17 Replies Latest reply on Mar 17, 2010 9:26 PM by the_wine_snob

    Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...

    NotEnoughHours

      Hoping you guys can help me out :-)

       

      I have a Sony AX2000 HD camera and am a wanna-be pro.  I've been trying to perfect my green screen operation.  I think I have the lighting down and can play around with PE8 green screen or chroma key effect to my satisfaction.  My problem is that I am very dissatisfied with the video quality.  I'm shooting at full HD 1920x1080 resolution, and although the AVCHD video that my camera creates is awesome, when I create my final product, the video is awful.

       

      This project is for online viewing mostly, although I need to provide DVD's too.  I do not need HD, but assumed shooting in HD and reducing it down MUST be better than shooting in standard DV mode.  I guess I assumed wrong?  (Just been reading this - http://forums.adobe.com/thread/593946?tstart=0)

       

      I'm also wondering about my camera settings.  I had everything on auto, but I read somewhere using the manual focus, and turning down the gain helps - especially with the first problem I had which was noise.  Actually, I improved this some with lighting, but blacks in particular seemed "noiser" than I found acceptable...

       

      The other problem I have is fast movement.  If my subject is throwing their arms around at any decent pace, even creating a high definition MPEG give me some terrible motion blur...  then I realized even just creating a HD MPEG of the original video without the chromakey effect gives me sub standard quality, compared to the original AVCHD file.  After searching this forum, I think I might have found the problem.  I need to check my project settings to make sure they match the source files...  I'll post again once I've tried this and let you guys know if it works...

       

      Any other tips/thoughts out there?

        • 1. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
          nealeh Level 5

          WarrensDad wrote:

           

          Any other tips/thoughts out there?

          You might get some useful info about online streaming from: How can I get the best quality video on YouTube?

           

          Cheers,
          --
          Neale
          Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your children

          • 2. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
            Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

            In addition to Neale's thoughts -- I'm not clear from your post if you're just dissatisfied with the output results or if you're having a problem using Chroma Key/Videomerge.

             

            Is the fact that you're creating a Chroma Key/Videomerge effect relevant to your question? When you render your green screen effect and play it on the timeline, does it look good?

            • 3. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
              NotEnoughHours Level 1

              Hi Steve,

               

              Both really.  I've been up most of the night testing - I've found that shooting in full HD is much better than shooting in SD even if you output a standard AVI, and certainly it's clearer when I output a FLV.

               

              My lighting is pretty good (I think) and I'm able to get a good cut out with the green screen key.

               

              What I don't get is why it seems when I create a HD MPEG, the quality of the video is just not as sharp as the original.  Is this something the green screen effect is playing havoc with?  It's much softer.  I'm not using the smooth feature btw - that makes it worse.  I did change the import settings from DVD to HDV, and I think that helped, but not nearly as much as I hoped.

               

              Aso, when I burn to a standard DVD, the quality if I watch the DVD on my computer is very mediocre at best; however, when I watch on a TV using a regular DVD player, it looks way overexposed - and if I play it back on a blue-ray player it looks completely terrible.  I don't have a blue-ray burner so I'm can't test that - but I don't need a HD version anyways - I just need it to look OK regardless of what kind of computer, TV or DVD player you're using.  I don't get the huge gap in quality I'm getting....

               

              Thanks...

              • 4. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
                Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                You should not see a reduction in quality between your original HDV or AVCHD footage and your output to hi-def MPEG. So I'm not sure what's going on there or how you're judging it -- but it should be almost identical to the original. How are you judging the MPEGs results, and can you be specific about the poor quality? Is the color key uneven, is the picture fuzzy or staticky, or are you seeing combing during movement? Are you playing it with Windows Media Player (not the best for judging MPEGs) or your computer's DVD player software?

                 

                As for the results you're getting from your DVD player -- that also is unlikely the VOB encoding. Especially since it seems to be unique to the playback on your DVD player, you may want to check your player's settings. I found I was getting those kinds of results at one time and, when I looked into my DVD player's settings, found it was set to an "enhanced" mode. The result was that it was exaggerating the lights and darks. (This didn't seem to be a problem with commercial DVDs -- but my home-burned DVDs looked awful.) Setting it to standard playback fixed it.

                 

                Maybe the challenge is that we seem to be chasing two issues at once, Dad -- the chroma key output issue and the DVD playback issue. So I'm not sure what more to do to troubleshoot at this point. Maybe someone else will have more ideas.

                • 5. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
                  the_wine_snob Level 9

                  There might be some useful tips in the link in this ARTICLE.

                   

                  Good luck,

                   

                  Hunt

                  • 7. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
                    NotEnoughHours Level 1

                    Steve, the poor quality is basically just "softer", not as sharp.  On a scale of 1-10 I'd say it's a 6-7 when it should be 9+... does that help? That's interesting that Windows Media Player isn't the best.  I don't have any other DVD playing software on my PC right now, and of course, if I burn it to DVD I'm going to get a bad result anyways.  I'll check into the player settings - the problem is when you're wanting to produce a DVD that people will pay for, I can't really send instructions with it for people to change their DVD settings...  certainly my client isn't going to like that.

