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Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported

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joshua sandlerKeylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
by on Feb 9, 2010 at 7:41:57 pm

hey, At this point i am pretty versed in using Keylight for chroma keying, (in both SD & HD). So i am using it to pull a key from SD footage (shot on DVX) and i get a good key, definitely a dense matte, using a 2.5 pre-screen blurr, and exporting the result using Animation codec with RGB+Alpha. When i import it into FCP and compare it to the original (non-AEF Keyed) footage it is slightly more blurry/out of focus. Its not un-usable but definitely is kind of a bummer. Anyone can help me find a solution? Would be HUGE!

thanks

joshua sandler


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Dave LaRondeRe: Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
by on Feb 9, 2010 at 7:54:21 pm

Got your field order straight in AE?

Also, try putting EVERYTHING into a new ProRes edit timeline, and seeing what it looks like.

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


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joshua sandlerRe: Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
by on Feb 11, 2010 at 4:20:35 am

Dave do you know any good resources for troubleshooting field order? the footage is 60i DV NTSC. I didn't make any adjustments to the field dominance because i have never had to in after effects, but would love to learn how to get a crisp output of this footage. where exactly do i adjust the field order?

Also you mean put it into a ProRes edit timeline in Final Cut?

thanks a lot!

josh


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David JohnsonRe: Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
by on Feb 9, 2010 at 8:26:08 pm

Maybe I misunderstood something, but your post seems to contradict it's subject ("Animation" vs. "DV"). One of the things I hate most about DV is that it is always relatively "blurry/out of focus" ... especially DV25 (vs. DV50).

Either way, as Dave L. suggests, checking field order is a good place to start ... both the import interpretation and the output module settings.


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Steve RobertsRe: Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
by on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:38:30 pm

... and keep in mind that you're re-rendering your Animation footage by placing it into a sequence using another codec in FCP, so your RT settings may be affecting the clip. Try exporting your comparison out of FCP and see what that looks like.

And yes, check field order. Should be lower first for interlaced DV. If it were shot progressive, field sep should be "none", otherwise AE will mess up the footage just a little bit.



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joshua sandlerRe: Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
by on Feb 11, 2010 at 4:39:03 am

yes steve i was thinking the re-render of the animation codec in FCP could be a problem. I did try doing a comparison export and it is consistant with how it looks in FCP: the animation codec footage from AE looks slightly more blurry than the original DVNTSC footage in Final Cut.

My Footage was shot 60i. Now that i think about it it seems like that is probably the issue. Most of the other footage i have keyed in AE has been progressive and i have never had this issue before... To clarify should I be adjusting the field order in FCP prior to keying it in AE, or should i be doing it in AE? I do this by using a de-interlacing filter? If you know any resources that can help me better understand how to approach this issue i would would a huge help. Thanks a lot!

josh


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Dave LaRondeRe: Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
by on Feb 11, 2010 at 4:48:21 pm

[joshua sandler] "To clarify should I be adjusting the field order in FCP prior to keying it in AE, or should i be doing it in AE?"

First, you have to KNOW the proper field order for your footage. For NTSC DV, it's lower field first.

In FCP, confirm that field order for the clip in the Browser and in the Edit timeline settings, and change as necessary. Incidentally, FCP incorrectly refers to field order as field dominance.
  • DO NOT DEINTERLACE!!!
  • It's unnecessary, and it degrades the image.

    People have been keying interlaced footage for about 40 years now. What makes you think you can't do it successfully, too? Okay, DV footage puts you at a disadvantage, but that's because of DV's lousy color resolution, not interlacing.

    In AE, confirm the field separation is correct in the Interpret footage settings, File>Interpret>Main. Then RENDER -- using the AE Render Queue and not the Export command -- as lower field first. You set that in the Render Settings. You should also read up in AE Help about the Render Queue. It's extremely useful, and you're missing the boat if you don't take advantage of it.

    I mentioned a ProRes Edit timeline because the DV codec treats carefully-crafted motion graphics the way a baby treats a diaper. It's especially tough on DV footage that it has to re-compress. ProRes is much better.

    I don't know who told you to pull the key in AE and put it over a background in FCP, but they're so full
    of a certain gooey, brown, stinky substance that their eyes turned brown. Do the whole shot in AE! Then you can color correct so subject and background look like they belong together. You can add fake shadows to help sell the reality of the shot. You can add light wrap to more convincingly incorporate subject and background. And you don't have to render footage with an alpha channel: you can render the completed shot.



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


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    joshua sandlerRe: Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
    by on Feb 13, 2010 at 11:23:33 pm

    Dave thank you so much for this Amazing response. I am drinking a beer at the moment, but tomorrow morning i am going to play around with the footage per your instructions and will get back to you with my results. Thanks for breaking it down so comprehensively.

    yes i know there are limitations to Keying DV footage, but that is ok. this is an experimental short film project, and a sort of "sloppy" look will not detract from it. that is why i can live with the sometimes imperfect edges you get to keys of DV footage. that being said, the Footage being as sharp as possible is really important to me.

