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Chroma Key Noob with a Sony Switcher BVS-3100

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Keith Parkansky
Chroma Key Noob with a Sony Switcher BVS-3100
on Feb 6, 2012 at 5:18:18 pm

I am attempting to set up a studio at work for shooting talking head type Web videos using some inherited old equipment. I was volunteered to do this and have no experience at it.

I understand the theory of chroma key but I'm at a loss as to the implementation. On the back of the Sony BVS-3100 switcher are three chroma key RGB inputs. In the manual they show a cmaera with component outputs plugged into these inputs labeled as the chroma key source. (The video inputs are labeled as chroma key fill.)

Do I need to dedicate a separate camera with RGB outputs to point at the green background whenever I want to do a chroma key effect ?

Thanks in advance for any enlightenment.


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Tom Matthies
Re: Chroma Key Noob with a Sony Switcher BVS-3100
on Feb 6, 2012 at 8:31:29 pm

You will need a camera of some sort that will provide the component outputs that the chroma keyer in the switcher requires. I'm not sure about the Sony switcher, but most Grass Valley switcher of a similar vintage would also accept Y, R-Y, B-Y component signals from the camera as well as RGB.
You could use a decoder that would convert composite video back to RGB, but the results are likely to be pretty bad when used for the chroma key.
What kind of camera do you have available to use?

E=MC2+/-2db


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Keith Parkansky
Re: Chroma Key Noob with a Sony Switcher BVS-3100
on Feb 6, 2012 at 9:24:45 pm

Unfortunately cameras were not included in the equipment that I inherited. We only have I camera that I picked up on eBay, a Panasonic WV-3260.

I know I can do chroma key in post for saved videos (I picked up a copy of Vegas Pro 8 on eBay also). I just thought it would be nice to have the capability if they ever wanted to do a live stream - but it's not worth going out and getting another camera for.

Thanks for the info!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Chroma Key Noob with a Sony Switcher BVS-3100
on Feb 7, 2012 at 5:11:19 pm

I'd also like to know how you intend to RECORD the output of this switcher to include the transparency. Old switchers typically can't output a transparency channel.

I can think of only one way: you record the keyed subject on one device as a B&W image, a Matte. 100% white represents complete opacity, all-black represents total transparency, and shades of gray are semi-opaque.

On another device, you record the pristine shot. Then you use something else to create the actual transparency from both.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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