Ultra Fast Keying in Premiere Pro

Posted on 27. Jul, 2011 by in Blog

Lately I had to do a lot of keying work for a short series of tutorials I was doing. Actually – I’m working on it as I write this, but I just did something quite amazing, so I wanted to share it with you. And I’ve got to tell you this – Ultra Key alone didn’t do it, so read on.

Ultra Fast Keying in Premiere Pro (with Lightwrap)

I’m editing a DSLR green screen footage in Premiere Pro CS5, and once everything is in place, I use Dynamic Link to key out the footage. Why not use Ultra Key? Well… Ultra Key is fantastic, fast, and GPU accelerated, however the footage needs to be close to perfect in order for it to work – which is not the case here. I had a lot of wrinkles, bad lighting that I couldn’t make any better due to space limitations in the room I was shooting in, and, as I mentioned before, I used a DSLR to record the footage so I had no control over the compression settings. All of this caused the footage to be a wee bit too difficult for Ultra Key to pull a decent key. Not to mention garbage mattes and adding Lightwrap to create the final look.

I’ve set up a nice workflow using Dynamic Link and a keying template I made for the project for quickly and efficiently replacing source footage to be keyed out, so now everything works smoothly, however it takes some time to render. I should mention this is 1080p @ 23,976fps. Eventhough the workflow is flawless, the footage was very demanding and required adjustments on every shot, digging through precomps, resampling colors, and doing a long RAM Preview to make sure nothing was missed.

Still… I couldn’t stand the fact, that having Premiere Pro CS5 with GPU accelerated keyer I was forced to use After Effects to do something that goes around as a “simple key” – as you see on the attached images, it’s just me sitting in front of a Mac (and yes – this is just a prop – I use PC’s for work).

So I thought to myself – would it be possible to use the same techniques I use in After Effects to pull a decent key out of “nothing” in Premiere Pro? As I learned about half an hour later – yes!

I created a super tight garbage matte, that I then applied to the original footage treated with Ultra Key, I’ve nested that in it’s own Sequence, which I’ve then put in a new Sequence along with the background, and even created a Lightwrap effect… in Premiere! Sweet!

I ended up having three Sequences for my final composite: one for background, one for the key, and one for putting them together and adding a lightwrap. I grabbed a piece of paper and started counting layers and effects applied.

This is where you should make sure you’re sitting down – I ended up with 9 video layers (1080p @ 23,976fps) with a total amount of 26 effects (including multiple copies of Guassian Blur and Ultra Key).

Guess what… it works in realtime. Thank you Mercury Engine.

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3 Responses to “Ultra Fast Keying in Premiere Pro”

  1. andrea

    27. Jul, 2011

    mhh nice…
    butt will you show us the final result and maybe all the passes you did ?

  2. Phantommxr

    27. Jul, 2011

    great to see your back…still owe you a pack of cigs!!!!
    thanks for everything you share
    Mike in Fl

  3. This can be

    23. Mar, 2012

    really great factors here, just many thanks