keying out a horrible white background
I'm pretty sure that when you plan to key out a white background you need to make sure the white is the lightest highlight in the shot.
Well the budget camera guy who filmed the footage I am currently working on must've forgotten that because the figures share a lot of the same highlights as the BG (they're wearing white clothes and shiny jewelry) and thus are full of holes when I try to key the background out. I would leave the background in but the budget lighting guy did a pretty bad job with the lights and the whole thing in uneven.
So the background definitely needs to go.
Now it's up to me (the budget post production artist) to somehow key out the background. I know the basics of keylight and primatte but no matter what I do the girls have holes in them. I've been watching tutorials like a fiend but they all only cover the basics. I need some advanced keying magic and FAST. If anyone has any knowledge or knows where I can find a tutorial that covers advanced keying I would be so grateful.
I really don't want to have to key 103 clips.
is there any difference between your actors and the background? Because if everything is white... eh... well there is no way to tell AE which parts it should make transparent in an automated way.
It sounds really problematic.
Can you post an image of a frame, so we can see how bad it is?
What a mess. Shoot on a white background when you want a white background. If you want to remove the background you should shoot on either a green or blue background. Preferably an evenly lit green or blue background.
-budget camera guy
-budget lighting guy
-budget post production artist
I see a pattern here and the possible cause of the problem. In an effort to save money the producer has pulled the purse strings so tight that there's not a single person on the crew that understands the keying process. Hindsight being 20/20 if the producer had been willing to pay the full rate for a DP with experience then you wouldn't be in this mess right now. At the end of the day you get what you paid for.
"I would leave the background in but the budget lighting guy did a pretty bad job with the lights and the whole thing in uneven." - Eddy Rose
Adding a soft feathered white solid (vignette) might help smooth out poor lighting on the edges of the frame. But if the gaffer did a poor job in general there's not a lot you can do to "fix it in post" as the low budget producers like to say.
This producer is looking for something he can't afford. He needs to pay you more or go away.
Your solution is rotoscoping, but it should cost him.
It's tons more expensive to fix things in post if they're not done right in production...
- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')
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[Eddy Rose] "I'm pretty sure that when you plan to key out a white background you need to make sure the white is the lightest highlight in the shot. "
Oh, I feel your pain, ma'am.
That bargain-basement photographer should be forced to do the keying. After several days, you could remove him or her, raving and drooling, from your workstation for the trip to the funny farm, never more to plague effects people.
[Eddy Rose] "...the figures share a lot of the same highlights as the BG... and thus are full of holes when I try to key the background out..."
You might be able to use those holes to your advantage. Pull the key, holes and all. Then use the Matte Choker effect to choke the matte back a little bit. Precomp it and use it as an Inverted Alpha Matte for the original footage to reinsert those keyed-out portions into the composited shot. You may have to animate garbage masks to remove unwanted portions of this matte, but it might help a lot.
It won't be fun, it will be more time-consuming, which is a big deal for 109 clips, but you might be able to get through the ordeal. Good Luck.
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA
Wow everyone thanks for the great response!
So I was looking over the footage for some shots to post and I realized maybe the background isn't totally unusable in a lot of these shots,, it just has a lot of shadows around the edges and seriously needs to be evened out from shot to shot. I think the perfectionist in me was just so dead set on having the background be exactly the same from shot to shot that I became fixated on keying out each and every clip. But I guess sometimes compromise is the best option,
Wieger de Leur - You're right, with a 3d keyer like primatte, a pixel color can either be opaque, spill, semi trans, or trans. No amount of keying magic will make it so a pixel color is opaque in the foreground and trans in the BG.
Gary Hazen - Lol looks like you solved the mystery of the low budget music video. I think I really needed to accept that this wasn't going to be a masterpiece and try working with the background. Adding a vignette around the edges should help with the nasty shadows and some color correction will be required to get the BG to even from shot to shot.
Michael Szalapski - agreed. If they don't like an inconsistent BG we can talk about rotoscoping. But there is NO WAY I will do that for free, rotoscoping should NEVER be done for free. In fact as we speak I am questioning a "rotoscoping internship" in the no pay forum.
Dave LaRonde - Wow, you always have these great solutions, how do you do it? I made this really sweet bass responsive smoke/ribbon effect Trapcode Form that I want to put behind the girls, so there will still be some shots I'm going to insist on keying. Your idea sound like a great way to tackle the tougher shots w/o rotoscoping. I can't wait to try it,, I'll let you know how it goes.
I'm going to post some shots around 6/7ish if anyone want to see what I've done using their advice or just have a good laugh at some low budget dancers.