Semi-Transparent Keying

I’ve been experimenting with some advanced chroma keying methods to specifically deal with reflections and subtle details like this car plate.

Often times we use keylight to get rid of everything that is green but in some cases we want to keep some of the reflections to make a shot more realistic. Some of these tips are quite noteworthy because the footage being used is from a Canon 5D which can be particularly noisy due to compression artifacts. Pulling a good key is already challenging enough but leaving in small details without flicker is even more problematic. I think I have figured out a few good methods and we even filmed another behind the scenes video to show how we setup the shots. Look for the video and tutorial soon.

September 19th, 2011 @ 12:24 pm
Cool... i need this tutorial now! :D
    September 20th, 2011 @ 4:20 am
    me too =)
    grey corection too cool
    September 20th, 2011 @ 8:08 pm
    September 20th, 2011 @ 10:43 pm
    sounds like perfect timing for me also! working on a project using stereo3D go pro cameras, will have to try and pull an acurate Greenscreen key for both the left and right cameras to match properly! Think your tutorial's really gonna help me!
    September 21st, 2011 @ 1:27 am
    Me too, I seriously need this... Can't wait!
    September 27th, 2011 @ 12:35 pm
    Pulling Key's with the DSLR cameras are challenging
    September 30th, 2011 @ 7:13 am
    same's difficult to save a mirror effect..if u have a chroma with mirror...plz Mr. Andrew we need a tutorial for this..
    October 2nd, 2011 @ 8:24 am
    AM looking forward to getting this tuts. cos its driving me crazy not perfectly keying my subjects always. it annoying sometimes. :-)
September 19th, 2011 @ 12:28 pm
Very interested in seeing this.
    Ninja Contra
    September 20th, 2011 @ 8:24 am
    I can't wait!
    Andrew, President of Awesomeness!!
September 19th, 2011 @ 12:35 pm
Cool Mr . Andrew ;) ... I'm waiting impatiently for this Tuto :)
September 19th, 2011 @ 12:36 pm
Wow!... that's gonna be, like, totally Awesome... Can't wait!
September 19th, 2011 @ 12:36 pm
Nice. Transparency's always tough...
    Dzed Dan
    September 20th, 2011 @ 2:20 pm
    my guess would be: added technics to extend the control of the alpha bias and "Magic Glass" tricks for realism in the glass reflections.
    Andrew you're a genius, thank you for your dedication ;)
September 19th, 2011 @ 12:37 pm
Always wanted to know more on how we could get small details like these back when keying. Looking forward to it :)
September 19th, 2011 @ 12:37 pm
Awesome, I've always tried this and failed miserably. From the pictures above it looks great, much better than anything I've been attempting. Can't wait!
Kyle Brosius
September 19th, 2011 @ 12:39 pm
This is cool, but every time I see that Video Copilot is updated I'm hoping it's because Element 3D is available. Release date?
    September 20th, 2011 @ 9:26 am
    I think in september but there's no date, we're waiting!!
    HURRY UP!!!
September 19th, 2011 @ 12:40 pm
Very nice! Would this be with AE's built in tools or using 3rd party plugins?
Haggai Nwokolo
September 19th, 2011 @ 12:41 pm
Am here on time although not the first. Andrew you are a good mentor... God bless u real good...
September 19th, 2011 @ 12:48 pm
I did that few days ago. I'm really curious how you made it.
September 19th, 2011 @ 12:49 pm
Very interesting Andrew!!

I thinking about this... waiting the tutorial :D
September 19th, 2011 @ 12:54 pm
woow very good .. just one question that has nothing to do with it but that is AFTER EFFECTS want to know why when I open parking after effects HAS CRASHED AFTER EFFECTS? or something ... nse if it is well written because use a translator ... I expect an answer I really want this much special effects .. lol sere as a graphic designer like you can give me an answer .. hehehe Bye:)
    September 20th, 2011 @ 11:14 am
September 19th, 2011 @ 12:58 pm
It's true that chromakeying has not evolved since a while.
And compressed images increased a lot.
But for me the most challenging is melting sharp and blurry key from The same plate. (like on the right of your image)
I always key the reflection separately.

