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Keying Out Non-Green Screen Footage

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Lillian YoungKeying Out Non-Green Screen Footage
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 3:41:13 pm

I have to key out an actor against a grey set with a gradient tone. For the most part, the set is almost white, then toward the bottom, it becomes dark and there's a floor.

By looking, I thought the actor was already keyed as a sample! So in prepping for this (as I don't key often -- once a year maybe), I only studied tutorials on keying against green. Now I'm in a panic.

My Software Tools:

AE CS4 with Keylight
Red Giant Primatte Keyer Pro
Red Giant Key Correct Pro

Please direct me :)


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Dave LaRondeRe: Keying Out Non-Green Screen Footage
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 3:58:17 pm

[Lillian Young] "I have to key out an actor against a grey set with a gradient tone... Now I'm in a panic. "

As well you should be. You can't do a chroma key because there's no chroma. You can't do a luminance key because there's no definite black or white. Your remaining option is to roto the actor out.

It sounds like someone else provided you with this footage. This third party needs to read the following:

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.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

See the part about "three times the cost"? You either have to charge the client more to rectify his or her very bad idea of a good chroma key background, or you have to eat the added expense of roto work yourself.

Or... this could be re-shot, using a PROPER chroma key background, with GOOD lighting for chroma key, and on a decent camera -- DV and HDV cameras do not qualify. A Panasonic P2 camera, with the footage captured as DVCPro HD, would qualify.

Why? DV and HDV have god-awful color resolution. Since Chroma Keys depend on accurate color to do a good job, that's pretty important. And since you don't have a ton of chroma keying experience, you owe it to yourself to watch the following video Podcast, which uses DV instead of HDV as the "bad" example:

http://macbreak.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=70596

I'm not trying to be a wet blanket: facts are facts. You got handed a seemingly-simple task which is actually quite complex. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

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


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Lillian YoungRe: Keying Out Non-Green Screen Footage
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 4:18:38 pm

Thank you. You are always a life saver when I post my inquiries.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Keying Out Non-Green Screen Footage
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 4:25:18 pm

I don't know if saved any lives... depending on your client's grasp on reality, my advice could have lost you a gig.

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


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Aaron PriceRAW Red Camera Footage
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 4:37:54 pm

Mr. LaRonde,

I am trying to find some RAW footage from a Red camera. I was reading some forums and keep coming across your name. Is there any way you could put me in touch with a 15 minute section of RAW footage? We are a storage provider working with a client and need to do some testing and that will be the type of cameras that are to be used but are not acquired yet.

I do not want to alter the footage in any way, just store it using our solution and then provide it back in the same format.

Thank you for any help you can give me!


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Dave LaRondeRe: RAW Red Camera Footage
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 5:06:01 pm

I bet you got the email by now.....

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


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Dave LaRondeOooh! Oooh! I almost forgot!
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 4:40:45 pm

IF you DO get DVCPro HD footage, or DVCPro 50 footage (standard-def, just as good) and you're on a Windows box, you'll have to buy a codec for your machine. $150. It works with Quicktime Pro. I forget its name, but I figure you can google using Windows and DVCPro and codec as search terms as easily as I can.

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


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Lillian YoungRe: Oooh! Oooh! I almost forgot!
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 5:56:35 pm

Thanks, but I'm using a Mac Pro and MBP. The footage should be HDV, but I'll confirm.

I can't install anything on the company's computer, but I think I have all that I need on my own equipment.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Oooh! Oooh! I almost forgot!
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 9:53:43 pm

[Lillian Young] "The footage should be HDV, but I'll confirm. I can't install anything on the company's computer, but I think I have all that I need on my own equipment."

Good. But just to be safe, you may want the client to convert the HDV video to a quicktime movie in either PNG (the codec, not the image sequence) Or Animation set to best quality -- huge files, but lossless.

AE does not play nice AT ALL with HDV video that is still in its acquisition codec, and it's a right royal pain to convert it if you don't have the specialized HDV acquisition codecs to do so.

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


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Lillian YoungRe: Keying Out Non-Green Screen Footage
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 5:47:49 pm

Here's the footage



<a href='http://img339.imageshack.us/i/nongreenscreenkeybkgdon.jpg/'><img src='http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/1897/nongreenscreenkeybkgdon.jpg' border='0' alt='Image Hosted by ImageShack.us'/></a><br/>



You just confirmed that it's not just me. They are aware of the production error, so I'll do my best.

I think that Red Giant's Primatte Keyer Pro tool will serve me best because it allows the precise selection of a range of colors. So where the colors vary, I'll re-sample until all of the gradient has dissolved....I guess!



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Jim DodsonRe: Keying Out Non-Green Screen Footage
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 6:02:43 pm

This might just do the trick...
It's a tutorial for sky replacement -- but the principles are the same for your conundrum...
hope it helps...

http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/advanced_sky_replacement/


Jim Dodson

8 Core Intel -- Mac - OSX


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Dave LaRondeRe: Keying Out Non-Green Screen Footage
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 8:21:29 pm

[Lillian Young] "Primatte Keyer Pro tool will serve me best because it allows the precise selection of a range of colors. So where the colors vary, I'll re-sample until all of the gradient has dissolved...."

...okay, but don't be surprised if you eventually resort to rotoscoping. Good Luck!

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


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Chris WrightRe: Keying Out Non-Green Screen Footage
by on Dec 16, 2009 at 9:41:03 pm

I don't think a normal keyer will work, but Primatte with plug holes set really high worked good. Almost everything on a person is grey...try my saturation project. turn off the blur and see if you can get a good track matte from it. Also, another option, autotrace will keep groups of color selected.


http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/50/857313

http://technicolorsoftware.hostzi.com/


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