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Keying out bad greenscreen

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Paco Sweetman
Keying out bad greenscreen
on Mar 3, 2010 at 9:39:19 pm

If anyone has any pointers on how to deal with these monstrosity's of shots then I would love to know.

I'm gonna composite some shots of fields and ponies behind the two characters. It's supposed to look Lo-Fi, and old. I'm going to turn it to black and white as well once I've finished all of the compositing.

http://i972.photobucket.com/albums/ae201/attackopaco/SNFkeypossible02.jpg

http://i972.photobucket.com/albums/ae201/attackopaco/SNFkeypossible01.jpg

I know it's gonna look quite crap, but I'd like to salvage something out of it.
Thanks for reading and any expertise or processes you can suggest.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Keying out bad greenscreen
on Mar 3, 2010 at 9:51:31 pm

Sorry, I have no advice on salvaging anything that bad. You won't be able to pull a chroma key -- there are simply too many things wrong with it -- but you can try rotoscoping. You'll still have to correct for overexposure, and there is simply NO detail in those blown-out areas.

If crap's okay with you, go for it.

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


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Paco Sweetman
Re: Keying out bad greenscreen
on Mar 3, 2010 at 9:57:36 pm

Maybe key out as much green as possible and then rotoscope the rest. I don't mind putting in the work. I'm only learning AE, so I'm into a challenge.

Fact is, all the keying tutorials use the best greenscreen footage that you could possibly get, so it's hard to know what to do when it's awful. Thanks for your suggestions though.

Paco



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Dave LaRonde
Re: Keying out bad greenscreen
on Mar 3, 2010 at 10:02:41 pm

[Paco Sweetman] "Maybe key out as much green as possible and then rotoscope the rest."

That's an exercise in futility. The whole idea behind doing green screen work is to get clean, accurate edges on the subject. You can't; there aren't any, and you'd only be able to key out the darker portions of the green screen... big deal. So you might as well roto the whole shot.

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


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Keying out bad greenscreen
on Mar 3, 2010 at 10:22:24 pm

[Paco Sweetman] "...all the keying tutorials use the best greenscreen footage that you could possibly get."


No they don't.

Here's one and here's another that both talk about not-so-great screens.

You also might try this tutorial by Aharon Rabinowitz to see if it helps.

However, I don't think your footage will work no matter what. You're going to have to rotoscope unless you don't mind it looking reeeeeeally cheesy and bad.

It would be much better to reshoot. I've never seen a green screen lit so poorly. Besides, even if you pulled a perfect key, the images are waaaaay overexposed and will still look bad.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Jon Bagge
Re: Keying out bad greenscreen
on Mar 5, 2010 at 11:37:03 pm

A note about making things look 'bad'. I don't know if this particular example was deliberately shot bad or just badly shot, but in general:

If you want it to look 'bad', shoot it well and make it look bad in post. That way you can control the 'badness' much better. Sometimes really bad is just too bad to look convincingly bad.

And whatever you do, never ever shoot bad audio no matter what you want it to end up sounding like.



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


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Paco Sweetman
Re: Keying out bad greenscreen
on Mar 6, 2010 at 2:30:34 pm

I'm not American Mr. LaRonde.

Believe it or not there is other countries in the world.

And yes it was shot very badly, but not by somebody who thought that this was the best way to do it. By someone who had access to little money or little equipment. Not everybody works for a TV station with access to unlimited equipment.

It's all a learning curve Dave. Try and remember when you were young and had aspirations and made mistakes.



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Sylvia Porter
Re: Keying out bad greenscreen
on May 25, 2010 at 8:56:27 am

Paco,

I've keyed the first pic...with the two actors. And honestly the edges are actually quite clean. However, the actor who is moving obviously will be difficult to separate from the background without microsurgery on the background (at least with this pic). The other actor (on the right) has some green splotches in his shirt, which no matter what will be transparent...again, you can perform a little surgery on those spots (change the colors of some pixels)...it will work. As for the second shot (with the one actor) I'd suggest using a couple of Three-way color corrector applications to get the color of the green screen separated from his hair, and get the green shades to match as much as possible. There's also a line behind him. Work on that in Photoshop, or After Effect...get rid of that line. Then you will be able to key it, with several applications of the Chroma Key. These aren't going to be excellent keys...but they are doable as stills...though changing frames will present its own set of issues. The amount of time that you put into it will come back to you with a profound understanding of what to do next time for a cleaner keyable background, but also how to master (not just use superficially) the tools available in Premiere and other applications.

And good for you, in doing something like this. You'll learn a lot more than you would in any college class or tutorial on keying, if you work on this and actually stick it out to the end with intelligent attention to the capacities of each tool.

Okay, I actually just keyed both stills, and the only real problem was the one actors combing arm. Other than that, and the green in the shirt, perfect. This is not to say that in a moving video, it would be the same, but if your goal is a little bit cheezy, I'm sure it would be cheezier than a news broadcast.

Oh, also garbage matte out as much as you can before you start keying (meaning put your garbage matte over your chroma keys)...you may have to key frame that matte and that's a little bit of work too. But if you have the time, go for it.

I also think that if all someone can say is "you can't do it," they should really not bother responding to a post. I see that way too often.


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Sylvia Porter
Re: Keying out bad greenscreen
on May 27, 2010 at 9:23:09 am

Also, when I say "put your garbage matte over..." I mean apply it to the images first.


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Sylvia Porter
Re: Keying out bad greenscreen
on May 27, 2010 at 9:20:59 am

Yeah, Paco..I worked on this with another technique last night and within less than ten minutes had a perfect key...and I do mean perfect. Since this is an old post and seems there isn't much interest I'll wait to see if I will outline the procedure.


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Paco Sweetman
Re: Keying out bad greenscreen
on May 27, 2010 at 2:25:23 pm

Thank you Sylvia, I had kind of given up on this post. But I hadn't given up on the two videos I wanted to do!!

I have finished one of them (the easier one to key-out) and have been saving the other one to do at another time.

After reading your post, I believe that time is now. If you have time to do it, please do go into specifics of how you managed it. I would be very interested to know.
And thank you for such a positive response. Not everyone can afford tons of lights or a brilliant green screen to work with.

Paco



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