How-to Key Green Screen Footage with Adobe After Effects [ReelRebel #50]

How to Key Green Screen Footage with Adobe After Effects [ReelRebel #50]

Want to get more creative with your videos? Green screen (chroma-key) editing is a standard technique in post-production that let's you layer, or swap out images within a video frame based on color hues (chroma).  This is most often used to remove or change the background of a frame (like in a weather newscast) but also can be used to exchange items and add imaginative content to a scene - ideal if you are on a budget or need a little something extra to jazz up your footage.

The opportunity for background creativity and animation in post-production is limitless IF and only if you can properly light, and then key out your green screen footage. So, let's get creative with our green screen editing skills and go through a brief tutorial on how to key out (A.K.A. "keying out" or just "key") green screen using Adobe's After Effects!

Keying Out the Green Screen (Tutorial)

Steps: Adobe After Effects

  1. Create a new composition in After Effects by dragging your video clip into the 'Composition' icon (you can send any footage you have in CS6 or CC to After Effects via a dynamic link)
  2. Under 'Effects & Presets' search for the term 'keylight' and apply to your video clip by double clicking it
  3. Now click the 'Screen Color' eye dropper tool and click on the green screen section of your image
  4. Now switch the view from 'Final Result' to 'Screen Matte'
  5. Scroll down to the 'Screen Matte' section and open the menu.
  6. Tweak the 'Clip Black' and 'Clip White' settings until the background is completely black and the foreground subject is completely white. Keep the 'Clip White' and 'Clip Black' settings as far away from each other as you can without introducing spotting
  7. Switch the view back to 'Final Result' and you will see a much cleaner key!
  8. You can also adjust the 'Screen Shrink/Grow' settings which should remove some of the rougher edges.

Tips:

  • Get it right first time: In order for a green screen to be used to it’s maximum potential it should be lit evenly with no wrinkles or dark spots on it.  Also your subject should be about 15 feet away from the background to avoid shadows or green spill.
  • Keying out the green screen is just as important as lighting your background.

More Chroma-Key/Green Screen Tutorials

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View The Full Video Transcript:

Hey I'm Stephen Schweickart with this episode of the Reel Rebel. Today I'm showing you an advanced editing technique that will help you get more creative with your videos. It's how to key green screen footage!

Flexibility, is something I’m not physically capable of, so I over compensate with my green screen skills. The opportunity for background creativity and animation in post-production is limitless IF and only if you can properly key your green screen footage.

Getting started, create a new composition by dragging your clip into the composition icon here… Or, if you’re working with CS6 or CC you can send your footage from Premiere to After Effects using a dynamic link. Then, under ‘Effects & Presets,’ Search for ‘Keylight,’ and apply it to your clip by double clicking it. Then click the ‘Screen Color’ eyedropper tool and click on the green screen portion of your image.

To get your best results, make sure your green screen is lit evenly with little to no creases or wrinkles.

Your next step is to switch the view from ‘Final Result’ to ‘Screen Matte.’ Scroll down to the ‘Screen Matte’ section and open the drop down arrow. From here, tweak the ‘Clip Black’ and ‘Clip White’ settings until the background is completely black and your subject is completely white. Make sure to keep the ‘Clip Black’ and ‘Clip White’ settings as far away from one another as possible without introducing spotting.

Switch the view back to ‘Final Result’ and you will see a cleaner key. You can also switch the ‘Replace Method’ to ‘Hard Color’ if you want to adjust the ‘Screen Shrink/Grow’ settings and remove any rough edges.

You should now have something decent to work with that allows you to incorporate rainbows, unicorns, or a limitless array of backgrounds.

What I just showed you is just the tip of the iceberg, you can make your key cleaner by adjusting your settings and exploring the additional options. Before you take off and start sub-planting friends and family into magical CGI forests, click the subscribe button below to keep up with my amazing video tips.

About the Author -
Mark Robertson is the Founder and Publisher of ReelSEO, an online information resource dedicated to the fusion of video, technology, social media, search, and internet marketing. He is a YouTube Certified, video marketing consultant and video marketing expert, popular speaker, and considered to be a passionate leader within the online video and search marketing industries. View All Posts By -

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