Can't to know your way A.K !
    September 19th, 2011 @ 8:33 pm
    @thierry - I think you should make some tutorials on your website, About building real models and green screens, and lens fx with cutouts and such.
    Everyone should visit thierry's website.
    September 20th, 2011 @ 12:26 am
    i hope you read : can't "wait" to know your way AK!
    My mistake.
    So sorry to not have the time to create a English version of my site.
    On some pages, i describe my job, sometimes the way i get it, or analyze the work more in depth .. but all in too bad, i know :)
    Create a making of each time with my work (and i don't show all of them) takes time..And i try to make them clear.
    (And, has you can see, my english is not perfect)

    Of course, i thought of it, but i prefer to spend my time to try to write scripts (for animated movies). it's a long process, not professional yet, and take years to get a go.
    so wait and see...

    By the way, i have recently multiply the visit score of my site by 50, because of my reply few days ago.
    So it's proved... there is a VC effect ! ! :)
Clayton Light
September 19th, 2011 @ 1:15 pm
Hi Andrew,
I'm surprised to hear about the 5D compression artifacts. Can you elaborate?
Clayton Light
September 19th, 2011 @ 1:18 pm
look at that epic face
Dipo Dipe
September 19th, 2011 @ 1:22 pm
what about Element 3D? hope u re almost done?
September 19th, 2011 @ 1:22 pm
I have Panasonic sdr -45 and i can't deal with green screen....
it's cause a big consequence to me for filming
Dan Wood
September 19th, 2011 @ 1:26 pm
Awesome, thank you! I've been waiting for this!!
September 19th, 2011 @ 1:31 pm
when is element 3d going to arrive?
September 19th, 2011 @ 1:32 pm
kool is time:) thanks Andrew
September 19th, 2011 @ 1:48 pm
Excellent, I can't wait.
September 19th, 2011 @ 1:51 pm
Not been having much success with chroma-keying even though I full green and blue screen backdrops and lighting set which should get good result but the backcloth colours always look washed out when transferring it to my PC I hope this will give me some better insight into what I'm doing wrong.
    September 20th, 2011 @ 7:10 pm
    What type of camera are you shooting on? and what are you doing in the "tranfer" process to your PC that would change the way a video file looks? Misunderstanding your color balance could be as simple as the wrong color settings on your cameras LCD. If you are completely in control of your lighting in a set situation the only thing you can blame is your own error.
    September 21st, 2011 @ 1:42 pm
    I'm using a Canon HF100 white balance usually set to auto and looks fine in the viewfinder but when I import to my pc in AVCHD format then it looks very washed out. I've no doubt it's because of my lack of knowledge on the subject thanks for your curt acknowledgement of my stupidity this is why I was asking question and not glowing with pride at my fantastic successes ;)
September 19th, 2011 @ 1:52 pm
The infamous Quick Matte ?!! ;)
September 19th, 2011 @ 2:04 pm
Great! I need it, cause I had problems with flickering in chromakey these days
September 19th, 2011 @ 2:28 pm
Awesome, that would be great. I'm not a great keyer so I need all the help I can get.
September 19th, 2011 @ 3:08 pm
Great! I need a tutorial for this!
September 19th, 2011 @ 3:19 pm
Thanks Andrew. I'm setting up my studio and will be putting a greenscreen in it. I've managed to chroma key in the past, but i'm always looking to improve my skills so i'll be looking forward to your tutorial. Thanks.
September 19th, 2011 @ 3:22 pm
Wow! That's going to be really awesome! I'm looking forward to see this...
September 19th, 2011 @ 3:33 pm
The key looks really good in the picture. But people calm down... there is no "awesome" or "never seen before" thing its just daily work for a pro like Andrew Kramer.
September 19th, 2011 @ 3:34 pm
Now that is impressive! I can't wait
September 19th, 2011 @ 3:50 pm
Linear Color Key!!!!
September 19th, 2011 @ 4:05 pm
This is definitely helpful. I'm working on something similar which requires a tear from someone's eye to roll down their face and freeze. To shoot it I got a face mask used in theatre and painted it green. I then dripped water onto the eye and tilted the mask so it dripped. I would then composite this onto the actors face. Keying wasn't so bad but it practically leaves nothing behind as water is clear.
September 19th, 2011 @ 4:14 pm
this will be very helpful. i've tried this numerous times. looking forward to this.
September 19th, 2011 @ 4:14 pm
Simply awesome.
Just one question, if you change the angle, and the camera´s lens is reflected, could you still apply this same technique?
Saludes desde Honduras y muchas bendiciones.(Greetings from Honduras and many blessings)
September 19th, 2011 @ 4:21 pm
Good job. We are waiting
September 19th, 2011 @ 4:24 pm
Looking forward to it!!
September 19th, 2011 @ 4:39 pm
wow, you are really so generous sharing all this tips with us...
September 19th, 2011 @ 6:24 pm
This is going to be awesome!
September 19th, 2011 @ 6:29 pm
Can't wait for the tutorial. Andrew plz share it soon.Thanks for all your tutorials.
September 19th, 2011 @ 6:39 pm
sams been working out! :O
September 19th, 2011 @ 7:14 pm
Yeah, I've always wanted to know how to do such a subtle keying. That will be very helpful!
By the way, Andrew, do you use any kind of additional camera software, like Magic Lantern or something else?
September 19th, 2011 @ 7:22 pm
Awesome, can't wait.
September 19th, 2011 @ 7:39 pm! Another great tutorial coming....
September 19th, 2011 @ 8:10 pm
Looking forward to your tutoial.
Glad to see Sam again,AK,I think you should let hime do more acting,and I like that guy.
September 19th, 2011 @ 8:16 pm
That's look Great.
(tutorial Please)
September 19th, 2011 @ 8:33 pm
Hi...AK !!!

