Even though I started shooting and editing video some 10 years ago – I can honestly say that I still have a lot to learn. The “learning” part of my craft has been non-stop. I continue to learn as technology constantly pushes us all in that direction. But I love it. I love raising my bar every chance I get. And these days, even though the learning curve may be steep in certain aspects of video production – it’s also a lot easier to access information and help than it was 10 years ago. Again – thanks to the volumes of information online – at the click of a button.
I love the editing process of video production because this is really where I craft the story. I can get totally lost in the story and how I can mold that in whatever direction I choose in the edit room. But I’m not a professional editor and I have the utmost respect for what a pro brings to this part of the process. So I lay down my rough cut – to get the storyline down and then hand it off to a pro to take it to the next level.
I’m editing a recent shoot that was quite challenging on all accounts. A lot of what was shot, was shot on “green screen”. Green screen or “chroma key” is the process of removing a background color, – green for video – blue for film – so that the “subject” or “object” can be placed into another background in post. There is a lot of info out there on green screens so I won’t go into it in depth, but the biggest thing you need to know is how to properly shoot green screen so you won’t have a major melt down in post – or won’t have to spend a fortune for an editor to clean up your mistakes.
A couple of tips for shooting on green screen:
• Turn off edge enhancements or sharpening in Picture Profiles – in camera menu
• Create a new Green screen Picture Profile w/o sharpening
• Keep subject lighting off background
• Keep background lighting off subject
• Keep green screen as far away from subject as possible
• Minimize seams, wrinkles, folds
• Even out your green screen lighting within 1/2 stop
• Brightness level should be about one stop under key light on your subject.
• Light your subject complimentary to your inserted background
• Don’t use dimmers – changes color temp toward red – not good for keying
• Create an edge or separation light – keep it subtle!!
• Watch out for reflective objects and surfaces (CAR SURFACE) that can pick up green screen
So if you’ve successfully shot a good clean composition as described above – then of course you need to put things together in post. This used to be a tedious process and would involve a lot of work in post production. But thanks to some incredible plug-ins available – you can get a pretty amazing “key” without a lot of hours in the editing room.
I found a product that really helped me out. DVmatte Blast and DVmatte Pro from www.dvgarage.com. These plug-ins will work inside Final Cut Pro as well as Motion. I chose to work within Final Cut. I was amazed by not only how easy it was to use but by the price as well. DVmatte Blast was $99 but I purchased DVmatte Pro for $199 because it gave me more “tweaking” options. And as always whenever I need to learn a new piece of software – I went to http://www.lynda.com. So instead of laboring with greens screens in post for an entire day – I got the job done in a matter of a couple of hours – and I had a lot of compositions to make.
I love to learn but I also like to lead some sort of a personal life – away from the computer. And these days – thanks to a little help from my “friends” I’m achieving a nice balance.