Join Steve Grisetti for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the chroma keyer effect, part of Sony Vegas Pro Essential Training (2013).
The chroma key here is one of the most fun effects in the whole Vegas video effects set. With it we can take a video shot with a smooth, usually green or blue background, and we can make that background transparent, so that we can make an actor look like he or she is in any real or imagined, place in the universe. This is the key effect for virtually every science fiction or fantasy movie Hollywood turns out. The most important thing when you're creating a chroma key effect is a well shot, key shot. And here we've got our chroma key, this man was shot in front of a green screen.
Just going to open it here in our trimmer, so you can have a look at it. And you can see this is very nice. Notice the background, the green screen, very, very smooth. And notice that the actor in the foreground is well lit. There are no shadows, there are no wrinkles, there are no hot spots on the background. So, the smoother and the more even the color of the background, the better. Now, it doesn't matter whether you use green or blue. Blue was the original. Color that was used to create chromakey. It fell out of favor as people start to wear more blue clothes. But you can use blue, you can use green, you can use virtually any color to create a chromakey effect. And so what we're going to need are two things to create our effect. One is that we're going to need a good well shot, key shot, which we have here. And then we're going to need a new background.
On my particular case I'm using a still photo for a background. You could also use, certainly, live video. And you see that used a lot on television programs and movies. Right? Then we'll drop that down on my first video track. My photograph. There it is. You can see it in the preview window. And we'll take our chromakey picture and I'm going to drag it to the track right above it. If, when you place, the chromakey clip on your timeline, your video that's or your photo that's on the lower video track moves aside it may be because you have your auto ripper turned on. Turn it off right now so that you can add these two clips right above the other. And then I'm going to take the vent that's on the lower track, I'm just going to expand it.
Now, it's because it's a photo, I could do that. If this were a video, of course, you'd have to make sure that you actually had enough video to serve as the background for your key clip. So, once we've got these two pieces in place on our timeline, it's just a matter of applying the effect to it. And we can apply it of course either by launching our Plug-In Chooser by clicking the Event Effects button, or clicking on the Video Effects tab here in our tabbed interface. Let's go to the Chroma keyer. There it is and you can see that they have some that are preset to certain colors. As with any preset, it doesn't matter, which you choose. You can select it or you can select the preset once you've placed it on a timeline and right now it's set to default.
We want to set it to green screen and you can see it does a decent job at its default settings. But its not clear its not clear through and if I were to show you let me hold down the Ctrl key so this doesn't drop into any space. If I were to solo that backtrack you can see this is how the background should look this is how it looks. So, I don't think I'm getting a good clean Chroma key there yet. Let's set this back to default, and move this panel off to the left. Now, I can choose a new color or a color from my background by selecting it from my Color picker here.
But the easiest way to do it is to simply click on my Sampler. That's this little eyedropper here. And then use the eye dropper to sample the green background. That's much better except now we can't see the poor guy. What we've done is we've used such a wide range of color here, or we've selected a color that now he's completely wiped off the screen. So, we're going to have to do some adjustments here to our chroma key. At least we have the key color set perfectly for our background and here's how I recommend you set or make the fine tuning adjustments for your Chroma keyer. I recommend you check this box here that says Show Mask Only on the options screen. This is going to show you what the key effect will not remove, and so it's best to put that in there, and then to adjust or fine-tune low threshold and high threshold until we can see the mass of what we want to see. And then we see transparency all around, and let me show you what I mean by that. Maybe just take the low threshold slider and watching in the Preview panel, we'll lift it up.
I can't really go much higher than that with the low, let's try bringing down the high. And as I bring it down we see more of our actor being masked. We want to not see any transparency through him. I gotta bring up low a little bit. As I bring these two closer and closer together now we're just about as good and we're going to get, there we go. Now, we have our actor masked, in other words this indicates that we'll see keying, a good clean key all around our actor. But yet, our actor is not transparent at all, we're not seeing anything through him.
And then I can turn off the mask, and I can do just some fine tuning. Maybe what I'll do, is just put a very fine blur, not too much. Just enough so that he looks natural in front of the background. And I think we've got a pretty good key effect. Let's play it on the timeline. Move the play head back to the beginning. And just going to press the L button and let's see how nice this looks. That's a pretty good looking key. He looks like he's really out there, doesn't he? Very, very nice. The chroma key here that comes with Vegas is a very simple one, yet it's usually tremendously effective too. But remember how well any chroma key effect works though is going to depend an awful lot on the quality of your green screen or blue screen shot. Remember, the more evenly colored your background and the better the lighting of your entire shot, the better your chroma key effect is going to be.
- Setting up a new Vegas project
- Importing video from a camera
- Managing files in the Project Media panel
- Pre-applying stabilization
- Adding and trimming events on the Timeline
- Editing a multicamera scene
- Adding fade-ins, fade-outs, and cross-fade transitions
- Editing audio
- Using the Chroma Keyer effect
- Adding a rolling or scrolling title
- Creating animated effects
- Outputting your final video