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Re: A new rig for chromakey studio work

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Mark Suszko
Re: A new rig for chromakey studio work
on May 7, 2015 at 3:27:20 pm

4:2:2 10-bit keying is easy with any of the available cameras and NLE platforms. The important thing is to light that green or blue screen EVENLY and not over-brightly, because even and SATURATED, with no reflected spill, is what makes a good key.

Use your waveform monitor and the zebra bars in your camera to check that the backdrop is lit evenly all the way across and top to bottom. No wrinkles, no hot spots, no shadows. My rule of thumb for distance to the wall is the subjects' height, plus 2 feet, to prevent shadows as well as color spill contamination. Use a magenta gel on the backlights to help prevent green spill, use "bastard amber" gels versus blue screens for the same purpose. Light talent and the wall separately.

Lighting a green screen need not cost a lot. You can get away with florescent shop lights as wall-washers, just add a little more diffusion to even things out.

Before the shoot, I shoot a macbeth color chip chart under the talent lighting, and I use that, not camera-generated color bars, as the starting point when color-correcting the footage for initial keying. Only then do I add the keyer to the color-corrected footage, and bam; the key is 99 percent perfect right out of the box under those conditions. Regardless of platform. The current keyers in FCPX and PPro are also very, very good.

As to 4k, it depends so much on the subject and intended use. For medical, or imaging really small, detailed things, 4K is useful. On a CEO, it just makes more work for the makeup artist and skin smoothing plug-ins in post :-)

Don't do 4k because "the cool kids all do it". Use it because your specific audience (like doctor training) is watching 4K, or because it brings a specific advantage to a project. One example is, when you have only one camera shooting an interview, in 4K, you can add a zoom and crop to re-frame a close-up shot out of a wide 2-shot, and the final product in 2K looks like you actually had two, 2K cameras.

Corporate work is all about proving ROI, showing what the money spent has generated. Frame every buying and operational decision in those terms, because your boss already does.

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