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Chapter 9. Applying Special Effects > About Chroma Key Controls

About Chroma Key Controls

Figure 9.61 contains Studio's Chroma key controls. Since they're unique to the Chroma key operation, I'll define them before getting started.

  • Key Color. The key color is the color you're eliminating from the Overlay video before superimposing the remaining segments into the Background video (e.g., the green wall against which the weatherperson is videotaped). As you'll see, you'll choose the key color by clicking the eyedropper beneath the Key Color text label, and then clicking the background in the Overlay video.

  • Color Tolerance. When shooting video for Chroma key, you shoot against a solid background, usually either cloth or a painted wall. Though you do your best to minimize them, there are always slight variations in the background color due to shadows or minor irregularities, like small wrinkles or folds in background cloth or dirt or paint strokes on painted walls. Increasing the color tolerance tells Studio to eliminate a broader range of colors, which helps eliminate these irregularities.

  • Saturation Minimum. This control increases and decreases the saturation value eliminated by the Chroma key. During my tests, I consistently produced the best result with this slider set all the way to the left.

  • Softness. According to the Studio help file, this slider controls “the density of the underlying video.” During my tests, I consistently produced the best result with this slider set all the way to the left.

  • Spill Suppression. In most Chroma key projects, some of the background color from the Overlay video “spills” onto the Background video, almost always at the edges between the two videos (e.g., some fringes of the green wall behind the weatherperson spill onto the weather map in the background). Spill Suppression turns this spillover to gray, making it much less noticeable. During my tests, I consistently produced the best result with this slider set all the way to the right.

  • Transparency. This control affects the transparency of the image in the Overlay track. Drag it to the right to make the image more transparent, à la Patrick Swayze in Ghost.

  • Enable Chroma Keying. This checkbox enables and disables Chroma keying.

  • Apply to New Clips. Checking this checkbox applies the same Chroma key values to all subsequent clips dragged into the Overlay track.

  • Key Channel. This provides another view of the effectiveness of the Chroma key controls. When the background is completely black and the edges clean, and the foreground clear of black specs, the controls are set to their optimum positions.


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