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Black Screen Keyer

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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 2, 2010 at 4:19:55 pm

Hello,
Please help me :
How to use Black Screen instead of Green screen for Chroma Keyer.
Thank you
Nhan


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Mark Suszko
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 2, 2010 at 4:21:50 pm

You call it a luminance key.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 2, 2010 at 9:07:41 pm

What Mark Suszko says.

It's very possible (and relatively easy) to create a matte on black. Hope you're shooting shiny/transparent things, or remaking Tron in 1980 and backlighting :-D. After that you can do a luma matte (key out darker). Or Walter has a great series on travel mattes as they are known in FCP:

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/biscardi_walter/FCPTravelMat1.php

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/biscardi_walter/FCPTravelMat2.php

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/biscardi_walter/FCPTravelMat3.php

Jeremy


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Zane Barker
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 2, 2010 at 4:31:05 pm

Why do you want to do black screen instead or green screen?

The purpose of green screen is so that you have a color that for the back ground that is not found anywhere else in the image. Using black instead of green or in some cases blue will only cause problems. Why and what problems? Shadows that's why. Say you have a person in the image that person is going to have shadows on their face. So if you were to key out black then are going to have parts of the persons face missing and it will show your new background on parts of the face.



Hindsight is always 1080p



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John Fishback
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 2, 2010 at 4:40:42 pm

I've tried this. Listen to Zane. You don't want to key on black. It's big trouble.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.8 QT7.6.4 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 3 (FCP 7.0.1, Motion 4.0.1, Comp 3.5.1, DVDSP 4.2.2, Color 1.5.1)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO & 192 Digital I/O, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Petteri Evilampi
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 2, 2010 at 4:50:40 pm

It works only with light- and bright-colored objects of very simple form and definitely not with a person. It is impossible to put lights so that there is no shadows in her/his face. If she/he for example opens mouth the result will be a hole through the head! And there are eyes with black in the middle and even nose has two dark holes... You should put many tiny little lamps in to the head! (And how do I know this? Because in my youth I was stupid enough to try this with a person, well, not quite a person but a human shaped object known as a politician. I was actually quite happy to make him sweat like a pig in those huge amounts of lighting!!)
Forged it and use green screen.


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Zane Barker
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 2, 2010 at 4:56:27 pm

Even if you could light a person so there were absolutly no shadows the image would look horable. Shadows are what give a image depth.



Hindsight is always 1080p



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Kevin Monahan
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 2, 2010 at 5:05:19 pm

Apply the Luma Key filter. Adjust settings to taste. Best of luck.

Kevin Monahan
60 Blu-ray Templates for Final Cut Studio 2009
http://www.fcpworld.com
Author - Motion Graphics and Effects in Final Cut Pro


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 3:08:12 am

[Petteri Evilampi] "If she/he for example opens mouth the result will be a hole through the head!"

You say that as though it were a bad thing...

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 2, 2010 at 5:05:56 pm

[Nhan Nguyen Dinh] "...How to use Black Screen instead of Green screen for Chroma Keyer...."

There is no good substitute for a green or blue screen. If there was a good substitute, everyone would use it.

Have you heard of such a thing? If you have, please let us know about it, because we would all like to avoid doing chroma keys if we could.

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


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Mark Suszko
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 2, 2010 at 5:56:24 pm

It could maybe work for a difference key. As would white in that case. But I think it would be more work than a good chromakey.

You older guys, have you ever seen some of the VFX shots done for the old "Captain Video" or similar B&W sci-fi serials? They used a kind of luma key in a process camera and darned if it didn't look pretty good, considering the time it was done.

Back in my junior high days we were still being trained to make titles using white type on black cards and luma-keying it.

...Why yes, I DO have an onion hanging on my belt.. :-)


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Ken Jones
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 2, 2010 at 6:08:29 pm

Back in my linear days we pulled some fantastic keys from "super black". In fact, Dave LaRonde spoke about it at length in 2008:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/202/878978


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 2, 2010 at 6:19:25 pm

[Ken Jones] "In fact, Dave LaRonde spoke about it at length in 2008..."

Yup, I sure did.

Ever see a camera that shoots super black? Good luck finding one.

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


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Jay Soriano
Re: what about white screen?
on Mar 2, 2010 at 10:12:51 pm

if shooting a video such as, "I'm a Mac/PC" commercial, would a white background be preferred over a greenscreen chromakey?


