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Old February 12th, 2007, 12:25 PM   #1
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AE7 Keylight versus Ultra 2.0

Without factoring in cost, what is the best chroma-key program (or plugin) - Keylight or Ultra 2? I've never really done a lot of keying work before, but with an upcoming shoot I'll be using it more than ever.

I've worked through some of Andrew Krammers tutorials on Keylight on his training DVD and I was impressed. However, I keep noticing a big buzz around Ultra 2 and many people seem really impressed by it.

I also understand that Ultra 2 adds the capability of using pre-built 3d sets. However, I don't really find the sets they offer very realistic and would likely never use them (save for playing around with them just for the "cool" factor!)

Has anyone used both? Care to comment on each? Much appreciated!
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Old February 15th, 2007, 12:15 PM   #2
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Keylight combined with masks in After Effects will produce better keying. It will take more work, but you can do more with After Effects because After Effects is a full-blown compositing tool, while Ultra is not.

Very few keys can be done with just a couple of clicks. To obtain the best keys, you might need to use multiple layers/masks/etc.

Ultra will give you a decent key, but the best way to go about it would be After Effects and all the tools you have in there.

A book I highly recommend is Mark Christiansen's book After Effects 7.0 Studio Techniques. It will tech you how to composite like a pro.

I'm actually getting ready to shoot an entire production on green screen for use with a custom 3D set I'll be building in Lightwave 3D. Also, I'll be doing all my motion tracking in SynthEyes. I haven't been impressed with the 3D sets Serious Magic has to offer, plus, everyone else has the same sets. My client wants something custom anyway so it fits with their style.

I'll post more as I get some tests done.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 12:38 PM   #3
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I'd agree completely with James. Ultra 2's big advantage is that it's "good enough" that you can get decent keys with very little experience or training. That's a big plus to a lot of folks that just want an easy key without a lot of investment, and that's a pretty good sized market. Keylight will let you do things that Ultra just won't. Ultra has a lower learning curve and is cheaper. It's really apples and oranges.

I'll throw in a strong second for Mark Christiansen's book. It's not light reading, but it's seriously good stuff.

James, I'll look forward to seeing your tests. It's always nice to see another Lightwave user!
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Old February 19th, 2007, 03:02 PM   #4
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Ive used both.
Ultra 2 is the fastest method. Render times are faster also.
Keylight is slow. Renders take forever especially in HDV. -Im talking 5 hours for 5 minutes of HDV footage on a Core 2 Duo processor. vs. 30 minutes for Ultra 2. This is my experience...
So your question is speed, versus quality. If you want to get the project done Ultra 2 can save you a lot of time. If you want the best quality results, well you need to spend time learning how to use After effects plug ins.

PS: DV garage, DVmatte pro for After effects is also a good plug-in that I use sometimes more than keylight.

In the end, its valuable to have both Keylight and Ultra 2.
Tyson X
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 05:36 AM   #5
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So all this vector-based keying talk about ultra 2 is not really helping the quality? I thought they had started some sort of revolution or something...
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