BOOK REVIEW: The Green Screen Handbook by Jeff Foster

PostTitle_header

My Experience With Keying

While I wouldn’t necessarily refer to myself is a “Green Screen Guru”, I have my share of experience with pulling color based keys. For me is started on a Grass Valley 200 switcher in the late 80’s with the little spinning knobs you used to select and finesse the color. I remember that little chirping sound it would make as you went from one limit to the other. Just thinking about that switcher really takes me back.

GVG200

In later years I worked with a Ultimatte 45 external hardware box that allowed you to pull great keys using a component signal. At the time it was a $35k box and the place I was working at would only rent it when we had a project that required it. Sometimes I would run it as part of a studio shoot to check keys as we went, but most of the time it was setup in the online suite I was in.

edit_1_2002

The difficult part about using this box was that the first few times I used it I only had a few short hours to actually learn the box. As soon as it showed up I would pull out the manual and start reading so that I could at least appear to the client that I knew what I was doing!

Ultimatte_45

Years later we have tools that are so much more powerful right on our computers, and they cost a small fraction of what the original Ultimatte did, or in some cases come free with editing and compositing software. FCP Studio has some ok keyers included, but Primatte inside of Motion is actually pretty good. And AfterEffects has KeyLight, which I find to be the best blue/green screen keyer out there for what I do. It’s rare that I can’t get a good key out of keylight regardless what I throw at it.

Read more

Super Editing Tips with Winston Randall Montgomery IV

There are a plethora of resources everywhere to teach you how to be an editor. There’s training websites like Lynda.com and Creative Cow. You can buy assorted training books at some coffeehouse-bookstore hybrid, where some homely fellow is likely playing new age music on a grand piano for Ramen noodle money. You could even go as far as to attend a terrible, terrible place called film school… But I laugh at you for doing these things. Laugh right in your pathetic face! You know why? Because I’m an elitist. I am better than you.

I eat dinner with 12 different solid gold forks. I have have different solid gold forks for different areas of the $800 steaks I eat. I only drink the first sip of a glass of $6000 wine, because I’m only satisfied with the first sip of a full glass of expensive wine. Then I throw the rest of the glass away and request a new drink just so I can take the first sip again. It typically costs me $150,000 to get drunk. What?! You’d like the rest of the glass?! How dare you! I would never allow someone who learned editing at film school to have my unused wine. I would rather destroy an entire wine field than give it to you, which is something I normally do once a month anyway, just for the sport of it.

I’d apologize to you for such a berating of your character, but my servant is currently cleaning the wheels of my Lexus with a toothbrush, and I normally have him apologize to commoners. But the reason I yell at you is because I love you, we are fellow editors, we are required to love each other by United States law. And I don’t want another tedious lawsuit on my hands. I just wanted to let you know that everything you know about editing is wrong.

I’m about to retire, so I’ll let you in on my biggest industry secret, since I have nothing to lose. There is an unimaginable resource located in the nether regions of the internet FULL of brilliant ideas by brilliant people. I take these ideas, and compile them into the greatest workable resource known to post production. So sit back and enjoy infinite knowledge! All you have to do is type in www.youtube.com.

Read more

Windows and Macs: Can’t We Just Get Along…?

My life is a lot like West Side Story. Even if you take away my constant dancing and occasional problem solving knife fights, it’s still pretty much West Side Story. Well, actually, I’ve never assaulted a police officer or had any reason to mess with the Sharks, but I did briefly date a Puerto Rican woman in college. I’m getting off topic, hold on, my original thought about West Side Story was that I use a PC at home, and Macs at work. And it tears my life apart! I’m in a constant struggle to maintain some sort of peace between the people I know, because I’m always in a state of betraying the other. My friends are all 100% Windows users, I don’t have a single Mac using friend. But at work I see the power of the Mac, something they do not see. To my friends, whenever I talk about Macs I’m pretty sure they just envision the uber-simple 1993 Macintosh computers that we used to play Oregon Trail II on in elementary school and think that Apple products are for the “slower” folks. And at work when I mention my Windows machine, I’m pretty sure everyone just imagines some horrible flurry of files scattered everywhere in all dark corners of the hard drive, a virus-ridden plague of a device that can only be turned off each night with a blue screen of death. The truth is, I use both, and when I look at them, all I see is a couple of computers…

Read more

Cut It Out!

Ah, the words of Dave Coulier have never resonated stronger in my life than in recent days. Sure there were times on the playground in 4th grade when Full House lingo may have been more frequent, but not until I started editing did I consider Uncle Joey’s catch phrase to become a way of life. In a situation where a nice After Effects sequence or a Motion graphic project could jazz up a portion of a video that needs a little jazzing, I look to my go-to secondary editing program: Photoshop.

You could say that I’m not skilled enough in After Effects and Motion to utilize them enough so I resort to Photoshop. Well, that would be mean to say, and you know what, I think your shirt is ugly and you have poor taste in restaurants. I like to think that I use Photoshop in a good enough way that it could be the program I look to for sprucing things up, just by cutting up and rebuilding photos. So despite what my Dad insists, Photoshop can be used for more than eliminating red eye in pictures of his dog.

Read more