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  • Sat, Jun 13 2009 2:11 AM

    • Johnla
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    BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

    Achieving a convincing chroma key composite is more than just slapping in a background and keying a foreground. It requires the use of integration techniques to marry the image elements together to give the impression they were shot with the same camera at the same time. This five-part tutorial demonstrates how to build a chroma key composite using Boris Continuum Complete (BCC) AVX plug-ins inside Avid Media Composer. Compositing tips will be shared and you will see just how easy it is to nest and pass a matte to multiple BCC effects in your segment. The end result will be a seamless composite.

    Filters covered:

    • BCC Chroma Key
    • BCC Matte Choker
    • BCC HSL (Hue-Saturation-Lightness)
    • BCC Lightwrap

     

    Click the videos below to play the tutorial. A full text transcription is included below each video.

     

    Part 1:

     

    Clips

    First, let’s take a look at our clips. Our foreground is a toddler in a frog suit. He is in our V2 track. We’ll be compositing him over a tiled wall background in the V1 track.

    Let’s begin by going to the Effect Palette. Inside the BCC Keys and Matte category we’ll drag the BCC Chroma Key icon to the foreground track of our multi-layer segment in the timeline.

    Enter Effect Mode

    Notice the foreground is already keyed - that was easy wasn’t it? That’s because our key color is set to blue at default. That’s okay, but we want to be more precise than that. So, we’ll sample our blue from the bluescreen.

    Pulling the Key

    The first thing we want to do, is click the Bypass button, which is located at the top of the Effect Editor controls. This will turn off the effect so we can see our bluescreen again.

    To sample the color, let’s go down to the Color control, which contains a color palette and an eyedropper tool. Hover over the color swatch until it turns into an eyedropper, grab it, and drag it up to the Effect Preview Monitor. We're going to sample the blue closest to the boy's hairline - since the face will be the focal point, we want that area to be keyed well.

    We’ll go back to our controls and click Bypass again, and there is our composite in progress. In case you’re curious and you want to view the matte we just created, set the output to Show Matte. This will help you see any problems in the matte that you may have missed when in Output Composite mode. You can see that the white foreground is opaque and the black background is transparent, which means we’ve pulled a pretty good key. If that isn't the case with your key, BCC Chroma Key offers several tools to help you clean up, adjust, and nail that perfect key. Those parameters are explained in detail in the BCC Chroma Key help document, which can be launched by pressing the Filter Help button near the top of the Effect Controls. By the way, all BCC filters contain their own help docs, which can be accessed by pressing that button.

     

    Part 2:

     

    Spill Removal

    Now that we keyed our foreground and established a pretty good matte, the next thing we want to do is remove any blue spill that might be reflecting from the blue backing onto our foreground subject. Change the output menu back to composite.

    Why don’t we zoom in a little bit here so we can get a closer look at our toddler. You can see some blue spill on the edges of the frog suit. Now, we can reduce that spill by lowering the Spill Ratio control, which is located in the Spill Suppression group. It’s important to make small adjustments here though, as you may end up turning your foreground subject yellow.

    Here’s a tip when correcting blue spill on people – always look at the face. If they are looking a bit jaundiced as a result of a previous adjustment, take the Tone Mix control down a little bit to bring back a healthier looking flesh tone to your subject.

    Fixing a Problem Matte

    Most often the case, you’ll have a first-pass matte that has unwanted holes in areas that should be opaque. Adjusting parameters like the Density control in BCC Chroma Key can help fix that, but doing so, can also “fatten” the matte resulting in a degraded edge or Matte Line around your foreground. To fix this problem, we’re going to add a BCC Matte Choker filter.

    Before we add the Matte Choker effect, let's untwirl the Title Matte parameter group in the BCC Chroma Key controls and select Multifilter Start. You'll notice the bluescreen suddenly appear - that is normal. This action will allow us to nest this segment and add more filters.

    Inside the Effect Palette, navigate to the BCC Keys and Matte category and Alt-drag the BCC Matte Choker filter and drop it on the foreground track.

    Now, let's untwirl the Title Matte parameter group inside the Matte Choker controls and select Multifilter End. We now have a BCC nested effect.

    Inside the Nest

    Here is a diagram that shows our BCC Nest within our segment. Our background tile wall is here in the V1 track, and our foreground toddler is in the V2 track. Also in the V2 track, are the BCC Effects we’ve applied so far: Chroma Key and Matte Choker. Since we only have two effects right now, Avid assumes it is a first and last effect. That is why we set our filters to Multifilter Start and Multifilter End. As we add more filters to the nest, those settings will need to change, as I’ll explain later.

