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how to pull tricky key - thin dark lines on grey ?

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Daniel Crookshow to pull tricky key - thin dark lines on grey ?
by on Sep 25, 2009 at 8:37:42 am

hi people

I have some footage of a kite where the grade i want to use pushes the light grey sky pretty much to pure white, yet I want to preserve (and ideally enhance) the thin black lines of the strings. I'm having real difficulty working out a way to do this. Due to the graduation in the sky I can only pull a good key on a very small section at a time. I've tried all number of keys, mattes and blending modes. If it was only a few frames I'd probably start painting but the shot is almost a minute long !

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

I've attached a jpeg with the raw image, the intended grade + a hi-con to show the 'strings' and the graduated background that are there in the file.

cheers../daniel



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Dave LaRondeRe: how to pull tricky key - thin dark lines on grey ?
by on Sep 25, 2009 at 3:24:04 pm

[Daniel Crooks] "If it was only a few frames I'd probably start painting but the shot is almost a minute long ! "

Well, you did it so yourself, so you'll just have to suck it up and get busy.

Forget the key. You'll fail miserably. You'll probably have to use an AE blend mode like Multiply to put those strings back into the white sky after it's graded. You will have to do some rotoscoping, no doubt, to isolate those strings. Since those string are so thin, you're going to have troubles with jagged edges on those thin lines.

I don't know the details of how this shot evolved, but I can kind of guess at it: you either made a serendipitous discovery when you were shooting, or you saw a vision in your head of something, and you thought AE could work miracles to help you get it. If either is true, you shoud read this:


Dave's Stock Answer #2:

When you're out on a shoot, and you say, "we'll fix this in post" without knowing PRECISELY HOW you're going to fix it in post, don't shoot it! You'll only end up shooting it over again.

Since post typically costs three times the cost of production, fixing something in post is not a way to save money, but rather a way to spend more of it.

And, before you say "well fix it in post," always consider who's doing the work, especially if you're the one doing the editing.


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


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