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Primary Ultra Key controls

From: Compositing with Premiere Pro CS5.5

Video: Primary Ultra Key controls

The Ultra Keyer is advanced Chroma keying filter inside of Premiere Pro with features including Spill Suppression and Color orrection, both of which can make a big difference to problem keys. Let's take a look at the core controls of this Filter effect. I've got a sequence here which has got me in front of a green screen, and just notice as well, I've got this tissue in my hand which is giving partial transparency with the green screen behind it.

Primary Ultra Key controls

The Ultra Keyer is advanced Chroma keying filter inside of Premiere Pro with features including Spill Suppression and Color orrection, both of which can make a big difference to problem keys. Let's take a look at the core controls of this Filter effect. I've got a sequence here which has got me in front of a green screen, and just notice as well, I've got this tissue in my hand which is giving partial transparency with the green screen behind it.

Don't try to pay too much attention to my dodgy ironing, or lack of it. Under this layer, I've got a park scene, this is some kids playing baseball (UNKNOWN) and they're chasing after the ball in the background. So, I'm going to create a simple layered effect with me introducing the beginning of a program. There's not much movement in the dialog here, so let's just have a look at it. Hello. My name is Maxim and I'll be your host today.

Yep, so it's just me saying hello. So, I'm going to go to my Effects panel and I'm going to bring up the Ultra Keyer and drop that on the top layer here. And broadly speaking, I suppose you could divide the Ultra key into three sections. We have the Ultra key main settings here at the top, where you're going to choose your key and what's going to be displayed. And then, we've got Matte Clean up and Generation, which defines the way the key is interpreted. And then below that, we've got the third section in my mind, which is where you can do some corrections and some adjustment, this Fill Suppression and Color Correction which change the appearance of the video that makes it through the key. Telling the Alter key effect which color to key out is just a question of clicking on the eye dropper and choosing a color.

Now you can probably see that the green screen around me is pretty good. The main thing with green screens is to have smooth areas, not to have any harsh bits of texture on the wall to give you a texture. But I'm going to click somewhere close to my neck here where there's a slight darkening in the picture, and this should give us a pretty good key right away. If you want to be certain of the results that you've got, you can click on the Output menu and you can choose to view either the composite, which is what I'm seeing here, or the Alpha channel or the Color channel.

If I see here the Alpha channel, actually it's quite clear that not all of this is keyed very well. If I just go Full Screen with this, you can see that around the edges of the picture, because that green isn't a perfectly consistent one, I'm getting some bits of the green in the foreground. It's very faint and against the background that we've got, it's probably not that visible. But once you know it's there, you really can spot it, and this is where these secondary controls come in here.

I've got a Matte Cleanup and Matte Generation set of controls. And what's happening when I choose a color with the Key Color control, is I'm creating a matte. I'm creating a grayscale image that sits on top of the image of the original media, frame by frame, that tells Premier Pro which pixels should be transparent. It's just translated from one to the other. It's kind of like a garbage matte, but it's generated on the fly from the green, in this case. It's easier to see what these controls do by switching the Output to view the Alpha channel.

So, if I set that now and just go over to these, I'll run through what they do for you. The Transparency control effects the overall transparency. 45 is the average. And as you increase this, you can see that even the highlight regions, which are meant to be in the foreground and opaque are becoming transparent. If I scroll up and switch this back over to Composite, you can see what I mean. Not particularly useful, but again, it always comes down to not whether you're getting an accurate result but whether you're getting the result that you want for your particular creative project.

Then here, we've got the highlight and this just specifies a cutoff point beyond which the image is definitely considered to be white. This is a little bit like setting a limiter on your video. If I drop this down, you can see that we've got regions that are pretty much being seen as lit because of the very subtle variations in the lighting on the back wall. If I bring this down, I can drop this to Naught and clean that up. I have the same result, but in reverse, by adjusting the shadow, and you can see here, there's a slight problem because as I drop the Shadow level, I'm starting to get some see through parts of my key.

So, I've got a nice clean black around the edge of me but I'm going to start to see some of the background through my waist. And this is where we start to adjust the tolerance which filters out foreground elements and the pedestal which adjusts the curve that's used to generate this black and white matte. Now, even if I leave things as they are, I've still got some more controls down here under the Matte Cleanup. I can choke the matte so I just zoom in to 100% so you can see, if I start to drag this up, the entire matte starts to shrink.

Now, this can look pretty awful. But you'll sometimes find depending on your source media that you get a kind of a halo around the edge of your subject, where it's neither the background color nor the foreground color. It just gives you it's almost like a suit of armor around your subject and choking the matte can make quite a big difference to that. If I switch back to the Composite here, yeah, you can maybe see a little bit of fuzziness around the edge of my shoulders, but if I choke this in a little bit, it just cleans that up and helps to give me a sharper key.

Equally, you might find, depending on how clean your source is that softening the key will help to get a smoother finish. One of the problems with a lot of the highly compressed video formats is that they just drop color information. And if that happens, you can get quite jagged edges around your key. Softening the matte will help to give actually a cleaner looking key. The contrast adjustment is for adjusting the key itself.

And if I crank this up, we should be able to see it cleaning up some of those spots that are in there, and it's not too bad. If I now, maybe, adjust the midpoint, I can bring this back in and I've got a much cleaner key. What I'm looking for here is an absolutely white foreground that is the pixels that I want to be visible, and an absolutely black background that are the pixels that will be transparent. And I can maybe adjust this shadow a little bit, maybe adjust the pedestal slightly to try to clean this up a little bit more but I think that's probably good enough.

Let's choke this back a little bit less to lose some of those spots. And that should give me a pretty clean Composite of my foreground over my background. Because the Ultra key is a CUDA-enabled effect, I can play this absolutely fine. Hello. My name is Maxim and I'll be your host today. And perhaps the only thing that remains to be done is some Color Correction to blend this in with my background.

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Compositing with Premiere Pro CS5.5

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Maxim Jago
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