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-   -   UltraKey from Serious Magic Chroma Key software just released (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/adobe-creative-suite/13904-ultrakey-serious-magic-chroma-key-software-just-released.html)

Jim Quinlan August 30th, 2003 04:32 PM

UltraKey from Serious Magic Chroma Key software just released
Anyone with the budget and interested in ChromaKey should definately check out this cool new product that just shipped last week. I was a beta tester for this and will say that the chroma keying that you can do with this product is amazing. It also comes with a lot of really nice virtual sets with different built in tracking effects. The retail price is 795.00.

Here's a demo video (Not the final version but something I just found on the serious magic forum) http://seriousmagicprogressive.adfli...Demo%20640.wmv

For wedding videographers, there's a really neat rotating cake scene that you can use for bride and groom. I think one of the scenes are in the demo.

David Walding August 30th, 2003 09:43 PM

I checked it out and it looks really cool "BUT" since you say you were a beta tester how well does it really work? I was reading their FAQ. and one of the tips was "Light, Light Light" that's kind of expected with all other chroma keying but there video said it could be easily used on the "GO" which kinda limits your lighting sets sometimes. I am just curious since you have used this app how much "good lighting" would be needed? and how easy is it to pull great keys. Thanks

Jim Quinlan August 31st, 2003 04:54 AM


Of course the better the lighting the better the results in all aspects. However, you can key almost anything with Ultra Key and get decent results. You must see this one video someone did as an experiment. She captured a few seconds of a pga golf clip putting on a green and threw that into UK. This is not something that's supposed to be possible but ultrakey did it. It's not a perfect key by all means but amazing.


I have the best luck if I'm able to get my background as evenly lighted as possible. Doing a full body shot and lighting a 15' x 20' backdrop is challenging in my small living room. Ultra Key is very forgiving. It keyed many of my poor shots where Vegas just didn't come close to handling it.

I was also successful keying with very little light.

Jim Quinlan September 1st, 2003 04:55 AM

Here's another example I did in a few minutes last night. In the first example, I didn't even need to use any of the fine adjustments that came with the keying. The default settings keyed just perfect. In the second example, I added another person to the shot and threw in an example using pan and zoom.

Picture keyed http://www.magoomedia.com/media/chroma.jpg

Video http://www.magoomedia.com/media/traintest.wmv

Picture keyed http://www.magoomedia.com/media/seats2.jpg

Video: http://www.magoomedia.com/media/traintest2.wmv

Keep in mind I took the sitting down shots a month before I took the train footage so they don't fit perfect.

David Walding September 1st, 2003 03:16 PM

Very impressive. where did you get the green screen material that you used and what lighting setup was used looks very clean.
How are the virtual sets that come with it are the pretty good also does any other software or video clips come with it? I think this may be what I am in the market for a dedicated green screen keying software, also have you tried the realtime previews for doing the setup? Thanks

Jim Quinlan September 1st, 2003 03:28 PM

I got my green screen material at J&K from Ebay. Do a search in EBay using chromakey or chroma. I find using green keys best. Get the biggest piece you can so you can roll some on the floor.

The sets are pretty good. The demo pretty much shows that area. Depends what you need them for really. I'm not sure what you mean about the realtime preview setup. You can preview the result in the tool.

Dave Stewart December 15th, 2003 02:10 AM

I bought ultra key the other day. It works very well. One of the tricks to use is to shoot a few seconds of your green screen background before you place the talent in front of it. Wrinkles, uneven light - no problem.

David Delaney March 6th, 2006 04:35 PM

Need some info about serious magic ultra 2 please
Can serious magic output alpha channel after the chromakeying so I can bring it into Vegas or another NLE?
I have heard that SM ultra 2 can chromakey captured footage live, can it output and save it as well?

Karl Soule March 13th, 2006 05:15 PM

Alpha Channel
ULTRA can output a 32-bit file containing an alpha channel, so you can choose the background in another program. Set the output type for AVI-Uncompressed or QuickTime-Apple None, and click the button for 32-bit output.

ULTRA is not a live keyer - it has a live preview, but you cannot key and save a feed from a live camera. ULTRA primarily works with saved AVI or QuickTime files. When ULTRA outputs, it does so very fast - a 1 minute file takes 32 seconds on my home system (results vary depending on your video card.)

Kevin Powis March 14th, 2006 08:22 AM

I use Ultra 2 - very pleased with it - there is a known bug though in PAL ALPHA Channel production. Still awaiting a fix. The resulting file is squashed into half the horizontal space with some options. (weird).

Also - it would (he says) be really easy for the developers to make it work in real time.

Just preview live - then have a buffer I-O setup, the DV capture stores into a buffer and ULTRA takes from the buffer. Then it wouldn't matter if ULTRA lagged by a second or two. - Just a thought.

Karl Soule March 14th, 2006 11:47 AM

Alpha Channel output
Hi Kevin,

The issue with Alpha output being "squished" has to do with using interlaced input, and progressive output settings. Try going to the Input tab, and change the Field order setting from "Clip Default" to "No Fields (Progressive Scan.)" That way, when you render 32-bit with Alpha channel Progressive output, the image won't be "squished" into the top of the frame.

Phil Hamilton May 20th, 2006 03:05 PM

image loss in Ultra?
I am considering the purchase of Ultra - although for the most part I am pleased with Vegas. My question is - When you output from Ultra a composited image/clip how do you avoid compression with that output and then when you bring it into your NLE you compress once more? Seems like the composited green screen footage would not have the qaulity of the orginal AVIs edited in the NLE.

Feedback on this would be appreciated?

Karl Soule May 21st, 2006 10:21 AM

It's true that if you stay strictly in the DV realm, you may see a slight degradation in the quality of the clip. Most compositing artists who use ULTRA, or other tools like AE or Combustion, use uncompressed AVI or QuickTime, or a lossless codec like HuffYUV. This way, you can go in/out of your compositing tools without worry of codec generation loss.

Phil Hamilton May 21st, 2006 09:54 PM

So if I capture an M2t file or AVI from my HDV camera - are the files uncompressed? I know there is compression after coming out of the NLE. Are all AVIs uncompressed after the capture from DV?

I guess if I was converting an M2t to AVI and then put the AVI into Ultra would the resulting output file be basically the same with little or no degradation?

Karl Soule May 22nd, 2006 10:26 AM

M2T files are compressed files. They are compressed using MPEG-2 at about a 25:1 compression.

AVI files can be compressed or uncompressed, depending on the codec used. Knowing that a file is a QuickTime or AVI file is only half the information. You also need to know what codec is being used to compress and store the data in the file.

M2T is kind of a special case - it's a special file format that only uses one type of compression - MPEG-2. Many NLE's prefer not to work with M2T files directly, because they are very difficult to work with. The type of compression doesn't make it very easy to edit the file. Some convert directly to AVI or QuickTime format using the Cineform codec during capture.

If you converted the M2T file to an AVI file, you'd want to use a codec that offered very light or no compression to avoid degradation in the image quality. Most compositors like to use a codec called HuffYUV, which is a free AVI codec. Another AVI codec used a lot in the HDV world is Cineform. For QuickTime, Apple None or Apple Animation are used a lot. Once your file is in one of these formats, you can go in/out of ULTRA without worry of image degradation.

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