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In this video, we're going to cover the basic process behind keying. We're not going to actually do any specific keying just yet. It's important to understand exactly how everything works before we start clicking on buttons and checking things out. So the general idea behind keying is to take some footage that's shot on a specific color and eliminate that color from the background so that you can put your talent over top of anything. You could make them appear on Hawaii or put them over a graphic background, whatever you want.
Now if we look at our comp right here, let's select Layer 1. The first thing I want you to notice is this mask. Usually in the process of keying, you'll start off by creating a garbage mask where you can eliminate any unwanted areas in the scene. Now if you look on the right side here, I can see the edge of the stage. Based on the angle how this was shot, that happened. Now as long as the talent didn't cross over that area, we could just as easily remove that by using what's called a garbage mask.
So this is a mask that we apply to remove any extra information otherwise known as garbage. Okay, now let's enable the mask by pressing M on our keyboard with Layer 1 selected and changing the mode to Add. Okay, now that's part of the process, but if we go to the Effects Controls, you can see I've already applied an effect. Now in After Effects, if we go to Effects, under Keying, you can see there are a couple of different key options. There is one for Color Key where you can actually key out any color that's in the background.
Now the most common colors for keying are green screen and blue screen keying. The most powerful keyer inside of After Effects in my opinion is the Keylight filter. So that's why I applied this one. Now I've already gone through kind of making some adjustments. So when I select this, you can see I've got a decent key that's pulled out of the background. This could be an amazing key if it weren't for one tiny, tiny thing and that just has to do with the video codec, which this is the perfect video to actually talk about that.
When footage is shot for keying, there are two things that are really important. The first thing, the person that's shooting the footage needs to understand the basic principles for shooting green screen footage. You want to make sure the talent is not too close to the background, otherwise, they get too much green on their skin. Also, the camera; you can't, or you shouldn't, use a camera that is highly compressed. If you noticed, the footage that we're working with is H.264. Now that's just compressed so it could download easily with the exercise files.
Typically when I pull a key, I want to use some footage like Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD or just a lossless codec in general. That way I have all of the information, so when we go to eliminate a certain color, then we're good to go in terms of being able to pull a nice key. Now this is a pretty darn good key considering we're dealing with an H.264 source. So long story short, the process of keying involves masks, using a filter such as Keylight, and then of course, having a base knowledge of the actual technical specifications behind the footage you're working with.
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