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Chroma Key - Podcasting Tips

I've been wanting to play with the Chroma Key features of my video editing, but I haven't really spent time on it. Today was the day that I tried it, and it worked out pretty good.

With snow coming down outside, I needed to shoot in the basement. I have some space set up there with a desk, but in front of the desk I have my homemade teleprompter. It works great, but it requires a laptop or computer to feed the text. On my camera I have the ProPrompter Wing, which works with an iPhone or iTouch, and it's what I use outside. Today I didn't want to bring everything downstairs, just the camera, so I had to find a new place to shoot.

There's a futon couch near the desk. I always wanted to use that for some podcasts, but never got drywall behind it. I was about to put drywall up today when I decided to grab my green fabric and make a green screen behind me. It could be a background, but I wanted to try and get an image back there. So I shot the podcast with it in the background, behind the couch.

When I started editing, I grabbed this still:


It looked like it would make a nice background, and I thought it would fit with my mountain image.

My podcast looked like this when I was done:


Not very exciting? And not a solid background, but I'll work on that.

My typical method of editing is to put the video in the main track and then ad images as overlay tracks. In this case, I added the image I wanted as the overlay track as shown below.


Then when I selected the Chroma Key option for the image, I ended up with this:


Not quite what I had in mind. Something was wrong, but none of the settings I worked with made sense, or got things working. So I searched around on the web. There were a few places that would offer to show me how to use VisualStudio, but for a price. I don't mind paying, but I thought this was simple, and it should be easy.

So I went to the Corel site. I found this tutorial on multiple images, and it was what I wanted. Basically I needed to reverse things. The green screen is the overlay, not the main track. That was easy enough to switch and test. I did, and it worked fine. I set them up as shown here:


However there's an issue. I typically have lots of editing to do. I never get one take down, and I've stopped trying. So that means I cut the clips up. That works fine as I move them around on the main track. The slide to the left and fill space. However in the overlay track they don't. That means I need to find a new way of editing.

For today I edited as normal, and then slid all tracks down to the overlay and placed the images above them. Here's what the final podcast looks like in a still image.


Pretty cool, huh? Looks like I'm outside, sorta. It's a little cheesy, and I'm looking to get some better footage that I can slip back there. I'll try some other scenes for the future, and I'll be looking to make a large green screen so I can stand in front of it, with a large image.

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Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


Posted by Andy Warren on 25 September 2009

Yes, I'd rate that as pretty cool! Not sure how much it adds, but I'll wait to see. Still think you need a "real" news desk.

Posted by Steve Jones on 25 September 2009

Working on a real desk, albeit slowly. Did rearrange a few things this week and ordered a green screen to get going. The background has been a pretty good impediment up until now.

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