) between the camera and (those parts of) the piano you want to replace. Note that if you want to show your fingers on the keyboard, you'd shoot in from an angle where your fingers would always be in front of the keyboard and not covering other parts of the piano. Then you will be able to compose it without getting into rotoscoping -- wherein you would make a career out of being a rotoscope artist rather than a pianist.

A still image will do if it is high enough quality and matches the angle. So, you'd have to start by finding the photos first, then planning the shoot based on those angles.

Now, just slapping still image of a piano will look like a still image of a piano slapped on top of footage for a number of reasons. There are several things that will have to match between the footage and the added elements, the first one is lighting. So, you'd have to take that into account. How are the photos of the piano lit? Match it the best you can.

Then color: The brigthness and the temperature (warm/cold) of the lighting need to match.

Grain: There is animated noise, or grain, in footage that is absent (or still) in still images. You need to add that in in the right amount.

Other things that you may encounter. Shadows and reflections: if the piano is a shiny surface, it will reflect, so you'll need to add reflections of yourself if the camera angle requires such. Or shadows, if the lighting is such. both relatively complex matters.

And so on...

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Chaernon Adrian
Re: Music video? Green Screen, 2D Images, etc.
on Jan 11, 2016 at 8:15:35 pm

I`ve got an insanely powerful machine to process all this, but after reading a couple of times what you answered me I realize with every read that even with such a powerful machine the skills of the creator is everything.

Also, I realize that what I asked here is a lot of different things covering different topics of After Effects, that`s why I was asking for some videos/courses inclined specifically to making music videos so I could learn.

As for the piano, it doesn`t exist at all, so I`m not really trying to replace it, I`m trying to "create" it. I`ve worked with green screen before, I know all about keylight, it`s just the piano, shadows, reflections, lightning and everything else that scares me, because really, I`m not trying to work a month on a 3 minutes video.

Thanks for your reply though! I guess I gotta find some videos or courses about music videos, if they even exist.

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Kalle Kannisto
Re: Music video? Green Screen, 2D Images, etc.
on Jan 12, 2016 at 2:48:42 pm

Would more than likely be way cheaper (your time is money), easier and faster to rent a place with a good piano and shoot it with a couple of cameras. You'd be done in a day with the footage itself. As opposed to several weeks or even months with AE... to possibly end up looking like you faked it in AE. In terms of time, it is about 1:100 ratio between shooting something or doing something with VFX. So unless something is (next to) impossible to shoot, just shoot it.

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Stefan Schmidt
Re: Music video? Green Screen, 2D Images, etc.
on Feb 18, 2017 at 5:11:30 pm

Hi Kalle,

I have a similar challenge for a music video:
woman opens fridge-door and I`m playing as a dwarf on my tiny orange piano in the refrigerator (with a woolen cap and a scarf...)
We wanna shoot this on a budget.
I know about 2 options while using green screen:

Shooting me playing the real orange piano with green screen or
shooting me playing just a keyboard and adding the orange piano virtually.

What would you recommend? How can we set this up to make it seem as realistic as possible?

Thank you for an answer,Kalle
Cheers from

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