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Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?

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Kristian Tigersjäl
Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Mar 16, 2010 at 4:56:56 pm

Hi people!

I've heard a few times now that only pro gear can do proper chroma keying and that there is no point in even trying with consumer gear. Is this really true? I'm filming with a consumer grade camera, it's actually a DSLR with video function, a Casio EX-F1. It shoots nice HD video in AVC/H.264 or if it's considered AVCHD, not sure which. Could I do some chromakeying of ok quality or should I not even consider trying it?

Kristian


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Lance Bachelder
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Mar 16, 2010 at 6:40:19 pm

It's not really a pro vs. consumer issue at all. It's a codec issue - is there enough color information to pull a nice key? The general answer would be NO - current DSLR's do not have a robust enough codec to shoot green screens.

This really depends on where your shot is gonna end up? If it's going on a big screen in a theater forget it - but youtube? Might be fine. Keying also depends on the software you are using - something pro like Keylight might be able to do a usable job with your Casio footage - but if you're using the built-in keyer in an NLE like Vegas or Final Cut you may get poor results.

Lance Bachelder
Southern California



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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Mar 16, 2010 at 7:00:53 pm

It won't do it in-camera, but you can most definitely shoot against a greenscreen and do your chroma key in your NLE. Basically, shoot at the max possible quality. Check this video out:

http://magiclantern.wikia.com/wiki/Magic_Lantern_Firmware_Wiki

At about 5:40, they discuss using MagicLantern (5D only for now) to get the best possible key for a greenscreen. Pretty basic tutorial.

I love it when people say I can't do it. People have told me never to use a DVX-100 for green screen. Yet, I am able to pull a great matte from my footage (even though I'm done with tape). I've pulled great mattes from consumer cameras. Here's the truth of the matter: if you are willing to take the necessary steps to maintain the quality (you aren't just looking for a quick fix), you can do anything. Same basic caveats apply for general green screening and for DSLR video. There are limitations, but they are not roadblocks.

Jonathan Ziegler
http://www.electrictiger.com/
520-360-8293


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Kristian Tigersjäl
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Mar 16, 2010 at 10:18:44 pm

I'm not looking to shoot a movie for the big screen here exactly, I'd probably be holding the wrong camera all together. My expectation is more like in the area of ok quality VGA possibly 720p results. I guess it's down to trying. It's fantastic (read interesting!) how different replies I'm getting on this question. I get answer s all the way from IMPOSSIBLE to VERY POSSIBLE. Guess I just have to go ahead and try myself and see just what I'd end up with and whatever this is good enough or not.


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John Frey
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Mar 16, 2010 at 7:01:45 pm

I have one of these cameras. We use our main HD cameras to shoot green screen, but will run a short test to see how both the 1920x1080i and the 1280x720p footage it will record holds up. There is a huge difference between properly lit green screen footage keyed in Keylight within After Effects and on a built-in keyer in your NLE. You should test under properly lit conditions and test it for yourself in Keylight or another proper keying app. You might be surprised.

John D. Frey
25 Year owner/operator of two California-based production studios.

Digital West Video Productions of San Luis Obispo and Inland Images of Lake Elsinore


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Noah Kadner
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Mar 16, 2010 at 7:04:13 pm

I don't know if I'd want to try with something like an EX-F1- looks a little too consumery. But I'd be more than game for a 7D or a 5D Mark II in terms of DSLR for green screen.

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!
Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.
Watch Formosa- My indie movie shot with the SDX900 and finished with Final Cut Studio.


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Brian Pitt
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Mar 16, 2010 at 8:37:45 pm

I have had GREAT success shooting on a green screen with my 7D and pulling the key in after effects with keylight. One suggestion...if there is a lot of action, shoot 720p at 60fps.

Brian


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Kristian Tigersjäl
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Mar 16, 2010 at 10:23:32 pm

Well I don't have any other camera options and the 7D for example is beyond my league pricetag-wise as I'm doing this at home as a hobby with no income from it what so ever. Chroma keying isn't a big deal to me really, I'd just being able to add it to my possibilities.


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Kristian Tigersjäl
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Mar 16, 2010 at 10:21:07 pm

It'd be interesting to hear what kind of results you'd see with this camera. I know it's not meant to shoot super high quality stuff but it still shoots a pretty darn fine 720p and higher when things are properly lit. The reason I choose this camera was due to it's highspeed video recording aswell as highspeed photography features combined with a decent HD camera function. It was simply an "all-in-one" kind of a device that would be good enough for a hobby level of all the above things and it is, I'm just not sure whatever chroma keying is a stretch or not.