I come from China!
You have many fans in our country.

We love your tutorials....
    September 20th, 2011 @ 10:39 am
    I am from Portugal and i am probabily the only one who watch this amazing tutorials made by Andrew.
    September 21st, 2011 @ 12:28 pm
    I am also from Portugal.Andrew has fans everywhere.
darrik baker
September 19th, 2011 @ 9:24 pm
looks interesting! cant wait
klaus brandenburg
September 19th, 2011 @ 9:40 pm
I really enjoy how you jump from topic to topic but what about your new plugin? Any confirmed date so far?
September 19th, 2011 @ 10:22 pm
and of course I am waiting . tut and your new blugin
September 19th, 2011 @ 10:36 pm
I'm going to take a guess:

Don't key.
Use the greenscreen to create a matte precomp (outside.pre). Desaturate the green channel and Screen blend the result onto your background plate.
    September 20th, 2011 @ 8:06 am
    @Ian - Wow!!! What a great Idea. "A matte Precomp" I have to try it.

    I like your website, you did some AWSOME animations for NatGeo!!!
September 19th, 2011 @ 10:44 pm
That's Cool.Waiting for the VIDEO..
September 19th, 2011 @ 10:52 pm
Very nice! BTW I prefer the shot without the reflection :)
September 19th, 2011 @ 11:10 pm
This looks great, Andrew! It'd be very helpful :)
September 19th, 2011 @ 11:13 pm
Thanks Andrew.
You're right. Sometime, it's really hard to have a cool, realistic chroma keying.
Now, you seem to have THE solution!
Can't wait watching your tutorial...
September 19th, 2011 @ 11:18 pm
Looks great as always, just wondering though, a while back you said we could expect a few "demon Cam" tutorials based on its making and i havent really seen anything since the reveal video. Any updates?
September 19th, 2011 @ 11:24 pm
One small tip for keying of DSLR.
Neat Video is very good tool for removing compression artefacts. And best solution of keying are using lumas from RB and lighness channels.
    Daniel Allen
    September 20th, 2011 @ 9:50 pm
    I second that about Neat Video. I mentioned that too.
September 19th, 2011 @ 11:24 pm
sory not RB but RG (red and green]
Derrick van Niekerk
September 19th, 2011 @ 11:57 pm
Nice, looking forward to the BTS video and the tips.

