Tip #173: 4 Tips to Better Chroma-Keys

… for Visual Effects

Tip #173: 4 Tips to Better Chroma-Keys

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

The first rule is great lighting. But, you also need more…

A green-screen example screen shot.
A good chroma-key requires more than perfect lighting.

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This tip first appeared at NoFilmSchool.com.

The first rule of great keys is great lighting. But, there are other things you can do improve the quality of your keys. Here are four tips that can make your keys cleaner and easier.

  1. Choose the right background color. We pick green because it isn’t in skin tone and most of us don’t wear green clothes. But, when there’s green in the foreground, use blue. (Also, green is more reflective, which means it tends to contaminate your shots more.)
  2. Don’t overexpose the background. Both foreground and background need to be properly exposed.
  3. Avoid wrinkles and folds in the background. If you use fabric, iron it. If you use paint, paint on a very smooth surface. Both the background lighting and surface need to be flat.
  4. The less compressed the video codec, the better the key. Chroma-key looks for specific color values – and the first thing that gets compressed in any video format is the color information.

Ideally, when your lighting is flat and you follow these tips, you should be able to create a clean key with one click.

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3 replies
  1. Chris Mags
    Chris Mags says:

    These are good tips for shooting on green screen but I clicked on this link hoping for tips on how to actually make my keys look better in post through Final Cut or Premiere.


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