25 Replies Latest reply on Sep 25, 2016 8:59 AM by Jo2602

    Question About Green Screen Background Footage

    Jo2602

      Hello. I am new to Green Screening, so i'm sure this is a no-brainer for a lot of you guys, but i really have no idea what to do, and can't find an answer online anywhere, no matter how i word the question. Basically, I shot a clip in front of a green screen and downloaded an mov stock video for the background, but when i imported everything into AE, i saw that my background was WAY too short. My footage is 13 minutes long, and the background video is only about 20 seconds ha. So what would you suggest i do? do I loop the background footage? And, if so, how do you do that? OR, is there somewhere, online, where i can find longer background footage (i just want a simple outdoor scene, but it seems so hard to find anything that is 1920x1080, and free)? OR, am i supposed to just shoot it myself? Where do most people find their backgrounds for greens screen footage? I feel like there is something I'm missing... :-/

       

      Anyway, any help is appreciate!!

       

      Thanks,

      J

        • 1. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          A 13 minute green screen shot is awfully long for anything except a presentation video. My first suggestion is to pre-edit your footage to just the parts you are going to use in the final edit and then do the compositing as a last step instead of a first step. Most of my comps are one shot and under seven seconds.

           

          Second, if you really need to stretch background footage you may be able to use Time Remapping or AE's speed controls in the timeline to extend the length of the footage. If there is movement in the shot this may not work. Another technique is to create a new comp that is long enough to be the background and then add your footage to that comp, duplicate the layer as many times as needed and create a transition like an opacity fade between the layers to create a seamless dissolve. Here again, if there is a lot of movement in the scene then this technique can be problematic.

           

          Another option is to turn your background movie into a still frame by using the Layer>Time>Freeze Frame function from the Menu. This may be your easiest option.

           

          Think about cutting up the shot before you do any further processing. There is never a reason to spend time processing frames that you'll never use in your production.

          • 2. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
            Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            There are lots of tutorials out there for looping footage, so you could do that. A better option would be to go shoot it yourself. That way you can match the lighting and color much more accurately to what you are trying to do.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
              Roei Tzoref Adobe Community Professional

              My footage is 13 minutes long,

              one shot 13 minutes? seems unlikely but could be. if it's not then bare in mind editing in Ae is very inefficient. you should really do editing in an NLE software. premiere is a good option

               

              the background video is only about 20 seconds ha. So what would you suggest i do?do I loop the background footage? And, if so, how do you do that?

              that depends. if you play the footage back to back does it loop seamlessly? or do you notice a jump? making a background loopable all depends on what you have - it could be a complex compositing task or it could be that you can just play it over and over... we don't know, we need to see the background.

               

              OR, am i supposed to just shoot it myself? Where do most people find their backgrounds for greens screen footage? I feel like there is something I'm missing

              shooting yourself is an option if you have the gear. the term "background for greenscreen" is a bit loose in your case because you say you need just a street. not a CG or something like that. so basically you just need a background. any of the stock footage sites will do.

               

              if we had more information, we could give you more accurate advice.

              • 4. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                Jo2602 Level 1

                Thanks for your reply. Just curious. Why do you say that a 13 minute clip is too long for green screen? I shoot short movies, so it had to be 13 minutes. In the future, would you suggest just shooting a small part with the green screen? To me, it doesn't seem to matter if its only one background shot the entire clip anyway..

                 

                There is movement in my shot, so i'm not sure that other option would work. I will probably just go shoot the background myself.

                 

                Also, normally when i use AE, i first bring my footage into Premier, and then dynamically link a small section (the section i'm applying effects to) into AE, and then go back to Premier to render. Would that still hold true when keying green screen footage? Or would i jut render if from AE?

                • 5. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                  Jo2602 Level 1

                  i am not sure i understand your reply. What 'seems unlikely"?

                   

                  And what other info do you need? Just ask em and i'll be happy to tell you..

                  • 6. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                    Roei Tzoref Adobe Community Professional
                    What 'seems unlikely"?

                    unlikely that it's one shot/take of 13 minutes that all of it needs one long background. one long shot of 13 minutes. instead of a clip that contains many shots edited together. what I mean to say is that if this is a clip, if you need to edit your clip then you do this in an NLE software because managing the edits and refining your cuts is much easier there. Rick always says and I agree: After Effects is for creating Shots, not Editing Movies. later I see your response

                    Also, normally when i use AE, i first bring my footage into Premier, and then dynamically link a small section (the section i'm applying effects to) into AE, and then go back to Premier to render.

                    this is more likely - that you would take segments - just the part you need - to Ae. so my question is - is this part 13 minutes long one take that need 13 minute long take background? because if it's not, you can use different segments of a footage background and not worry about looping anything. (unless it's very short and you can see detect repeating elements over and over: same car driving in the background, same man walking etc.)