September 20th, 2011 @ 12:01 am
Can't Wait For The Tut!!!
The real smithy
September 20th, 2011 @ 12:23 am
I know what you mean, keying with noisy footage is a pain.
September 20th, 2011 @ 12:30 am
Cool! You are extra!
September 20th, 2011 @ 2:19 am
Please, i need the tips for this effect
September 20th, 2011 @ 2:31 am
Im having trouble with shadows also.i hope shadows will work too.
September 20th, 2011 @ 4:27 am
To make Dark Resurrection ( I tested all the plugins to do chroma key. The best solution that does not generate noise, and allows a semi-transparent, stable even at the edges is dvmatte pro ( plugin which unfortunately is no longer supported. This forced me to use AEcs4 only to realize all chromatic keys.
September 20th, 2011 @ 5:51 am
thats going to be really useful. it seems as though you guys make a tutorial roughly at the time im thinking the same thing "how can i greenscreen through a window using my canon dslr" Get out of my HEAD!!!!!
September 20th, 2011 @ 6:14 am
YES!!! Exactly this i need.
September 20th, 2011 @ 6:19 am
hi master Andrew :)
this is cool, thx :D
September 20th, 2011 @ 7:19 am
Perfect i need this tutorial for a future show !
September 20th, 2011 @ 8:30 am
Hi Andrew, U are my Idol :D
September 20th, 2011 @ 8:49 am
Drive Angry, Sam! Drive angry. Looking forward to the new tutorial, Mr. Kramer.

September 20th, 2011 @ 9:00 am
Can't wait to see what you came up with
Miguel Carrera
September 20th, 2011 @ 9:03 am
Great! I've been looking for a tutorial on doing chromakeying work with HD-DSLRs!
September 20th, 2011 @ 9:15 am
I need this tutorial sooo bad! HELP! ;)
Lalsinh zala
September 20th, 2011 @ 9:38 am
cool Andrew sir...!!.....i need this tutorial.....!!
September 20th, 2011 @ 9:48 am
looks cool keep the tutorials and great ideas coming :)
September 20th, 2011 @ 11:05 am
I LOVE that you're using the 5D!
September 20th, 2011 @ 11:14 am
I dont have any car(((
September 20th, 2011 @ 12:22 pm
Hey Video Copilot! This is some good stuff, but I'd really like to see some more tutorials from the "Demon Cam" promo.
Les Galusha
September 20th, 2011 @ 12:34 pm
Andrew, your results looks hauntingly familiar -- After Effects Keylight and the Optical Flairs Plugin. (SEE LINK)

HERE'S A Simple GREENSCREEN Breakdown of a short film we shot In February 2011.
The film called "The Orderly", shot on a CANON 5D, contains a good 5 minutes of Greenscreen driving.

The results hold up on a theater screen projected with a HD Projector.
The noise/compression seems to be due to the compression from converting on VIMEO -- likely from the film-grain added to the footage.

Originally were hesitant to shoot this on the 5D due to compression/artifacts when pulling a greenscreen, but wanted to use specific lenses so went for it. I feel that ultimately with some TLC, I was able to get surprisingly good results, especially considering the loss of information with the native H264 codec.
September 20th, 2011 @ 1:38 pm
Ahhhhhh, long have I pondered these things...
looking forward to that video!
September 20th, 2011 @ 1:56 pm
Amazing stuff....keep coming

Can you please make a tutorial of falling down from a high floor and hitting the ground.

Or a car explosion. Something like this:
September 20th, 2011 @ 3:02 pm
September 20th, 2011 @ 5:13 pm
Great one to get tips on. Maintaining reflections while keying is so... Key lol
September 20th, 2011 @ 7:29 pm
cool!Andrew, your works are always awesome!!
September 20th, 2011 @ 7:33 pm
Really dude !!!!!
How can you be sooo hi-tec... Is it even legal???
September 20th, 2011 @ 8:42 pm
I sense something revolutionary is coming to the DSLR users...
Dan Allen
September 20th, 2011 @ 8:47 pm
DSLR + chroma key = hell on earth.
Enough with the 5D, you were using the Sony F3 for the commercial. Steer clear my friend =).

