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Old January 16th, 2008, 05:06 PM   #1
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Can I use Ultra for keying HD?

I hope this is the proper forum for this. Will Adobe Ultra be a good choice for keying HDV projects, or is there a better choice, that's also easy to learn/use, or will Ultra be the best choice?

I want to use Ultra's virtual sets, but unless they've been updated, they're all in 4:3 SD. I know I can workaround the 4:3, but I don't think the SD resolution will look very good. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 01:19 AM   #2
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Paul, as keying goes you will get better results with Keylight (included in AE Pro) and possibly the addition of KeyCorrect Pro ( http://www.redgiantsoftware.com ) for Pre and Post clean up of the alpha. Ultra's lack of masking is also a limitation.
Regarding the virtual sets, you can resize them at HD resolution with InstantHD, also from RedGiant. The result is surprisingly good.
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 04:27 AM   #3
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Thanks Paolo, but I own Ultra alreeady and love it, but I was having trouble doing HDV with it.
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 07:24 AM   #4
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I have no doubt that AE can do a better Green screen, I just haven't figured out how. With Ultra I clicked a few times and I got a surprisingly nice key which I rendered, brought into Premiere, added a garbage mat where it was needed and was off. With AE it took me nearly an hour to get something I thought was as good. I am sure this is just because of my lack of experience with AE though. I am trying to learn AE now, any tutorials online that you guys would suggest for chroma key? From personal experience the better the setup with the screen and lights the easier it is to pull so I am trying to work on that as well :)
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 09:06 AM   #5
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Josh, did you use HD or SD footage with Ultra? What file format? Any tips you can pass on?
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 09:39 AM   #6
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I filmed in HDV, and I think I stayed in HD until exporting, just imported as 16*9, but Ultra only would render SD I think. Will have to double check tonight. I had imported the files that Premiere had captured to disk.
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 10:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Chesarek View Post
With Ultra I clicked a few times and I got a surprisingly nice key which I rendered, brought into Premiere, added a garbage mat where it was needed and was off.
Ultra does a good job at creating a good key with very few clicks but it cannot handle many situations. Its controls are "coarse", so if the key works good but if you need more fine tuning you are out of luck. I used it for a time, I liked it but there is not enough control to get to the next level.
For example, if the subject has very fine hair you might want to split the key in two. One for the head and one for the rest of the body. In AE you simply drop the clip in the timeline, duplicate the layer, use a mask, and drop the Keylight plugin for the head layer and finesse from there.

I found actually that keylight can do an excellent job with the default settings, if your GS footage is half good to start with. If you need a starting point, try adding keylight, switch the view mode to see the matte, increase the screen gain a little bit, add a bit of pre-blur, increase the black clip until you see the blacks solid, decrease the white clip until all the matte area is white, switch to view the final result, rinse a repeat :)
From this point on you can add color correction to have the subject match the color of the background or use KeyCorrect Pro's post filters to wrap the light and color match. The results are really nice.
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 12:12 PM   #8
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Yeah, gonna have to spend some time with AE this weekend :)
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 07:37 PM   #9
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There one more that you should take into account when considering Keylight vs. Ultra - speed.

I've tried using both and Keylight is way slower than Ultra. I have an hour sequence that was going to take a number of days to render with Keylight as opposed to a number of hours with Ultra.

If you are doing short sequences you should be fine with Keylight, but if you are doing long clips (like I am), it may just be too slow.

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Old January 22nd, 2008, 08:03 PM   #10
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I appreciate all the responses, but I probably need to clarify my question and purpose for posting:

If I want HD output, will Ultra do it, or do I need to go to AE or some other product?

If Ultra will do it, what type of source format works best? I have Vegas and Cineform NEO.

Thanks
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 08:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Cascio View Post
I appreciate all the responses, but I probably need to clarify my question and purpose for posting:

If I want HD output, will Ultra do it, or do I need to go to AE or some other product?

If Ultra will do it, what type of source format works best? I have Vegas and Cineform NEO.

Thanks
Well I just took a look, Output options are: AVI ( 720*480 Limit) MOV ( 1920*1080 Lmit) and Frame Sequence (1920*1080)

So yes, it can output HD. If you can edit .MOV or Frame Sequences. One thing to note that all of the sets its comes with are 4:3
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 10:19 PM   #12
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What is a frame sequence?
Which would you recommend for dropping into Vegas for more editing?
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 11:24 PM   #13
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A frame sequence is when you output a clip as a series of frames save in individual files, usually in Targa format. You can load the sequence, each file is identified by the same prefix + a sequencial number, in either your NLE or simply in QuickTime Pro by using Open Image Sequence and setting a frame rate. You can then save the clip again as a QT file using your codec of choice.
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 06:51 AM   #14
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Getting a decent Key in Keylight

To get a decent starting point in Keylight without getting into every option, these few steps usually get a decent result. Fist use the eyedropper to select the darkest shade that you are trying to key out. Second, change the view to "Screen Matte", this will give you a black and white representation of your matte. Third, go into the screen matte option and use the clip black and clip white option to get the blacks and whites to the blackest and whitest respectively. Use should a touch of screen pre blur to get a soft edge. Fourth, switch the view back to final result and you should have a decent starting point. Here is a link to a great tutorial: http://www.videocopilot.net/basic/tu...ing/watch.html


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Old January 23rd, 2008, 09:08 AM   #15
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One thing that should be mentioned too is that many times you end up with a good key but some spots inside the foreground can have "holes". With AE and Keylight you can simply create a mask and animate it to stay with the foreground either via hand adjustment or with trackers. In many cases it will take just a few minutes to do. You simply can't do that in Ultra, with that you are forced to crank up the parameters in order to close the hole and that can compromise the rest o the image.
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