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In Premiere Pro CS4 Beyond the Basics, Adobe Certified Instructor Chad Perkins explains how to take video editing from simple nuts and bolts to an art form. He shares tips for shooting video in the field to get the most from a subject and get the best footage for a project. He demonstrates how to build a project through the careful use of cutaways, pacing, and suggestive edits. He covers special effects, color correction, and keying and compositing, integrating all these concepts as he builds a music video project from scratch. Exercise files are included with this course.
Once you've created your Garbage Matte, it's time to actually start keying. Now the bummer of the matter here, in Premier, is that the keying tools are really antiquated in Premiere. They're not that awesome. But the good news, actually, good news for Windows users, is that Premiere comes with a program called Adobe Ultra, and there's actually great training on lynda.com in Ultra CS3. So in that training series, in less than three hours, we go through and we talk about all the things you can do with Ultra.
I think of all the Keying tools that I've ever used, Ultra is probably my second favorite. It's amazingly easy to use. It works very well. So even though Premiere's tools, as we're going to look at here, aren't the best, Ultra is amazing and compensates for that. Those of who that are Mac users, you can use Ultra successfully by using Boot Camp. Now my favorite keying tool of all time is made by Primatte, distributed by Red Giant Software. It's called Primatte Keyer Pro. Unfortunately, it doesn't really work in Premiere, but it does work in After Effects, if you work with that, but that's my favorite keying tool to use.
Nevertheless, since we are here, let's look at how Premiere deals with removing green screen. We remove that with an effect called Color Key, so I'm going to apply the Color Key effect to our footage, open up the parameters. It's very simple here, so it's fairly easy to master. If I click the Eyedropper tool, we can get a visual readout, over here this little color swatch, we get a visual readout of the color underneath our eyedropper. Now you want to be careful, because even though at first glance, this may look like all the same shade of green.
You'll notice, as I move my cursor in the corner, and then in the center, you can see this color swatch updating right here. You can see how dynamically that's changing. There is a lot of different shades of green here. So we want to pick a green shade that's kind of like an average, a good balanced green that's not like from the shadows and it's not the brightest part of the highlights, kind of like a mid-range green, and I'm going to click on that. Most keying solutions these days will automatically update the second you choose the Color Key, not the Color Key effect though.
So you've got to go in and adjust the Color Tolerance, I'm actually going to click this little icon to give us some more room here, increase the Color Tolerance, then we start removing some of that green. As we keep tweaking this, we'll see one of the problems with most keyers. With most keying tools, including Color Key, it's really not that hard to remove the green screen. It seems like it would be, but it's actually quite easy. So, as you can see here, the green screen is gone. So the problem is not in removing the green, the problem is getting the edges of the object to look good.
That is the ultimate challenge. So we have some tools here, we have Edge Thin, which will thin those edges a little bit, kind of constrict the alpha around the subject. Then we could also feather that edge a little bit. We kind of want to be careful with that Edge Feather though, because if you take it up too much, those edges look soft, and you're going to have like a bad key in the first place, doesn't matter how much of the green is removed. So be careful with that. We could keep fiddling with the Edge Tolerance, the Thin and the Feather, until we come up with a fairly decent key.
If your edges are eaten away too much, you may want to take down the Color Tolerance, which, as you can see, it's kind of restoring some of the edges, but we can't have too much, because we can't have these extra little corners here. So I might want to take down the Feather a little bit from there, maybe thin the edge some more and maybe take up the Color Tolerance a little bit more, blur it. Now this is not the best key. We still have a few rough edges, but in this case, for a bouncing basketball, I think it's going to work. You want to be careful too, as these things get closer to the center. Then we have this.
This is because of the edge thinning. So we've actually cut away so much of our edge that we've actually removed a lot of our basketball. So again, we want to be careful with things like that, because those can be dead giveaways that we have keyed things out and not done the best job in doing so. So as I play with this effect before I recorded this movie, that's about as good as I can get it with this effect in Premiere, and again, you want to be careful with things like this. So here is this gaping hole. It seems like for many of these frames , that we did a fairly decent job in keying it up, but then as you go to certain frames for whatever reason, there is a big gaping hole that shows through the surface beneath, which is a really bad sign.
It's a really bad no-no for a keying. So then you have to go back, upon seeing mistakes like this, you have to go back to the Color Tolerance and restore those colors and play with Edge Thin, Edge Feather, and keep adjusting those until you get the key you want. That's really the challenge of keying. Again, it's not really removing the green screen. That's the easy part. It's getting good edges. That's where you have to keep fiddling and fiddling and fiddling with settings, and it can be a real challenge. So that is why I recommend checking out Adobe Ultra. Again, if you have Premiere, you already have Ultra as a Windows user.
Mac users, if you could find it, then you could use it with Boot Camp.
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