Oh and 'Neat Video' is my best friend. Goodbye compression artifacts and noise.
    September 30th, 2011 @ 1:17 pm
    good cam + neat video = perfect key
September 20th, 2011 @ 9:32 pm
karet 20 baby
pls send me bb
September 20th, 2011 @ 11:42 pm
sweet!!! can't wait!
September 21st, 2011 @ 1:36 am
Cool can't wait to see the tutorial.:)
September 21st, 2011 @ 2:38 am
It would be very useful for me! hope you make it in short time!!!
September 21st, 2011 @ 4:53 am
Really Awesome Andrew and mostly the reflection
September 21st, 2011 @ 5:15 am
amazing! I tried to do the same with your screenshot
September 21st, 2011 @ 5:30 am
this is the man!
September 21st, 2011 @ 5:47 am
Awesome, Am looking forward to this. Have always wanted to know how this could be done so that you could key things out, but yet leave glass and reflections in the picture..
September 21st, 2011 @ 6:39 am
Can I vote for you as President? Fantastic that you share your knowledge....Great stuff!
September 21st, 2011 @ 7:47 am
Hey, has anyone seen the website ? That dude totally copied; the website designs, the way tutorials are displayed....
I don't like that ;(
What has Andrew Kramer got to say about it????? ;?
September 21st, 2011 @ 8:26 am
Got some dark edges going on around his nose... Can't see them on the plate - how would you remove them using this method?
September 21st, 2011 @ 9:09 am
This IS an important tutorial. Really it will work for any keyer, but I'm convinced Keylight is the best I've ever used.

Sometimes you REALLY don't want to push the key too hard.
It's COMPLETELY counter intuitive, but it's the right thing to do.

Basically it comes down to looking at the matte in Keylight when you're tweaking the key and instead of pushing it so that ALL the green is knocked out, you back off until you see what should be reflected in the window in the matte.

When you go back and look at the final output, you'll notice that now, there is a ton of green in and around the window. The supression in Keylight is VERY good and usually all you have to do is activate it (it's off by default) and select the proper color to supress.

Been doing greenscreens since Max Headroom (and even before that) and Keylight is the best I've used.
September 21st, 2011 @ 9:54 am
I can not wait to see this tutorial!
September 21st, 2011 @ 10:06 am
I've been shooting reverses & comping them in or using the same shot in reverse for reflections. This'll be quite a helpful tool!
September 21st, 2011 @ 10:39 am
challenging task. I would first denoise the material...Csnt wait to see the solution VCP style ;)
September 21st, 2011 @ 10:41 am
Hey Andrew! I love you videos and everything about this site! You are really the reason why i kept up making videos! My biggest dream is to be a pro direction and live of what i love! My videos on my youtube channel are getting so much better thanks to you, mate! I wish you all the best and im sure i can say this for all of us - how can we every repay you!? You are creating experts! Keep it up Andrew and the rest of the VideoCopilot crew!
September 21st, 2011 @ 11:12 am
This is just great. I just started to work with my greenscreen and here you are again with great news about new tutorial. Couldn't be better timinig!
September 21st, 2011 @ 11:13 am
Seriously guys I bet it is mostly linear color key! 100$ I bet!
September 21st, 2011 @ 2:20 pm
Where are your tracking points?
    September 22nd, 2011 @ 7:34 am
    I may be wrong but I believe they used 3d camera tracking for the swing shots
September 22nd, 2011 @ 2:15 am
Harry up Andrew i need it now ;)
September 22nd, 2011 @ 5:14 am
can't wait to watch it. :)
September 22nd, 2011 @ 6:33 am
I think the purpose of this was to inspire ideas. He pretty much told you how to get the semi-transparency in the video. It is a video to give you ideas for shots of your own.
September 22nd, 2011 @ 9:11 am
My advise, stop using keylight and move on to Primatte, would probably save you few thousand hours from your life!!
September 22nd, 2011 @ 11:16 am
I would like to see it !!