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John Fishback
Re: what about white screen?
on Mar 2, 2010 at 10:23:39 pm

You'll find folks on both sides of the fence with that one. Search the Cow here in FCP forum and also the Cinematography forum and you'll find a lot of discussion.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.8 QT7.6.4 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 3 (FCP 7.0.1, Motion 4.0.1, Comp 3.5.1, DVDSP 4.2.2, Color 1.5.1)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO & 192 Digital I/O, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 2, 2010 at 11:42:44 pm

Hello,
I am soory, I forgot to inform clearly my situation :
Usually, I work with Green Screen. But recently, I was travelling, so no green screen. I have shooted in midnight, a dark night. I lighted only my carracter, and the background is completly black.
Now i'm back and in front of my Mac Pro. I'd like to put different landscapes behind this carracter.
My question should be : How to key with that Black Screen ?
So please advise me.
Nhan


Cooki


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 2, 2010 at 11:45:47 pm

Have you ever heard of the term, "rotoscoping"?

You will probably have to do that to isolate your subject from the black background.

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


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 12:03:14 am

I am sorry, I have any experience about Keying, I know only using Green Screen. I don't know anything about Matte.
Best regard
Nhan

Cooki


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Michael Gissing
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 12:04:40 am


As was mentioned earlier, try a luma key.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 12:43:55 am

[Nhan Nguyen Dinh] "I don't know anything about Matte. "

Watch the tutorials I linked to earlier, that will give you an idea.

Where are you planning to pull the key? In FCP itself?


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Rich Rubasch
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 3:47:48 am

Another thing to try is to put your clip over a background and change the properties of the clip you want to key to "Screen" mode. This will filter out the black and leave luminance.

It's worth trying depending on what background you want them over.



Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production and Post
Owner/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 4:02:02 pm

Thank you, I'll try it
Nhan

Cooki


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 3:52:06 pm

Hi Jeremy,
I have watched the first link, it is very interesting, I'll continue to watch others.That give me a lot of knowledge. Thank you very much.
My real problem is :
I did'nt want to use black screen, but I was obliged, because I was very far from the "civilisation", I light my carracter with wooden fire light and my portable light !!!
So I'm looking for the solution : How to use that black blackground.
Best regards
Nhan

Cooki


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 3:23:14 pm

You seem to think that there is an easy alternative to chroma keying. THERE IS NOT AN EASY ALTERNATIVE TO CHROMA KEYING. If there was, everyone would use it.

A black screen keyer does not exist. The only alternatives now are things that you do by hand to separate the subject from the background. Final Cut Pro is not a good application for this. You should look at doing this in Motion or After Effects.

And you should also read this:

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 work.


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


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 3:58:39 pm

Hi Dave,
I must emphasize this :
During the shooting, I was very far from the "civilisation", no electricity, no facilities. I must shoot in night time. I light my carracter with wooden fire light and with my portable light !!!
My only problem is : How to use that black blackground ALREADY (accidentaly) shooted.
I post to all of you in hoping to receive some solutions in that particular technical situation.
Best regards
Cooki

Cooki


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 4:07:39 pm

[Nhan Nguyen Dinh] "I post to all of you in hoping to receive some solutions in that particular technical situation. "

I understand that. Now YOU must understand that there are no easy solutions, and that you probably won't be able to any of them in Final Cut Pro.

Since we know no details about the footage that you shot -- for example, we can see no image from the shot -- we can only assume the worst case.

This is why I tell you to start learning about rotoscoping. This is why I tell you to do this work in either Motion or After Effects. Final Cut Pro is NOT the tool for this job. Forget about Final Cut Pro.

Your task will be difficult, painstaking and very, VERY time-consuming.

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 4:15:38 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "Your task will be difficult, painstaking and very, VERY time-consuming. "

Agreed. This can be done in After effects, but it's going to be at the expense of some matte painting. Depending on your subject, it might take a while, or it might not.


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 4:25:28 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Agreed. This can be done in After effects, but it's going to be at the expense of some matte painting."

My own preference would be to do it in Shake. But this is where you get into personal preferences. Whatever program you're most comfortable using is the best one for you to do this in.

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 4:36:41 pm

[Arnie Schlissel] "Shake."

Oh, that old obsolete thing!? ;-D


Jeremy


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 5:03:27 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Oh, that old obsolete thing!? ;-D "

I start it with a hand crank!

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 4:52:33 pm

Hi Dave
Thank you for your advises. Up to now I use VeescopeKey which is marvelous, but not the Keyer of FCP. I am thinking if Veescopekey could help me.
Best regards
Nhan

Cooki


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 5:21:00 pm

[Nhan Nguyen Dinh] "I am thinking if Veescopekey could help me. "

If this plugin can't do a luminance key, then it probably won't help you. No matter what you use to key this video in FCP, if there are any dark portions in your shots, you will see holes in the key.