    I have not been in this field for that long, and most of what i know is self taught. I have worked at a few editing houses but honestly have learned a lot, especially about compression and exporting through my own research. the reason i thought to Key in AE and compose in FCP is the I have a lot of experience with composition in Final Cut, and know how to color correct with the 3-way color corrector like the back of my hand. I have never done a larger composition in AE, which is why I assumed i would just do it in FCP, but maybe this would be a good opportunity to give it a go. I have Colorista which is an amazing color corrector, especially with its ability to do vignetting. Honestly I've only been using After Effects for 7 months and don't really have the confidence yet to do a larger composition in it. But Dave you really think there is an advantage to composing the whole thing in AE rather than FCP? Also, What is a "light wrap?" I know how to use adjustment lights if that is what it involves...

    thanks again Dave for your thorough response. I really appreciate it!


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    joshua sandlerRe: Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
    by on Feb 13, 2010 at 11:34:55 pm

    Dave thank you so much for this Amazing response. I am drinking a beer at the moment, but tomorrow morning i am going to play around with the footage per your instructions and will get back to you with my results. Thanks for breaking it down so comprehensively.

    yes i know there are limitations to Keying DV footage, but that is ok. this is an experimental short film project, and a sort of "sloppy" look will not detract from it. that is why i can live with the sometimes imperfect edges you get to keys of DV footage. that being said, the Footage being as sharp as possible is really important to me.

    I have not been in this field for that long, and most of what i know is self taught. I have worked at a few editing houses but honestly have learned a lot, especially about compression and exporting through my own research. the reason i thought to Key in AE and compose in FCP is the I have a lot of experience with composition in Final Cut, and know how to color correct with the 3-way color corrector like the back of my hand. I have never done a larger composition in AE, which is why I assumed i would just do it in FCP, but maybe this would be a good opportunity to give it a go. I have Colorista which is an amazing color corrector, especially with its ability to do vignetting. Honestly I've only been using After Effects for 7 months and don't really have the confidence yet to do a larger composition in it. But Dave you really think there is an advantage to composing the whole thing in AE rather than FCP? Also, What is a "light wrap?" I know how to use adjustment lights if that is what it involves...

    thanks again Dave for your thorough response. I really appreciate it!


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    Dave LaRondeRe: Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
    by on Feb 15, 2010 at 4:04:16 pm

    [joshua sandler] "What is a "light wrap?""

    Here's a whole tutorial on the subject:
    http://library.creativecow.net/articles/dewar_john/light_spill.php

    The guy even shot DV. Who cares if it uses an older version of AE? The principles still apply.

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


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    joshua sandlerRe: Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
    by on Feb 15, 2010 at 4:53:41 pm

    Hey Dave, So in Final Cut, it tells me that my "field dominance" is Lower (Evan)... since my only other options are Upper (odd) and None... I left it at Lower even and exported a clip in thee DVNTSC codec. here is my problem now, in AE it does not give me the option of choosing File>Interpret>Main... I don't know why but it is not 'highlightable. Any idea why? Anyway, aside from that i understand your instructions for rendering, and yes i am very comfortable using the render cue. i took an amazing AE class where my teacher stressed on a daily basis the importance and advantages to using the render cue, and i use it every time i do an export.

    Also, if i were to try editing in a ProRes timeline in FCP, should i use Apple ProRes 422 or Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)?



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    Dave LaRondeRe: Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
    by on Feb 15, 2010 at 5:27:20 pm

    I have no clue why AE says that. All I can think is that you still have the deinterlace filter on the clip in FCP. If you do, get rid of that piece of junk, and then re-export. Make sure you've done NOTHING to the footage other than set in & out points, or FCP's going to re-render in DV, making your footage instantly uglier.

    You may simply have to turn your machine off for a while, too. It solves a lot of problems.


    Unless you're working with RED footage, ProRes HQ is overkill. For you, regular ProRes is just fine.

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


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    joshua sandlerRe: Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
    by on Feb 15, 2010 at 6:01:45 pm

    Hey Thanks, I figured out why i could not select Interpret footage >main. You actually need to have the source video clip selected in the browser. Kind of a silly mistake on my part:/ Anyway, so in the render cue. for an animation export, the field render has been set to: "none". I am assuming i should change that to "lower first?" I am hoping this is the problem. And no i never applied a de-interlace filter in FCP. I am going to make sure than when i did my export from FCP for keying in AE that it isn't interlacing it.


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    joshua sandlerRe: Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
    by on Feb 11, 2010 at 4:16:11 am

    It is DV NTSC footage shot at 60i on the DVX. I imported it into a DVNTSC time line, keyed it using keylight and than exported it in the aimation codec with an alpha channel because that was what was recommended to me for best results for green screening. That is pretty much the extent of my knowledge. Everybody seems to be suggesting that it may be a problem related to the field order. I am going to look into this now. If anyone knows a good resource to learn more about this i would be really appreciative.



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    Jon BaggeRe: Keylight'd DV footage slightly out of focus when exported
    by on Feb 10, 2010 at 9:33:19 pm

    Another possibility is AE applying sub-pixel positioning to your footage. This will happen if you place your layer on an odd or decimal position. Can also happen if your layer has odd numbered dimensions.

    The result will be very slightly soft. Not really very noticable, but I've noticed it when doing straight Avid-AE-Avid keying jobs.



    --------------
    Jon Bagge
    Editor - London, UK
    Avid - FCP - After Effects


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