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Bill Davis
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Mar 17, 2010 at 3:13:54 am

5dMk ii footage keys very well.

I did a project in October where a bunch of product managers demonstrated items going out for retail sales for the Holiday season. Here's a simple key pulled from the product shoot.

The original is 5dMkii HD video. The video file was brought directly into FCP and it's internal simple GS keyer used to pull the key. The original background was green, (as you can see at the edges of the widest part of the shot) so I swapped it for garish pink, in order to let you judge the key edges better. I also did a freeze frame of a guy who turned out to be a VERY good sport - he's a product manager - NOT a video pro and I'm freezing him in a very un-flattering position so the company logo on his shirt is obscured. This is for learning only. Do not copy and past the poor guy all over the internet, please.

Clip is cropped and grabbed from a 100% FCP Canvas Window with a simple screen grabber.

File here: files.me.com/davisbill/79wfqw

That's a very basic 5dMkii key via FCP.



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Noah Kadner
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Mar 17, 2010 at 6:12:08 am

So test. A Canon T2i is basically functionally identical to a 7D at half the price. Perhaps it's not as out of reach as you might think...

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!
Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.
Watch Formosa- My indie movie shot with the SDX900 and finished with Final Cut Studio.


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Kristian Tigersjäl
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Mar 17, 2010 at 10:53:15 am

True, it may not be. I'll test with the gear I have and consider if it's worth the money to upgrade, but I'll probably come to the conclusion that it isn't at this point. I just hope I can get some decent keys with my current toy. ;)


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Kristian Tigersjäl
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Mar 21, 2010 at 11:34:23 pm

After some tests, that didn't turn out perfect, I still got an idea about what can be done. Have a look at this youtube clip from the experiment to see the results and some comments on this on the voice over. It's actually my first 720p youtube upload too which seemed to work just fine, nice!



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Sean Lander
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Mar 22, 2010 at 2:50:20 am

FWIW just finished a job that was shot with 3 Canon 5D Mk IIs all green screen.
Best keys we've ever pulled. I am not joking. We had talent behind plexiglass smoking a pipe that we were able to key through. Simply amazing.

It's not just the codec it's the lens and the sensor as well. A big sensor means little noise. Great glass means clean images.

The chroma keys were performed in Final Cut Studio and Adobe After Effect with Primatte Keyer 4.0.

R E D N A I L - M E D I A
web: http://www.rednail.com.au
email: rednail@me.com


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Jay Levi
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Nov 5, 2011 at 8:41:12 pm

i know its been a while since the thread was started but if anyone can explain to me how a canon 5d, 7d or 60d are different when it comes to shooting video?


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Matt Trubac
Re: Can DSLR Video cameras do chroma keying?
on Nov 10, 2011 at 1:08:15 pm

A little off topic for this thread... but here we go. The biggest differences between the cameras you mentioned come to sensor size and convenience features inside the cameras. I don't know that I will hit everything here... but here are a few.

The 5D Mark ii is a full frame sensor. The 7D and 60D are 1.6x crop sensors. This means that the field of view of a 50mm lens on a 5D Mark ii is equal to what you would get on a 35mm film camera. Because the sensor on the 7D and 60D is smaller it doesn't capture the entire image projected by the lens and a 50mm lens is cropped. The effective field of view is equivalent to a focal length multiple of 1.6x on a 35mm camera. Our example of a 50mm lens on a full frame would look more like 80mm (full frame) on the 7D or 60D.

I haven't used the 60D, but I think its IQ is very similar to the 7D. I own both the 5D Mark ii and 7D. Both cameras are very good, but the 5D Mark ii has less noise at higher ISO's. It becomes most noticeable to me over 1250 iso. This is due to the full frame sensor on the 5D. Larger pixels.

Otherwise, between the 5D Mark ii and the 7D, the biggest things that stand out in my mind are... The 7D can shoot 720p60. The 5D does not shoot this format. The 5D has a histogram for setting exposure. The 5D allows you to manually set an audio level from within menus. Not convenient but something you cannot do on a 7D. The 7D has a dedicated switch for video/photo modes. The 5D has a button to enter live view and you need to set the live view mode up within the menu. The 7D has a dedicated video record button. The 5D uses the center button in the navigation wheel thing to start and stop recording.

The 5D is more expensive than the 7D. They have similar build quality. In general IQ is comparable across the line. Fast quality lenses are important. I shoot with several primes that are f/1.4-f/2.0. I also use a few f/2.8 zoom lenses. Mostly Canon L glass.


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