I keep telling you that there is no easy way to do this, and you refuse to believe it. You are about to get a rude awakening.

Good luck learning how do do rotoscoping and making garbage mattes. Perhaps next time you will think twice before you say to yourself, "There HAS to be an easy way to key off black."

I don't care if your only choice was to shoot against the night sky. You failed because you didn't test your theory BEFORE you shot the video. How hard is it to shoot a subject against the night sky? But you didn't, and now you face a lot of work.

You still think there is an easy way to do this? There isn't. And it is YOUR FAULT that you are in this situation, because you had your heart set on a certain shot, yet you didn't even have the common sense to see if you could do it.

As we say in English-speaking countries, "You made your bed, now lie in it."

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


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 5:42:06 pm

Hi Dave,
It's my fault, I forgot to inform that during the shooting I did'nt think to "play" with the black background. Only, once back home, when watching all takes on the screen, I notice a beautiful black behind my carracter, so I have had that (foolish) idea in hjoping to give my film more richness. (it would be worst, I know, but the main essential thing is to TRY, as American people TRIES to go to the moon, and they got it !)
I have the habit to collect the maximum of informations to see if my problem could be helped or not instead of surrounding before the fight, in front of the struggle. Even when things seems to be impossible !!!
Now, owing to you, I know it is impossible, but I don't regret for having tried it.
Best regards
Nhan

Cooki


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 6:22:37 pm

It is NOT impossible. It is most certainly very difficult, detailed, boring and time-consuming work, but not impossible.

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


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 5:21:33 pm

Hi Dave
I will try to find what is rotoscoping and try to study that as you suggest me.
May I send by email you one take of my shooting ? (I am in Paris)
Best regards
Nhan

Cooki


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 5:24:45 pm

You should post the picture here on the COW, so everyone can see it. You will get more ideas that way.

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


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 3, 2010 at 5:50:41 pm

You are right. How to do that. Please guide me (I shoot in DVCAM. Then FCP etc… )
Thank you
Nhan

Cooki


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Mark Suszko
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 4, 2010 at 12:47:47 am

Find a representative frame of your video in the timeline of Final Cut. mark the in and out point at the same place. Go to File> Export>Quicktime and choose "still". Name the still. save it to the computer's desktop. Come back here to this conversation, make a new comment. Where it says "Message", just above the comment box, is a row of small icons; find the third one from the right, that looks like the front of a little photo camera, if you hover your mouse pointer over it it will say "image upload". Click and follow the directions. Then we can all see it.

I have done rotoscoping using photoshop. It is tedious but CAN work, depends on how much work you want to put into it.

Some day soon, we'll not have to bother with chromakey any more, because 3d stereo cameras and software will allow us to pick a spot in the z-depth dimension of a shot, and automatically exclude all other things nearer or more distant in the shot, by how fuzzy the focus is, or by direct reading of exif data about the lens settings thru an encoder circuit and user bits/metadata on the recording. And you will be able to pull focus and "depth-key" (TM Mark Suszko, 3/3/2010) in post or live... I will predict in less than five years.

Which doesn't help your current problem, but it is something to look forward to:-)


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 4, 2010 at 1:10:04 am

Thank you so much Mark. I have still image. I'll do what you told me tomorrow, it is 2 o clock in the morning in my place now.
Best regards
Nhan

Cooki


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 4, 2010 at 1:48:01 am

Hi Mark, I can't wait after your message which is very clear and rich and gentle. So I send 2 images of my shooting after uploading
Thanks again
Nhan


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 4, 2010 at 1:53:53 am

Here is my image :
href='http://i1.creativecow.net/u/101954/nhantestblackbacground1.png'>

a href='http://i1.creativecow.net/u/101954/nhantestblackbackground2.png'>

Cooki


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 4, 2010 at 2:02:24 am

Nhan,

Sorry, but there's no chance at all of keying or rotoscoping this material. The flames simply make that impossible.

I doubt anyone here will disagree.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 4, 2010 at 2:08:08 am

Hi David,
Thanks for your comment.
Anyway, I have got a lot of knowledge from all of you.
Best regards
Nhan


Cooki


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Zane Barker
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 4, 2010 at 2:11:58 am

I agree compleatly. The fire and that dark hair make it imposible.



Hindsight is always 1080p



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Mark Suszko
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 4, 2010 at 2:44:43 am

You guys are right, it is mostly impossible, or at least impractical. Where the fire overlaps is the worst problem. If he wanted to play with it, "just for giggles", as we say, I would suggest this:

Select between 30 and 60 frames of the shot on your timeline, where no fire is in front of the woman, just the dark back behind her. Mark the in and out points on that 1 to 2 second clip. Using the same export dialog you just used to export the stills you've shown us, go to File>Export> and look for export as " Image sequence". I think it might be under "export using quicktime conversion".