    Getting back to our matte problem that we’re going to try to fix with BCC Matte Choker.
    At default, it looks like the values are doing their job a little bit too well. So, let’s lower the Blur 1 control, and Choke 1 control slightly, and that should give us a nice looking edge with no matte line.

     

    Part 3:

     

    Color Balancing

    The next aspect of our composite to think about - is color. Does the foreground fit into the background colorwise? Almost. So, we need to add another filter.

    Before we do that, let’s go to the BCC Matte Choker controls in the Title Matte parameter group and select the Multifilter Mid checkbox. Once you select Multifilter Mid, the image no longer displays composited over the background. For this reason, while you adjust your middle filters, it helps to select the Multifilter End checkbox so you can see the result as it should be seen. Then when you're finished adjusting, select Multifilter Mid again and your nest is ready for a new filter.

    Inside the Effect Palette, if you navigate to the BCC Colors and Blurs category, you’ll see a bunch of color filters available at our disposal. Each one has their place, but the one that will best serve us right now will be the BCC Hue-Saturation-Lightness, or HSL effect. Alt-drag that filter onto our foreground V2 track.

    Whenever we do color balancing, it’s always a good idea to see the foreground composited over the background because that’s what we’re color matching to. So, let’s go to the Effect Editor, inside the Title Matte parameter group and set Multifilter to End so we can see it over the background.

    Whoa. That frog suit just jumps off that background; so, we should desaturate it a bit. Let’s go to the Saturation control and lower that. That looks better. Always remember to look at the flesh tones, and our toddler is looking a little magenta, so we’ll shift the Hue on him a bit. There we go.

     

    Part 4:

     

    Making it Seamless

    Next, we're going to add one of my favorite BCC effects, the BCC Light Wrap filter. I really like this effect because it adds to the realism of a composite by creating an edge matte that allows the background image to be reflected around the border of the foreground image – and this results in a very seamless composite.

    As always, before adding a new filter, we need to go into the existing filter and inside the Title Matte parameter group, select Multifilter Mid. Now we’re ready to add BCC Light Wrap. So, let’s go to the Effect Palette, inside the Keys and Matte category, and Alt-drag the BCC Light Wrap filter and drop it on the foreground V2 track.

    Inside the Effect Editor, let’s untwirl the Title Matte parameter group of the Light Wrap controls and select Multifilter End. Since this is the last filter we’re going to use in our nest, we can just keep it set to End.

    How does all that look inside our nest? From the bottom of the nest, we can see the first effect we applied – BCC Chroma Key. Then on top of that, we stacked our middle filters – BCC Matte Choker and BCC HSL, both set to Multifilter Mid. And, the icing on the cake, our last filter, is BCC Light Wrap set to Multifilter End.

    Getting back to the Light Wrap effect, it should be working right at default. To see that, let’s change the View menu to Wrap On Black and you’ll see the edge matte that was just created.

    Let's change the view back to Normal and go back to the controls. I'm going to back off a bit on the wrap effect because the hands are looking a little muddied. Go to the Width control and bring that value down slightly while we watch the hands.

    Change the View back to Wrap On Black, we have less of an effect applied, we can see it right there, and then we’ll change the view back to Normal.

     

    Part 5:

     

    A Last Detail

    For a final touch we’re going to add a drop shadow to our toddler. We could use the BCC Drop Shadow filter located inside the BCC Effects category, but why would we? All of the BCC keying and matte filters contain drop shadow capability that conveniently allows us to add a shadow effect during any of our matte-key processes. So, with that in mind, lets go to the Effect Editor and scroll down to the bottom of the BCC Light Wrap controls where we’ll see a Drop Shadow parameter group. Untwirl it and select Enable Drop Shadow. Right out of the box the drop shadow looks pretty good, so no need for adjustment.

    And, there’s our composite showing all of the nested effects applied. We achieved our goal of getting the foreground to fit into that background environment. But don’t stop here! Feel free to experiment and add more BCC filters to your nest. For example, if your blue or green screen was shot using a Red One HD camera, but your background was shot on 35 millimeter film, add a BCC Match Grain filter to your nest to add grain to your clean Red footage.

    That’s just one of many solutions BCC can offer you, the Avid Editor. This has been John Lafauce for Avid Technology.

     

    BCC filters come bundled with Avid Media Composer, Avid Newscutter and Avid Symphony.

