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Best file formats for keying in After Effects?

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Caroline Luz
Best file formats for keying in After Effects?
on Dec 20, 2010 at 7:48:39 pm

Hello All,

I'm aware that file formats not ideal for keying include: Native HDV, DV, MPEG1, MPEG2, mp4, m2t, H.261 or H.264. What other file formats should make me run for the hills?

I also understand that the more uncompressed the file is, the better. But these days, what are the preferred file formats to be delivered for keying? Apple ProRes, DVC HD Pro?

Thanks in advance*


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Walter Soyka
Re: Best file formats for keying in After Effects?
on Dec 20, 2010 at 8:05:33 pm

[Caroline Luz] "I'm aware that file formats not ideal for keying include: Native HDV, DV, MPEG1, MPEG2, mp4, m2t, H.261 or H.264... I also understand that the more uncompressed the file is, the better. But these days, what are the preferred file formats to be delivered for keying? Apple ProRes, DVC HD Pro?"

It's not just the delivery format -- it's the acquisition format, too. Acquiring on HDV and transcoding to ProRes does not fix the original HDV artifacts which complicate keying.

I generally ask for the original camera files. In an FCP edit where camera originals have already been transcoded to ProRes, I'd take the ProRes files if it would help the editor's workflow.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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Caroline Luz
Canon EOS 5D Mark II - use for chroma key?
on Dec 21, 2010 at 5:24:17 am

I'm having an issue with green screen footage shot using the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. The lighting is okay, but when I create a key, the combined matte / screen matte detail shows messy pixelated edges, blotchy hair detail, etc. I can't get a clean key. Is this is happening because the 5D compresses heavily at h.264? I'm a seasoned chroma key gal, just not familiar with this camera / footage provided to me.

I've researched the 5D online and have seen medium shots keyed beautifully with 5D footage. The footage I'm working with is wide-shot, and is not keying well at all. It even looks blurry. Would the KeyerForDv plug-in help combat this HD issue?

Thanks as always*


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Best file formats for keying in After Effects?
on Dec 21, 2010 at 1:45:01 am

See "Shooting and acquiring footage for color keying" for lots of advice and links to relevant articles and such.

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
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Caroline Luz
Re: Best file formats for keying in After Effects?
on Dec 21, 2010 at 5:22:08 am

An issue I'm having is with green screen footage shot using the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. The lighting is okay, but when I create a key, the combined matte / screen matte detail shows messy pixelated edges, blotchy hair detail, etc. I can't get a clean key. Is this is happening because the 5D compresses heavily at h.264? I'm a seasoned chroma key gal, just not familiar with this camera / footage provided to me.

I've researched the 5D online and have seen medium shots keyed beautifully with 5D footage. The footage I'm working with is wide-shot, and is not keying well at all. It even looks blurry. Would the KeyerForDv plug-in help combat this HD issue?

I've also found mixed reviews on whether or not the 5D was good for chroma keying. Any input?

Thanks as always*


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Best file formats for keying in After Effects?
on Dec 21, 2010 at 10:05:04 am

H.264 uses lossy compression (specifically one of the more modern MPEG compression schemes, from MPEG-4, part 10). It's a well designed codec for throwing away just the information that the human eye and brain don't care about, so the images still look good to us, but a lot of the information that compositing software cares about is gone.

It's better than DV or HDV, but it's still not as good as you might like for color keying work.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Alex Badila
Re: Best file formats for keying in After Effects?
on Mar 20, 2011 at 3:37:14 pm

Hi. I saw the post about H264 Codec(Canon DSLR MK2) and chromakey.
But Nikon using File Format .MOV, and Video compression H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding, can edit chromakey or is like Canon MK2? Canon MK2 I think use File Format MP4 and video compression H264.
H264 Codec compression is no good to chromakey any format(mp4, mov)?
Iwant to use Nikon d3100 or d7000 for chromakey. Which DSLR who record full hd is good for chromakey?
There is specification for nikon d31000 and d7000.
http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/lineup/digitalcamera/slr/d3100/sp...
http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/lineup/digitalcamera/slr/d7000/sp...

And Conon MK2 (I saw Mov, but not specification about compression)
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:f5hJuSbXU_4J:http://ww...


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Jeremy Steel
Re: Best file formats for keying in After Effects?
on Feb 10, 2011 at 4:55:09 am

Caroline,

I've experienced great results with 550D (aka T2i) footage (same compression as the 5D) and marginal results. The great results have come when I've transferred the footage on import in FCP with Pro Res or AIC. When I bring in the native/original H.264 QT file to a PC I get results like what you have described above. I know this doesn't answer your question but hopefully it helps point in a more promising direction.

Best,

Jeremy Steel


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Benjamin Bode
Re: Best file formats for keying in After Effects?
on Jun 30, 2011 at 5:41:45 pm

Hey guys, one thing to consider when keying with the DSLRs is their color subsampling. The DSLR's all the way up to the 5Dii sample color at 4:2:0, which can result in some really blocky keys on the edges. Here's a great tut that explains:





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Darko Djeric
Re: Best file formats for keying in After Effects?
on Apr 18, 2012 at 4:21:19 pm

Hi,

it may be opposite to what other mentioned earlier,
but I do lots of green screen and 7d and 5d dslr cameras
have given me the most amasing results,
in fact I woudn't use anything else for many reasons(maybe Scarlet).

Green screen is tricky,in fact very tricky
area,I only appriciated it now after doing it extensivly for many years,pulled keys since old dv days with Xl1 and gs400.

If your screen and subject is lit correctly,you will pull great key even from mobile phone camera,how to do this it will take you years to master when setting up more advanced scenes.

As for the 5D,you have the one of the best tools for the job and 7d respectivly,with right lens selection and professionaly lit screen
you can shoot Hollywood blockbusters even in its h.264 format without need even to trancod to pro res if you have fast PC
and Sony Vegas 10 or 11.

My 2 cents.


"Master is the one who made most mistakes"


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