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Dolly on a key

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Ender WatersDolly on a key
by on Jul 11, 2011 at 10:03:43 pm

Hey all. I'm having a bit of an interesting time working on my first professional key.

The head of a small, brand spanking new 3D studio in north LA asked me if I could do some editing for them. Being a poor film student, I of course said yes.

"Editing" turned into "keying out the green screen and adding a background" to already edited footage. I'd never done a serious greenscreen, having mostly just mucked around with trying to pull a key in PS, but I told them I could do it.

And I can. But it's taking an awfully long time.

The screen is lit perfectly, which is nice. Keylight will pull an admirable key out of the green with little to no effort on my part. However, it's after this that the problems start. The camera is dollying back and forth constantly, meaning that to get a really good key I need to matte out the pink tracking tape on the wall. Which has proved to be painstaking, time consuming work. The tape constantly intersects with the subject's hands or body. I can't just key out the pink as well because the pink in the subject's skin gets trashed if I try. Roto'ing the matte is taking hours and hours, as I said. Is there an easier/faster way to do it?

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Steve BrameRe: Dolly on a key
by on Jul 11, 2011 at 11:40:25 pm

First, find out who's idea it was to use pink tape, and kill them.

Someone may have a bright idea on how to handle this, but I'll bet that roto'ing is gonna be the best.

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions

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Walter SoykaRe: Dolly on a key
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 12:27:38 am

Steve's suggestion sounds good... but maybe you could also use Mocha Pro to track and remove the markers?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events

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Todd KoprivaRe: Dolly on a key
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 2:29:23 am

Wow. I agree with Steve.

The Roto Brush tool is a great tool for making supremely tight garbage mattes, so you should be able to get a really tight matte around your subject with that. (Just try to get a pretty good edge with the Roto Brush matte, and then expand that matte by a few pixels to make the garbage matte.)

Then, you can just key the edges around the subject.

This leaves the places where the pink tape comes in contact with the subject, but you can probably paint those scraps out manually.

Not fun, but that's how I'd tackle it. (...I guess, having not actually seen the images.)

Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support

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Ender WatersRe: Dolly on a key
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 7:25:40 pm

I'm using CS4, so unfortunately rotobrush is out. Looks like I'm stuck rotoing the mask.

Thanks for the help guys!

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Dave LaRondeRe: Dolly on a key
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 7:33:55 pm

[Ender Waters] "Looks like I'm stuck rotoing the mask."

Perhaps only a little bit. You should search the COW's AE tutorials for Aharon Rabinowitz' tutorial on creating super-tight junk masks. You ought to be able to use it, and it could save you a lot of work.

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

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Steve BrameRe: Dolly on a key
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 9:18:19 pm

At any rate, Dave's right. Aharon Rabinowitz' tutorial on creating super-tight junk masks is one of the most useful tutorials I've ever seen. It makes keying a lot less of a headache.

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions

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Roland R. KahlenbergRe: Dolly on a key
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 7:27:55 am

Kinda silly on the pink markers bit but it should be 'keyable' with AE's Color Key effect. You will want to look at combining mattes from different areas (where pink meets foreground edge versus 'untouched' foreground edge) as well as areas in the foreground where spill or light fringes such as hair some into play.

Here's a tip, if tracking a flat wall, leave the markers far away from the foreground object. With Mocha, where you track a plane, the markers can be on the same plane (wall) and yet far away from the foreground object such that the markers and the foreground object do not overlap. This allows you to garbage matte out the markers prior to keying andyet be able to use the markers for your tracks.

If you need more assistance, you'll do well to post a video.


Intensive AE Training in South East Asia.

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