Chroma-key backdrops - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 5 Old 11-11-07, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
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Chroma-key backdrops

I am looking for some high quality professional studio backdrop. Backdrops that look like expensive news room sets, high end home interior, and things like that. Any help would be great.
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-12-07, 08:58 PM
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Re: Chroma-key backdrops

You can buy these on line just do a search for "Chroma-key backdrops" Your not going to find many that you can download for free as most of these are rendered images and or live recordings made to be used for real life video special effects.
You can grab a camera and take your own footage or take some stills and just upload them into your PC.
For keying The best and most cost effective way is to build a wall that has curved bottom, top and sides. This is so that its possible to have an image projected all the way around the subject without any shadows and corners. Good lighting is the key to getting the best image quality.
If you just want to do the "weatherman's" board just paint a section of wall the desired size and paint it Chroma-key green or blue, these colors are available at most high end paint stores.

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post #3 of 5 Old 11-13-07, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Chroma-key backdrops

Thanks for the suggestions.
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-16-07, 11:53 AM
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Re: Chroma-key backdrops

Curious, what are you using it for?
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-31-07, 03:56 PM
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Re: Chroma-key backdrops

Sonnie has been after me for a while now to lend a hand on your forum but I never felt right about it because it seems you all are so very well-informed already but this is a question I get alot from readers of and as well as CML. I'm a producer that is involved with a number of motion picture and television shows and so have a fair amount of experience in this arena after 23 years. So, with all due respect to a well-informed forum already, let me say that alot of green screen has to do with light, seams and whether or not you're shooting HD or SD. HD, because of the clarity of the image and the depth of the color is the most difficult to key but the most rewarding and unless your lighting is set perfectly, no matter the software you use, it simply won't come out well. Probably one of the best pro-sumer software products for a PC is Serious Magic or more precisely now Adobe Serious Magic. If you're using a high end Mac like most of us do, then there's a built in program with FCP Studio that works wonders. But the best way to start out is to understand the relationshop between light and lens and camera. There's an excellent expose on the black art of chroma keying by Charles Roberts entitled, "Chroma Key Basics for DV Guerillas Part 1" and I suggest it as reading for anyone considering chroma keying.
This will give you a broader view on this topic. But here are a few must-dos for a successful key.
1) First, use the best camera you can find. A 1/3" is OK but the imager isn't large enough to give sufficient color information nor latitude for an effective separation. Try going with at least a DVCPro 50, Digital Betacam or HDTV 1/2" or 2'3" chip set. While many people say film is best, and of course it is, I shoot almost exclusively with a pair of Sony XDCAM F350 for television and the results are outstanding. Yes, it's "only" a 1/2" imager but set up correctly, it has the latitude to do incredible stuff at a budget price. And yes, we use 2/3" Fujinon Cine-lenses but remember, a successful shot depends on the key relationships between three things; light, lens and camera.
2) Light your chroma scren as evenly and as flatly as possible. No hotspots and
3) Move your subjects as far away from the screen as practicable. The major ingredient for a successful key is to completely separate your subject from the backdrop lighting each individually. Your subject should be lit as you would expect to see him or her in that setting. 5600 for daylight and 3200 for interiors where there's incandescent lighting expected or seen in the shot.
4) Lock down your camera unless you're familiar with motion graphics and tracking such as that in After Effects. This and fly-away hair, dangling jewelry or shiny costumes are the number 2 most deadly enemies of keying right behind lighting.
5) Green works for video and blue works for film. It has to to with the chemistry of development but trust me, this is a cornerstone.
6) Use a good monitor to judge your shot. A camera's flip-out LCD or eyepiece isn't good enough for a realistic key. If you're going to rent anything, rent a Panasonic 24" or 26" monitor. They're what we use despite being sponsored by Sony because they're simply the best. You want to see exactly what your camera is seeing and a separate CALIBRATED monitor is the only way to get the job done.
7) Finally, no matter what anyone tells you, use a continuous roll. Seams will show. The material's cheaper when it's joined or seamed together but the question has to be, what's your shot worth? You're trying to sell the viewer under the idea of something called "Suspension of Disbelief" and that can only be accomplished where the viewer perceives your subject is actually in the setting that's behind him or her.
8) Finally, if you're shooting video, rent either a mini or Pro 35 to emulate film. The director want the viewer's attention drawn to the subject and one of the methods used is depth of field. In film, this is a simple matter of the correct choice of lens but in video, you have to create it. That is to say throw the background a little bit out of focus which draws the viewer's attention to that which is in focus; the subject. It also help immensely with your key.

The bottom line is that keying is a black art because you have to sell the viewer that he or she is really there so no matter the software you use, if the shot's not properly lit and all the other elements addressed, the audience won't buy it.
Cinematography is a very difficult thing to get right. It's simply not just a matter of what backdrop should I use. You have to know the principles you're dealing with and then, when you do, when it all comes together and you get the exact shot you want, than you have the only thing that exceeds the difficult of getting the shot you see in your mind...the shot itself.

If you're on the west coast, Filmtools is a great source for seamless green- or blue screen. On the east coast, call Abel Cine in Manhattan. Either way you go, I wish you the best of luck and I hope I didn't stick my nose in where it didn't belong.


backdrops , chromakey

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