This will export each frame of the one second section as a separate still image, they should all go into a folder. Use the tif or tga file extension.

Hide Final Cut, or save and close it.

Turn on Adobe Photoshop.

Find that folder you just made. In Photoshop, open the first image in that exported still image sequence. Play with adjusting contrast, brightness, etc. until she looks good and looks distinct from the black in the frame. Now, using the magic wand selection tool, or the manual selection tool, see if you can cut away the black from around the woman. Take your time, get it close and careful. When all the black has been cut away or erased away with the eraser, select the empty area with magic wand, then use the color fill bucket tool to fill it with white or better, chromakey green color. Save the image over itself (same name).

Now, ask yourself how you feel about doing that another 59 times, to make the two seconds. Zoot Alours! Probably you will use foul language, that's okay:-) Think about how long it may take you to treat the entire shot. You might take up drinking:-)

When the whole folder is processed, it can be re-imported into Final Cut, right over the spot where it was extracted from before, just be sure the still duration for your media bin is set to one frame only. From there, you can do conventional green screen you are already familiar with.

Now, there are tricks in Photoshop that will speed this process along quite a bit, automating much of the process, using recorded automated batch actions to treat the images, fiter them, and the "Extract" tool to speed drawing along the edge of the matte you're creating is wonderful... but I'm not going to lie to you, even with all of that, this is still going to be torture to accomplish, very tedious, the results only as good as how careful you are in the cutting-out phase. Probably just do 30 frames as a learning exercise and then abandon this effort once you've learned what you can and cannot get away with.

This is about all the help I can offer, Bon Chance, or however you say it in France. At least you learned what NOT to do in this case, and now can go on to make fresh new original mistakes:-)


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 4, 2010 at 2:50:27 am

Frankly Mark, I don't think it's worth spending a second to make that work. There's just no way that will ever be good enough to justify spending the time.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 4, 2010 at 3:03:40 am

I respect that analysis, David, I really do.

For me, it's not so bad; I've had to do it two or three times, occasionally even with success; once for an entire 30 second spot, where it was the way I applied the "animated cartoon" look I wanted, with the tools I had available. Some of the tries failed because my edges wouldn't be consistent enough and introduced distracting flickers, but in some cases that's part of the "cut-out look".

For some reason, I find roto like this very "zen": with a full ipod jamming, plenty of drinks and munchies at hand, a capacious bladder and a wacom tablet, I was able to crank out frames for hours without noticing it, just in a trance. But it certainly isn't for everyone.

I did a spot where the talent, in a medium closeup shot, had a HUGE mole on her upper lip, no kidding, the size of a US postage stamp, like Chaplin's mustache, but offset. I hand-painted an unholy number of frames for that, TWICE, using the paint operator in old Discreet Combustion, and it was a roaring success; for days the guys and client thought I was a voodoo wizard.

But do I want to do that every week? Heck no. It's like changing a diaper; you can get good and fast at it, but you'd rather not get so much practice:-)


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 4, 2010 at 3:49:18 am

Hello,
Even if the black screen can replace all tasks of green screen, in my case, it won't work :
when the character moves her arms, there are many BLACK shadows appearing on her body.
So, you are all quite right, that situation forces me to … surrend.
Thank you very much for the time you spent for me.
Best regards
Nhan

Cooki


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 4, 2010 at 4:17:22 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "There's just no way that will ever be good enough to justify spending the time. "

I agree 100%. Especially with that hair, you'd NEVER get a consistent look even with rotoscoping, which would be the only hope for this shot.

It's a hard lesson learned for the original poster. Perhaps he'll let his creativity shine in a great Plan B to salvage this video... one that doesn't require replacing the background.

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


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Nhan Nguyen Dinh
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on Mar 4, 2010 at 4:58:38 pm

HI Dave,
It's was not a hard lesson, on the contrary it was a very interesting lesson for me. First I dicovered how to import images on the forum from Mark, the need of study rotoscope and different techniques from you etc… I love learning and I feel less idiot each time. Second, I discovered different reactions, different feedbacks from all of you about my impossible question. Third : Creative Cow is a very great invention.
Dave, there is not at all salvage work, two takes I sent to you conform to the original script. Trying to exploit black screen was my fantasia during the post production.
Thanks all of you for your precious advises and informations.
Best regards
Nhan


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Caine Mitchell
Re: Black Screen Keyer
on May 6, 2010 at 5:25:35 am

Amen...

Mitch


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