     

    Johnla

     

     

  • Sat, Jun 20 2009 4:18 PM In reply to

    • Marianna
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    Re: BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

    Thanks for that very informative series of tutorials, John.

    Regards,
    Douglas

    Director of Online Communities and Forums/Customer Advocate [view my complete system specs]

    marianna.montague@avid.com

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  • Mon, Jun 22 2009 1:58 PM In reply to

    • SandmanX82
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    Re: BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

    Awesome work. We definitely need this kind of stuff.  There seems to be plenty of tutorials on all the basic avid functions and shortcuts and stuff, but the fact is that Avids now come with BCC, Avid FX, Avid DVD, etc....so learning those things as well would be beneficial to all.  More tools that most people own that they can now start to implement if they knew more about them.  Thanks for getting the ball rolling and keep up the cool tutorials.

     

  • Mon, Jun 22 2009 2:28 PM In reply to

    • Johnla
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    Re: BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

    Hi Douglas and David:

    Glad you liked the tutorial. Next time I will give you better audio. Big Smile

    Hopefully there will be more tutorial contributions from Avid staff and the user community on the 3rd party bundled software. Everyone has some trick or technique that they can share and offering it in a tutorial format really puts 'workflow' in a context people can understand - much more so than by reading a help doc.

    Titling in Avid FX is one that has been mentioned. When I get a chance, that is next on the plate.

    Cheers,

    John

     

     

     

    Johnla

     

     

  • Wed, Jun 24 2009 8:26 PM In reply to

    • schnittman
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    Re: BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

    These are of great help.  There is so much under the hood in BCC that it's great to see someone doing a little hand-holding over at Avid.

  • Fri, Jul 10 2009 2:25 AM In reply to

    • pgh1138
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    Re: BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

    Hello,

    I am having trouble nesting the BCC effects, when I apply the Matte choker it overwrites the chroma key filter. I followed the tutorials to the letter. Anyone have any ideas why this is so?

     

    Thanks,

    Tom

    HP xw8400, 2.6 Dual Xeon, 4 gigs RAM, Service Pack 2, Nividia Quadro FX 1500, Forceware Version: 169.47, 150 gig 7200rpm SATA boot drive, MC 3.0... [view my complete system specs]

     

  • Fri, Jul 10 2009 2:03 PM In reply to

    • Johnla
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    Re: BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

     

     

    Did you Alt-Drag (or option-Drag for Mac) BCC Matte Choker before you dropped it onto the clip? If you don't Alt-drag, it will overwrite the existing effect.

    Johnla

     

     

  • Wed, Jul 14 2010 2:02 PM In reply to

    • Dan E.
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    Re: BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

    John,

    I can't thank you enough for this tutorial.  Wow!  I had been beating my head against the wall trying to make SprectraMatte work for me (on a better lit wall it may have) but BCC Chroma Key and the recommended filtering performed a miracle. 

    I never would have been able to figure out how to use this toolset without your tutorial.  I'm not a"go to the manual first" kind of guy, tutorials like this are extremely helpful to me.


    Thanks again!

    Avid Media Composer ver. 3.1.3 Mojo SDI I/O with Sony DSR-2000 DVCAM deck HP xw8200 Dual Xeon 3.40GHz 4G RAM Windows XP Pro Version 2002 SP 2 NVIDIA... [view my complete system specs]

    Dan, Clearwater, FL

    ---------------

    Avid Media Composer ver. 3.1.3
    Mojo SDI I/O with Sony DSR-2000 DVCAM deck.
    HP xw8200
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    4G RAM
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  • Fri, Sep 9 2011 8:15 PM In reply to

    • M3gF
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    Re: BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

    John,

    This tutorial has been a great help to me the past year, so first off thanks for making my life so much easier and my work look stellar!

    However, we just got upgraded to MC 5.5 and Boris 7, and upon the transition I am no longer able to acheive the happy nest. The application will not show the desired result even on a test render. What it shows is black where the background image should be punching through. The issue revealed itself when I had to go back to an old project from last week that was working and had to make a scaling adjustment to the talent. As soon as I modified one of the parameters inside of the nest the area that needed to become invisible and was invisible turned black. If I hit undo the issue would resolve itself. I also have tried creating a new project folder and creating a new nest from scratch to no avail.

    I am sending this project out to AVID to have them see if they can find a solution but also wanted to ask you to see if you have had any experience with the upgraded suites.

