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Green Screen Workflow

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Ellen Donnelly
Green Screen Workflow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 2:49:44 pm


Looking for general workflow advice.
I have a 16 minute video from 10 or 12 orginal shots in front of a mediocre green screen. I've edited in Premier Pro and have about 75 clips in my timeline.
I am adding a couple of .PNG sequences made in Maxon C4D, and would like to use After Effects to do some scaling, camera movement and maybe some other transforming, as well as keying out my green screen.

Not sure where to start. Import the entire Premier Pro sequence using dynamic link? Do each clip individually?
Is there a way to batch key and composite a piece of footage and add that to the appropriate place in my timeline?
And how should I export? Should I keep sound only in Premier?

If anyone has lots of experience doing lengthy projects with a lot of After Effects and especially green screen, I would love an idea of your most efficient work flow.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Green Screen Workflow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 3:02:52 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Jul 31, 2018 at 5:21:45 pm

The term, "mediocre green screen" concerns me. I have two questions:

1) Is the mediocrity of the green screen clips consistent, i.e. shot all in one go with the same, single camera?

2) Can you post a still of unkeyed footage so we can see what you're up against?

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Ellen Donnelly
Re: Green Screen Workflow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 5:46:26 pm

Yes, everything is shot with the same camera and lighting, same set.
There is a lot of spill in some shots, fluffy hair and the screen itself isn't consistent, etc.
Takes some messing around with Keylight, and I still have messy edges in some places.


final result with keylight:

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Andrew Somers
Re: Green Screen Workflow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 8:03:00 pm
Last Edited By Andrew Somers on Jul 31, 2018 at 8:05:35 pm

Wow that green screen is way over-exposed, and uneven. Ideally green screens should be under exposed, and evenly lit.

That said:

We normally handle each shot as a separate clip, in a separate AE project. But you could certainly have all your green screen shots in one project, but I do suggest a separate comp timeline for each clip.

Greenscreen is almost never a "click it and forget it" operation, always requiring massaging and finesse. And especially when you have a poorly shot screen, you need a lot of shot-by-shot adjustments and trickery.

When compositing, I do recommend working in 32 bit linearized workspace in After Effects.

Keylight is only a so-so keyer. If you can, get Primatte—it's the best available all-in-one keyer for AE. I suggest you get the Red Giant Keying Suite of tools:

If you are stuck with Keylight, then you might find better results using it only to create the matte (alpha channel), and then use multiple layers to create the comp, instead of doing it all inside the plug in in a single layer.

You can do this by using a layer with the Keylight plugin to generate an alpha and putting that layer above the layer to be keyed, using alpha track matte on the foreground footage to make the key. Use masks on the top layer to get rid of the bulk of the green, so you are only worried about the area around the moving objects. On the lower keyed layer, you handle spill suppression separately.

Separating the compositing operation into multiple separate layers gives your finer control, and also allows for other advanced techniques like gamma-blur hold out layers using hicon mattes, building light wraps, etc.

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor

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