                    • 8. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
                      the_wine_snob Level 9

                      I really like CyberLink's PowerDVD for a player, and also the freeware MediaPlayer Classic HC. I, too, am not a big fan of WMP.

                       

                      Good luck,

                       

                      Hunt

                      • 9. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
                        Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                        I'm sorry but "lower quality" still doesn't tell me anything, WarrensDad.

                         

                        I still don't know if we're dealing with loss of color or combing during movement or less detail. Regardless, if you're using the proper project preset for your camcorder footage and you're using true AVCHD or HDV footage (not video from a still camera or pocket "Flip" camera), you should not see any reduction in quality.

                        • 10. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
                          NotEnoughHours Level 1

                          Hey Steve - did you read the right post? I didn't repeat "lower quality" - I was trying to be a bit more specific in saying "softer" and not as "sharp" as the original footage.  I'm not sure what else to say - slightly blurry perhaps would be a good description, but no loss of color.  Thanks for the response though.  Working from the assumption that I should not be seeing a reduction in quality, it has to be something I'm doing wrong in Premier since the quality I'm starting out with is right on the money.  Oh well, I'll just keep playing...

                          • 11. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
                            nealeh Level 5

                            WarrensDad wrote:

                             

                            Aso, when I burn to a standard DVD, the quality if I watch the DVD on my computer is very mediocre at best; however, when I watch on a TV using a regular DVD player, it looks way overexposed

                             

                            If you plan to get seriously into video and graphic projects then you should take a look into Color Management. What your eyes tell you is most likely wrong.

                             

                            With LCD monitors/TV now the norm, you ought to look at a hardware solution. I use a Spyder3Pro from Datacolor, but I hear that Eye-One Display from X-Rite also works well.

                             

                            Cheers,
                            --
                            Neale
                            Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your children

                            • 12. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
                              Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                              Hmm. I'm still not sure why you'd see a reduction in clarity, if you're using the proper project presets for AVCHD.

                               

                              The camcorder is certainly not the weak link here! But are you sure you want to use a $90 editing program with a $3,900 camera!?

                               

                              It might be worth springing for Premiere Pro or even Final Cut.

                              • 13. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
                                the_wine_snob Level 9

                                Also, if one went with the Production Suite (several levels), and got AfterEffects, they would have Keylight for doing Green Screen. Another thought is that CS5 is reported to be adding back Ultra, a wonderful Keying plug-in, that was removed from CS4. Those two Keying functions are about as good as it gets, until one spends >US$3000.

                                 

                                Just some thoughts,

                                 

                                Hunt

                                • 14. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
                                  NotEnoughHours Level 1

                                  lol...  yeah, I have NO problem upgrading, especially if it's a more stable program - I just don't have the time to embark on the learning curve right now.  Pro looks so much more complicated - I'm sure I could pick it up, but it's the time factor.  Any tips for transitioning?

                                   

                                  On the plus side, I've learnt a lot today and worked through some of the issues.  I'll post an update later.

                                  • 15. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
                                    NotEnoughHours Level 1

                                    Thanks for your input everyone.  Will post more later...

                                    • 16. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
                                      NotEnoughHours Level 1

                                      OK - I discovered today that I was in fact using the wrong presets in Premier Elements.  Rectifying that little detail gave me MUCH improved ouput - both for the MPEGS and even the standard DVD (although it still has the "home made" look to it rather than the TV clarity I would expect, it's a million times better than what I had).

                                       

                                      Now I understand the basics of presets, I also discovered I wasn't using the best my camera had to offer either.  I had it set to HD 1080 60i HQ – I found out the HQ translates to approx 9mbps (when this can be increased to 24mbps by using the FX option) -  also the HQ was also giving me 1440x1080 resolution (when the FX could take me up to 1920x1080).  So, I'm hoping for even better results tomorrow.

                                       

                                      So, here are todays questions:

                                       

                                      1.) The 60i part of the preset.  Presumably the higher the frame rate the better, but how about the progressive v. interlacing - ie. is one better than the other for chroma key?  Or does the fact that I'm going to be using this for web viewing (F4V format) and DVD's affect this decision?

                                       

                                      2.) I took Steve's advice and downloaded Premier Pro.  Immediately I came up against a problem.  It seems like I don't have a suitable preset to choose.  Further, when I tried to import my files directly from the camera's memory stick, it said they weren't supported.  Adobe say the trial version is without limits, so any idea what the problem is here?

                                      • 17. Re: Green Screen Camera Settings and other questions...
                                        the_wine_snob Level 9

                                        Well, my case might not be fair, as I came from a cine background, and went to some other NLE's, before finalizing on PrPro. I did not add PrE for some years, and found it to be more like some of the previous NLE's. PrPro just flat did things, like I was used to. Pinnacle and AVID did not. For me, PrPro was great, as soon as I got the jargon and the GUI locations down.

                                         

                                        I actually find PrE (version 4) more difficult to use, as things are rather "behind the scenes," and I like them up front, as that is how I did it with film.

                                         

                                        Good luck,

                                         

                                        Hunt