Slightly OT: Keying

mjroddy wrote on 3/17/2008, 10:28 AM
Good day everyone. I hope you had a dandy weekend.

I have several chroma keying projects coming up and was wondering what the bet tool would be for use with Vegas.
Clearly we don't want to use the built-in keyer. It's fine, but nothing more. With work you can get fine keys, I know.
For doing several (dozens and dozens) of keys, what would you recommend as the best tool.
I have CS3, so I have access to Ultra and KeyLight. But Digital Juice is having a sale on Red Giant's, "Primatte Keyer Pro" for half off.
I have enough in my "budget" to purchase that, if it is better/more flexible/faster than either of the two I already own.
Any thoughts or suggestions?
Oh... I mainly shoot HDV on either a Sony Z1u or a Canon XL-H1.


Goji wrote on 3/17/2008, 11:22 AM
Primatte Keyer Pro looks really interesting! Can it work as a standalone applicaation? (I see that Vegas is not supported . . . .)

Yoyodyne wrote on 3/17/2008, 11:30 AM
I've had pretty good results with Ultra.
Cheno wrote on 3/17/2008, 11:53 AM
Keylight is great in AE on the PC. On the Mac, I'd use dvMatte Pro 3. I've had very limited use of Ultra but I've heard / seen great things. Look for bdubs "30 Second Commercial" post - I believe he only used CS3 on the compositing - AE / Keylight most likely then. Really great work.

Biggest issue is knowing what you're using to key and then light accordingly. 3rd party keyers are much less forgiving for light issues.
kentwolf wrote on 3/17/2008, 1:19 PM
>>...I've had pretty good results with Ultra....

For my firtst Ultra project, I did too.

I had 3 guys in white lab coats against a fairly white background. I was able to key it with Ultra.

It's not perfect, but I exported to a PNG sequence, and with a little Photoshop work, it turned out pretty good!

I heard that Ultra could key just about anything.

If one got good at it, it might actually be true.

Really impressive.
Coursedesign wrote on 3/17/2008, 4:59 PM
Even Digital Juice has the comparison of Primatte with Ultra (and Keylight which is included w/AE Pro), I pulled the ones that matter for most people here:


DV/HDV support--------------------Yes-------No----------Yes
Keying Layers-----------------------Unlim----Unlim.-----2
Video Quality------------------------16bit/ch--16 bit/ch--8 bit/ch
Requires export from host app-No--------No---------Yes
Selective Transparency---------Yes-------No---------No
Matte Softening----------------------Yes-------Yes-------Yes
Inward Matte Softening------------Yes-------No--------No
Gamma Correction-----------------Yes-------Yes-------Yes
Matte Noise Reduction------------Yes-------No--------No
Selective Spill Correction---------Yes-------No--------No
Automatic Color Matching-------Yes-------No--------No
Edge Lighting------------------------Yes-------No--------No

The last two features can make a lot of difference when "selling" a chromakey as "real."

Selective Transparency is key (no pun intended :O) for manually tweaking difficult keys involving transparency, not just for water glasses, etc..

Automatic Color Matching makes the foreground look like it was shot in the same light as the composited background (by matching the color tone, exposure, and contrast), and Edge Lighting (aka Light Wrap) lights the edges of the foreground based on the composited background to create an interaction that just makes an incredible difference in many composites.

This exact product is $5,000 when licensed for high end programs, and has been used for a lot of high end Hollywood productions.

Still, if you are able to light really well and have simple composites, you probably don't need this product.

If you want the highest quality from DV or HDV, you do need some extra tools with as an absolute minimum chroma blur. Ultra is not bad, but it is not as good as Primatte, and you can see above exactly why.

Coursedesign wrote on 3/17/2008, 7:31 PM
Wikipedia has a fairly thorough explanation of how Primatte does its magic in 3D RGB color space:

By operating the Primatte interface, the user essentially creates three concentric, multi-faceted polyhedrons. These can be pictured as three globes (or polyhedrons or polys), one within the other, which share a common center point. The creation of these polyhedrons separates all possible foreground colors into one of four regions; inside the small polyhedron (1), between the small and medium polyhedrons (2), between the medium and the large polyhedrons (3) and outside the large polyhedron (4).

I hope that's clear (and it's not even Primatte V4).


(Actually, the autokeyer in it provides a very good starting point for many situations, and tweaking is easier in this keyer than in other tools.

bdub wrote on 3/18/2008, 8:50 AM
Thanks for the mention! I used Keylight in AE for my greenscreen stuff. For me, it is a miracle worker. If you watched my "Making Of" you could certainly see that my background was not smooth or evenly lit. Admittedly, I didn't care too much about pulling a "perfect" key because I knew I was going to trash the footage so much but I wouldn't spend money on another program if you already have AE with Keylight. Not to turn this into an AE forum, but I would certainly recommend to anyone who has it. The amount of free tutorials and low priced products is unbeatable. I would be lost inside Keylight if it wasn't for Andrew Kramer. His "starting point" settings are so easy to learn and yet I never would have figured them out on my own. I don't know if they are mentioned in one of the free tutorials but you could certainly buy the compositing dvd and get a ton of knowledge. I DON'T KNOW HIM OR WORK FOR HIM! I use Vegas for all my editing but there are obviously some things that AE can do that Vegas can't.
mjroddy wrote on 3/18/2008, 12:03 PM
Thanks to everyone for their replies and thoughts.

I think I will stick with KeyLight for now.

And, for what it's worth, I heartily second the nod to Andrew Kramer and and the products you find there (I own 4-5). I don't know or work for them either, but personally find the free tutorials amazing and the product to be top quality and highly worth while.