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Need advice on a key (frizzy, white hair)

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Tim StonesiferNeed advice on a key (frizzy, white hair)
by on Aug 18, 2014 at 8:30:03 pm

I have a troublesome key... I've scoured the web, but could use advice from the experts. I've gotten a good sense of the three pass method, and am planning on implementing that. However, this hair is being a royal pain in the butt. Any suggestions? I'm using CS5.5 with no extra keying plugins (so just Keylight). Even when I mask off just the hair, I still can't get something I'm happy with.

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Alexander PedersenRe: Need advice on a key (frizzy, white hair)
by on Aug 18, 2014 at 8:46:54 pm

I filmed myself with thick brown hair and a girl with long blonde and flimsy hair and with her hair I had serious problems. It was as if there was 'noise' at the thinnest of her hair. No matter what I did I could not get rid of it even with garbage masks as you did. I found out the only thing that worked was actually denoising it. Even though it was very noise free to my eyee there actually was some and Neatvideo actually helped me a lot. Not perfect still long from. I don't even know if that is your problem but I think the only way to get it completely right is to reshoot and then figure out the perfect amount of light on the green screen compared to the talent. On my shoot I think my green screen was actually brigther and I read somewhere that Keylight likes the green screen several stops darker than the talent.

Messing around in After Effects and Premiere Pro

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Michael SzalapskiRe: Need advice on a key (frizzy, white hair)
by on Aug 18, 2014 at 9:23:07 pm
Last Edited By Michael Szalapski on Aug 18, 2014 at 9:23:50 pm

Light, frizzy hair is always difficult to key. Especially if you're shooting in a compressed format (like a DSLR).

You might try the demo of CC 2014 and try the new keying tools (specifically the Key Cleaner effect). There's even a handy animation preset that applies the new Key Cleaner Effect, Keylight, and the new Advanced Spill Suppressor effect with some expressions to make them all work together nicely. There is a video here [link] demonstrating it in use. If it works, great! You have a working solution for 30 days (and then a pretty low monthly fee to keep going with it).

Alternatively, try Ultra Key in Premiere. I've found it to do a pretty good job on shots where Keylight didn't do so well. I've always encouraged the art department-type folks to avoid using frizzy, light hair whenever possible though. ;)

Edit: I see Todd and I think alike on the new tools :)

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Todd KoprivaRe: Need advice on a key (frizzy, white hair)
by on Aug 18, 2014 at 9:20:10 pm

I'd use the new Refine Edge and/or Key Cleaner effects in After Effects. They're made for dealing with hair in tough shots like this.

I know that you said that you're using an old version, but you could just grab the 30-day free trial for the new version and use it for this shot (and others like it on your current job).

Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog

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Dave LaRondeRe: Need advice on a key (frizzy, white hair)
by on Aug 18, 2014 at 9:36:20 pm

I also see that the screen shot has the word "test" in it -- good for you for testing. The light level looks pretty good on the blue screen -- it isn't too bright, and keylight likes that.

Here are two things that will give you a better shot at pulling a good key:
Light that background as flat as possible. Currently, the lighting on the background drops off near the top of the shot.
Stretch that background out and remove creases, wrinkles, etc. which will remove darker portions where wrinkles can now be seen.

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

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Tim StonesiferRe: Need advice on a key (frizzy, white hair)
by on Aug 19, 2014 at 4:27:57 pm

Thanks for all the ideas! CC sounds good, and our department has talked about upgrading; however, I doubt it's in my cards for this project. I'm shocked, but the Ultra Key suggestion actually worked like a charm. I wasn't expecting a Premiere key plugin to work so well. This should give me a great launching point! Thank you.

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Geoffrey WeglarzRe: Need advice on a key (frizzy, white hair)
by on Aug 26, 2014 at 11:41:52 pm
Last Edited By Geoffrey Weglarz on Aug 26, 2014 at 11:47:53 pm

I Have the same problem. I have CC 2014 and have Keylight, Key Cleaner, and Advanced Spill Suppressor. I also have NeatVideo Noise Reduction. I have Premiere Pro CC 2014 as well and Ultra didn't work well. I also have Primatte Keyer from Red Giant and the BCC Keying plugins. I tried the recommendations for duping, pre comping, Luma matte, etc. but this HAIR IS KILLING ME.

One suggestion was to stay away from clip black and clip white in the screen matte section, but I can't find out another to balance the matte except for these methods. That's looking at Screen Matte and Status. Good flat green screen; evenly lit, not too bright, and no wrinkles. (Have to brighten talent in post)

Video shots are here is here:

and first part of



Geoffrey Weglarz

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Steve BrameRe: Need advice on a key (frizzy, white hair)
by on Aug 27, 2014 at 2:44:57 am

Have you given Spill Slayer a shot? They have a trial version.

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Geoffrey WeglarzRe: Need advice on a key (frizzy, white hair)
by on Aug 27, 2014 at 1:34:27 pm
Last Edited By Geoffrey Weglarz on Aug 27, 2014 at 1:37:56 pm

I have, and didn't work either.

I actually retried ultra in Premiere and it gave a decent result on the hair, but it still needed some spill suppression. I tried all of the spill supressors, and it came out OK. Got a pretty good key on the edges of the hair but ultra brought in a lot of noise around the mask.

Geoffrey Weglarz

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Geoffrey WeglarzRe: Need advice on a key (frizzy, white hair)
by on Aug 28, 2014 at 1:49:02 am

I ended up using Red Giant's Primatte Keyer in AE and it did a superb job. Thanks for all of the responses!


Geoffrey Weglarz

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