    Any help and wisdom would be appreciated.Confused

  • Mon, Sep 12 2011 3:58 PM In reply to

    • Johnla
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    Re: BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

    Some questions:

    • What version of BCC were you using and what version of MC prior to your upgrade?
    • Are you using previously saved BCC effects (e.g. dragging the relevant BCC effect icon from the Effect Editor to your bin) or internal BCC presets from earlier versions of MC andf BCC?
    • Or, are you applying everything new in MC 5.5 and Boris 7?

    Johnla

     

     

  • Thu, Sep 29 2011 6:17 PM In reply to

    • M3gF
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    Re: BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

    John,

    Thanks for getting back to me sorry for the delay. to answer your questions:

    1. What version of BCC were you using and what version of MC prior to your upgrade?
      -   
      We were on BCC 3.0 and MC 5.0.3
    2. Are you using previously saved BCC effects (e.g. dragging the relevant BCC effect icon from the Effect Editor to your bin) or internal BCC presets from earlier versions of MC andf BCC?
      -   
      Tried both ways. Had saved all of the separate bcc effects in a bin previous to upgrades. deleted the nest from the SEQ when issue popped up, then renested using the bin saved
    3. Or, are you applying everything new in MC 5.5 and Boris 7? 
      - When the previous did not work, tried starting fresh with effects from the effect editor list again following all the steps in the tutorial. No dice.

    I have been noodling around with it, and have found though that the nesting "conflict" seems to arise when the first bcc plug in, the BCC Chroma Key, which shows at the bottom of the nested effect in the effect editor hierarchy, is assigned to Multifiller Start. If it is left as multifiller end it will show the key correctly. By doing this however, am I correct in noticing that all following bcc effects, Matte choker, HSL, and Lightwrap will not even be shown even if they are in the nest because the assignment is set to "end " at the very first effect?

     

  • Thu, Sep 29 2011 7:33 PM In reply to

    • Johnla
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    Re: BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

    Here's a little background on the Multifilter Start, Multifilter Mid and Multifilter End controls. These were designed by Boris to get around a limitation in Media Composer where it could not conveniently pass alpha information between effects. If you apply the Chroma Key to a foreground (V2) that is over a background (V1) in the sequence, it should key automatically. You only need to touch the Start, Mid or End controls in the Title Matte group if you intend to apply multiple effects AND preserve the alpha generated by the Chroma Key.

    Here is a Boris doc I found that outlines the steps you need to take, which is along the lines of what I put in the tutorial:

    http://borisfx.cachefly.net/borisfx/download_files/BCC3_Avid_tutorial.pdf

    Now, if you are following the steps correctly and it still does not work, then it is probably a bug. Right now, there is a new bug where this passing of alpha between certain BCC effects broke in Media Composer 5.5.3. It worked fine in Media Composer 5.5.2. It has been brought to the attention of our engineers. I hope that helps.

    Johnla

     

     

  • Mon, Oct 10 2011 11:26 PM In reply to

    • Bob Curran
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    Re: BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

    Johnla:

    Now, if you are following the steps correctly and it still does not work, then it is probably a bug. Right now, there is a new bug where this passing of alpha between certain BCC effects broke in Media Composer 5.5.3. It worked fine in Media Composer 5.5.2. It has been brought to the attention of our engineers. I hope that helps.

    I hope this is a bug, or I'm losing my mind.  I have two newly installed 5.5.3 MCs on Mac 10.7, stepped through your tutorial on both machines and everytime I option add the choker effect and select multifilter end, I cannot see the background.  The greenscreen stays.  In addition, adjusting parameters on the choker effect have no effect on the video.  Can't see any changes.  And it's not just the choker effect, I've tried a few, same result.  I hope this gets resolved soon, I need a good keyer.  Thanks for the tutorial though, very helpful.

    Bob

  • Tue, Oct 11 2011 1:43 PM In reply to

    • Johnla
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    Re: BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

    It is a bug. I suggest rolling back to MC 5.5.2 or find an alternative way of assembling your composite. If you can't roll back the editor SW then I would do your composite in Avid FX, which contains the same BCC filters that you want to use.

    Johnla

     

     

  • Thu, Oct 20 2011 8:54 PM In reply to

    • Johnla
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    Re: BCC Chroma Keying Workflow in Avid Media Composer

     

    If you encounter this bug and rolling back the editor version or using Avid FX are not options, you can always do your chroma keying composite with Avid filter effects (like SpectraMatte). Steps are more involved but it can be done. Here is a KB I wrote which explains how: 

    http://avid.force.com/pkb/LegacySearch?DocId=276609

    Johnla

     

     

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