                     

                    Would that still hold true when keying green screen footage? Or would i jut render if from AE?

                    if it's just greenscreen, premiere also has a good keyer. if the shot requires compositing, then you should export your shot to Ae, work on it, and bring it back rendered.

                    And what other info do you need? Just ask em and i'll be happy to tell you..

                    what does your greenscreen footage contain and how the background looks, maybe even your timeline. if we know more we can help more

                    • 7. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                      Dave LaRonde Level 6

                      ...There is movement in my shot...

                       

                      Now there's a red flag.  How much movement?  Is this hand-held video?  Do you need the movement in the background to perfectly match the movement in the shot?

                       

                      And why is the shot 13 minutes long?  "I shoot short movies" isn't exactly a justification for such a long duration. Please elaborate.

                       

                      All things considered, I would recommend that you use what you have as test footage.  See if it will key well for you.  Discover the pitfalls you may not have considered prior to shooting.  Then take the lessons you learn and apply then to a re-shoot.  I fear you you entered this project very unprepared.

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                        Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        I think what we are saying about the 13 minutes is that in most cases if you want an interesting movie that actually tells a compelling story a single 13 minute shot is usually not the way to accomplish the task. It depends on what you are doing.

                         

                        As for Dynamic Link and Premiere Pro, here's what works the best for me. If the shot is going to be simple, like adding a single simple element or doing a very simple composite and the edit is relatively simple I'll use dynamic link to do what cannot easily be done in Premiere Pro. BTW, you can pull the same quality keys that you see on your local news when the weather guy is on inside Premiere Pro. If you just want to replace the background on a 13 minute video with a static shot I'd do it in Premiere way before I would do it in AE. It will render in about 1/4 the time.

                         

                        If the shot is complex, for example I am cutting the opening sequence for a feature film right now and the sequence for the open involves 8 shots that have been rough cut in Prmiere Pro. These 8 shots are all slowed down so that 1 second in real time takes 3 to 4 seconds of screen time. 5 of the 8 shots require motion tracking, roto, compositing, serious color grading and some serious layering. I'm not even going to talk about the audio - which is equally as complex. Every one of the original less than 3 second original shots was brought into AE as a separate comp, tracked, composited, time stretched and polished as a single shot with handles, rendered and brought back into Premiere Pro as rendered footage to be cut into the opening sequence. When the opening sequence - was approved with some place holder text for titles, the entire sequence was brought back into AE and the animated titles will be added to picture.

                         

                        So the short answer for me is - simple and short - Dynamic Link is fine, Complicated - Dynamic Link is a big no no.

                         

                        I would never put my name on a 13 minute movie with one shot and a static background. I couldn't afford to be associated with film that I did not take the time to tell the story in the most compelling way it could be told.

                        • 9. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                          Jo2602 Level 1

                          i didnt write the movie/clip. Customers hire me, and I shoot what they ask for, and this was 13 minutes. For the type of content i shoot, this is what works. Since you have no idea what it is, I'd appreciate you not insulting me. Not all "films" are the same.

                           

                          So you are saying you can key Green Screen footage in Premiere and dont need AE? If that's the case, why use AE at all for gs?

                          • 10. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                            Jo2602 Level 1

                            Hi Roei,

                             

                            Is there any way I could privately message you?

                             

                            Thanks,

                            J

                            • 11. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                              Roei Tzoref Adobe Community Professional

                              I encourage you to hang in the thread so that other users may get help from your post responses and thread, but most importantly - I definitely don't know all the answers. you are lucky to get most of our elite force right here in your thread, yet sometimes, on occasion, some tend to be blunt. we love them and we need them. if you want to PM anyone here you just hover over the name and you will see this:

                              you are welcome to, but I encourage you to stay here

                              • 12. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                                Jo2602 Level 1

                                Ok thank you. Honestly, being blunt about HOW i'm editing is one thing. But to be blunt about what i have filmed (and to take the subject away from original question) is rude and uncalled for. I am not the type to be impressed by names and frankly have no idea who any of these people are anyway. I am a beginner and just want to learn how to do this right, and my first choice of a mentor, is someone patient, understanding of my lack of experience and willing to explain things to me plainly, and nonjudgmental.