i am doing some experiment like that, but the difference(little one) is that i am not Andrew

Where ir your 7D?
have u ever tried the panasonic GH2?
u should give it a try, but , i think u will prefer the color of canons when color grading.
September 22nd, 2011 @ 6:45 pm
flawless without flickering or noise? this i have to see :O
September 22nd, 2011 @ 9:31 pm
supa dupa stuff just
September 22nd, 2011 @ 10:05 pm
cool.... I cant WaIt.....
September 22nd, 2011 @ 10:30 pm
Looks awesome!! :3
September 23rd, 2011 @ 9:25 am
I can't wait !
September 23rd, 2011 @ 11:41 am
Good work ! i have a work to do now!
wait my deleting scenes.
September 23rd, 2011 @ 9:42 pm
Stoked for this one!
supun lankage
September 24th, 2011 @ 9:52 pm
i all so need this tips
September 25th, 2011 @ 4:00 pm
ME llamo Nicolas Carvajal y vivo en Colombia.

Es espectacular el hecho de compartir tu conocimiento. Que Dios te bendiga y te conserve para qu sigas tan magistral labor.

Felicitaciones y gracias nuevamente.
September 25th, 2011 @ 11:09 pm
We've just shot a music video with a 7D and 5D, with a band in front on a massive wall of green screened TV' I'm sure this coming tutorial will be handy.

I've been having trouble with keying the same footage from Adobe Premiere to After Effects CS5.5...tis annoying.

Keep'em up are awesome :)

September 28th, 2011 @ 1:10 am
Hey can you tell us what color correction tool you use, or if its just after effects then can you teach us about some advanced color correction techniques?
P.S .. that color correction you did looks awesome...
September 28th, 2011 @ 1:48 am
Many thanks Andrew.we look forward to it.
September 29th, 2011 @ 2:11 am
when this tutorial is gonna out? :d
September 29th, 2011 @ 4:45 am
Dear Andrew Kramer,.
Thank you for all your tutorials, please never delete them,I would appreciate everything,your too kind giving your tutorials free,with your time and effort, I'll PRAY for you even if you don't know me.
Yours Truly,
Gaylor Maliya
September 29th, 2011 @ 5:41 am
I can not wait to see this tutorial!

can’t wait to watch it.
September 29th, 2011 @ 7:30 am
We are waiting for a new
September 30th, 2011 @ 10:51 am
Give us this video as soon as possible, our great teacher!!!
October 1st, 2011 @ 3:25 am
nice :-) need this tips
Michael Reedy
October 1st, 2011 @ 4:48 am
why must i scroll ALL the way to the bottom of these mile long comments just to say... "Can't wait!!" Any tutorial by Andrew is and always will be entertaining and informative!
October 3rd, 2011 @ 10:27 pm
Hi Andrew can you tell what picture profile do you use when you shoot with a Canon DSLR?
October 4th, 2011 @ 1:09 am
i can't wait to see the semi transparent tutorial, presently i've been experiencing alot of problem keying DSLR 7D footage...but this will help...thank Mr Andrew!
October 4th, 2011 @ 1:56 am
ok nice tecknic
October 4th, 2011 @ 2:00 am
I also need this
October 4th, 2011 @ 2:47 pm
I was under the impression the usual way to do this is to use glass to provide a much stronger reflection, to make keying easier? Then manually tone down the intensity of it.
October 6th, 2011 @ 5:03 am
Recently been dealing with more subtle keying from a DSLR source too, neat video denoiser saved my ass big time. Interesting to see what techniques you guys have com up with
October 6th, 2011 @ 7:29 am
Steve Jobs 1955-2011. We will miss him.
    March 1st, 2012 @ 10:18 pm
    True, but random comment...
October 12th, 2011 @ 9:38 pm
when? is so awesome
October 13th, 2011 @ 9:58 pm
hey, andrew plz upload the tutorials,,,,,i need dude
March 1st, 2012 @ 10:17 pm
Andrew gets pulled over for drinking and driving. Police man confiscates 10, 6 packs of Coke.
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