                                • 13. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  I'm not trying to insult you. I'm trying to give you pointers that will make you successful. A 13 minute shot of one person standing in front of a static background isn't very interesting unless they are a fabulous presenter that needs nothing other than a venue.

                                   

                                  If all you have is one 13 minute shot and you need to replace the background, as I said, the most efficient way to pull the key and replace the background is in Premiere Pro. Make your background movie a still frame, or loop it, or shoot or get another shot and be done with it in a few minutes instead of a few hours. If your presenter is amazing, you're done. If the story the presenter is trying to tell needs support you can insert graphics and other materials right inside Premiere Pro.

                                   

                                  I've been to several one man shows. I once spent an evening with Hal Holbrook doing Mark Twain. Hal Holbrook in "Mark Twain Tonight!" (1967) - YouTube and it was fabulous. One man, one set, an entire evening live - because of the skill of Hal Holbrook. But if I were to make a film about the shot I'd probably use 2 cameras, maybe 3 and do some cutting just like they did in this video.

                                  • 14. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                                    Jo2602 Level 1

                                    @Dave

                                    Now there's a red flag.  How much movement?  Is this hand-held video?  Do you need the movement in the background to perfectly match the movement in the shot?

                                       How much movement for background? very slight.. but i am open to switching to a different background. i just     need a simple, outdoor (in the park) shot.

                                     

                                    And why is the shot 13 minutes long?  "I shoot short movies" isn't exactly a justification for such a long duration. Please elaborate.

                                       Because that is the amount of time it took to shoot the script i was sent, by a customer.

                                     

                                    All things considered, I would recommend that you use what you have as test footage.  See if it will key well for you.  Discover the pitfalls you may not have considered prior to shooting.  Then take the lessons you learn and apply then to a re-shoot.  I fear you you entered this project very unprepared.

                                        Yes, I should've just shot this without a green screen, this time. Ive used the green screen, before, for short     tests, and it worked out fine, so i thought it would be fine this time as well. Do you have any suggestions of how i can still salvage this clip, and key out the green background in some way? it doesn't have to be anything fancy.

                                    • 15. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                                      Roei Tzoref Adobe Community Professional

                                      if it's possible, send screenshots so we can see what you are dealing with. if it's private, then blur or pixelate your subject. it would be even better if we could see some of the footage too.

                                      • 16. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                                        Dave LaRonde Level 6

                                        I am a beginner and just want to learn how to do this right, and my first choice of a mentor, is someone patient, understanding of my lack of experience and willing to explain things to me plainly, and nonjudgmental.

                                         

                                        Very well.  Then we must ask diagnostic questions:

                                        • Did you do any research on proper chroma key shooting and lighting techniques prior to the shoot?
                                        • What kind of camera did you use, and what is the media container & codec of the footage?
                                        • Have you ever played around with chroma key effects at all?
                                        • You say there is movement in the shot.  Can you describe the nature of this movement?
                                        • Were there tracking marks on the chroma key background to facilitate motion tracking this movement?
                                        • Can you describe the chroma key setup you used for the shoot?  Particularly the lighting, and the subject's distance from the chroma key background?
                                        • 17. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                                          Jo2602 Level 1

                                          I'll answer your questions to the best of my knowledge...

                                           

                                          • yes, i did do SOME research, a few weeks ago, and thought i had a grasp on it. i shot something already and it came out fine. Please note, thought, that i can only use the lights that i HAVE.
                                          • Cannon Vixia R500... AVCHD, MTS files, 1920x1080
                                          • yes, i made a few simple test clips, which i thought were a breeze to do
                                          • I'm not sure WHAT you are asking might have movement- the footage i shot or the background? My footage has a lot of movement; the background has very subtle (bus driving by, breeze blowing)
                                          • I'm not sure what you mean by tracking marks..?
                                          • 2 subjects- one in a chair, and one standing...both very close (maybe 5 inches?) from backdrop....4 Photo Studio lights, 120v, 45w-2 on each side.. Although I'm not sure i understand how the set up affects MY particular question (re lengthening the background footage)? If i am missing something, though, please let me know.

                                           

                                          Thanks.

                                          • 18. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                                            Jo2602 Level 1

                                            You can't give me pointers if you have no idea what type of content i am shooting and why. I don't want to be a famous cinematographer or produce feature films. I just want to add effects to small clips that i make for my business, and i have a lot to learn about AE, and thought this forum would be full of people that want to help. I also don't care if what i am shooting is boring to most people, because i am shooting it for one specific genre of people, that i know won't think it is boring.

                                            • 19. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                                              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              We are not trying to offend or criticize your work, we are only trying to help you do a good job. You need to grow a little thicker skin. If all you want to do is lengthen the background footage then I answered that with several solutions in my first post.

                                               

                                              My second post answered questions about using Dynamic Link. Short and simple = OK, long shots like your 13 minute shot, probably not a very good idea because as I said in my third post:

                                               

                                              The easiest way to replace the background in a green screen shot and the fastest way to render it by far is to do all the work in Premiere Pro. Premiere has a very adequate keyed for simple shots that don't require a bunch of advanced keying techniques like light wrap or color matching the replacement background or simulating lighting effects from the background.

                                               

                                              Roei and Dave have also made good suggestions and asked you some reasonable questions to help us help you.

                                               

                                              You said in your post from 2:17 PM Pacific time (two up):

                                              • "I'm not sure WHAT you are asking might have movement- the footage i shot or the background? My footage has a lot of movement; the background has very subtle (bus driving by, breeze blowing)"

                                              Here are some facts about green screen and camera movement. Unless you set up some way to track the camera movement in your shot your subjects are going to look like they are floating around in an unnatural way. That's why Dave asked about Tracking Markers and why he said "red flag." Your only option for fixing the floating problem without some way to track the camera movement is to try and animate the position of the replacement background by hand or remove all of the background detail by using something like a plain white background. I have done a bunch of green screen work with fixed and moving cameras and it takes planning to make those shots look right. Even locked off cameras can give you problems in compositing if you don't pay attention the the camera angles and the lighting in the replacement background. (It's called a background plate in the industry).

                                               

                                              From your description of the shot and the kind of replacement background you want to put in I think the best option would be to take your camera out and point it in the same general direction that the light was falling on the two folks in your green screen footage (foreground plate), put it on a tripod and lock it off, and let it run for 13 minutes. Now you've solved your background plate too short problem. If there are parts of the shot that you really hate because the actors look like they are floating in space then you'll have to try another fix that either involves animating the position of the background plate, cutting the shot, or using different footage or a solid color for the background plate.

                                               

                                              If you get another job like this and you have the time, the best option would be to shoot three good takes, one with both actors, one that is a medium close up of the first actor at an angle that will allow you to do a good cut from the wide shot, and a third as a medium close up of the second actor at an appropriate camera angle to allow you to cut between the wide shot and the close up of the second actor. You'll end up with a better product in the long run and one that is easier to edit if editing is required. If you want to do the one take thing and use a green screen then put the camera on a tripod and lock it off. If you have to have camera movement in the shot, even panning and zooming in to each actor as they speak, then you need to study up on tracking and put some tracking markers on the green screen. This is going to take a lot more planning.

                                               

                                              I just thought of a third option - Don't worry about the floating actors and shoot a background that is mostly out of focus to simulate a shadow depth of field. This may cover up enough errors that you won't have to worry that much about the floating in space problem.

                                              • 20. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                                                Jo2602 Level 1

                                                You were the only one who actually offended me. I know you weren't trying, but it sounded that way, especially because you were deviating from the topic and concentrating on the length of my clip.

                                                 

                                                But, anyway, i still appreciate your help. I honestly didn't realize that moving the camera would cause that floating issue. I see exactly what you mean now. Im not skilled enough to animate the position of the replacement background, so i'll just have to work with what i can do, for now.

                                                 

                                                When I shoot again using the green screen, i will take all  of your advice and apply it. But, for this particular clip, would i be able to use a static image for the background and have to last 13 minutes? Or, possibly, change the color of the green to black or white? This video doesn't have to look 100% realistic. I just don't want the green screen as the background

                                                • 21. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                                                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                  If the floating problem is bad I would just put your key in premier and put a white solid behind it.

                                                  • 22. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                                                    Jo2602 Level 1

                                                    ok thank you.. do you know of a simple tutorial on how to do that? i've never keyed in premier before.

                                                    • 24. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                                                      Jo2602 Level 1

                                                      ok.. i understand how to key in premiere now, but how do you replace the greens screen with just a solid background?

                                                      • 25. Re: Question About Green Screen Background Footage
                                                        Jo2602 Level 1

                                                        i actually just used an image for the background and it looks fine. Thank you for all your help