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FAQs about Chroma Keying

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Jun 23, 2021• Proven solutions

Have you ever wondered how all these Hollywood and Bollywood movies add those larger than life visual effects in their movies? Or how meteorologists add animated weather background to their show? It is all possible through Chroma Keying. Chroma Keying is a post-production visual effects technique. It is used to composite two images or video streams together.

Here are some commonly asked questions about Chroma Key you should know the answer to:

1. How is Chroma Key and Green Screen related?

In post-production, the process of removing the Green Screen background with a video editing software is called Chroma keying. A keyed Green Screen background will become fully transparent and ready to be filled with an image or a video.

2. Which color is best for a Chroma key?

Any color can be used for Chroma Keying but blue and green are the most used ones. It is because they have the least amount of visual importance optically. If the foreground has a lot of green or blue, then red could be used.

In low resolution, green is the preferred color as red and blue will cause edge artifacts during keying.

3. How could old movies from the 70s-90s use the Chroma key method without the use of computers?

Before the use of computers, one wavelength of light was isolated photochemically and then used that to create a matte. This process has been used since the 1940s.

4. What can you use if you don't have a green screen?

You can use any solid color instead of green, just make sure that the specific color is not in the shot or it will disappear. No need to buy expensive screens for the process, you can use an inexpensive cloth or even paint a wall. The only thing you should be sure of is that the background is lit evenly.

5. How can bleed be avoided when Chroma keying a green screen?

To avoid this problem, the answer lies not during the post-production but the shoot. Make sure that:

    You make use of proper lighting and make sure it is not overly lit or under-lit.

    Keep the distance of your subject from the screen to at least 6-10 feet.

6. What was the first movie or TV show to use a green screen/Chroma key?

RKO pictures started using it in the 1930s. After that, it was used by reporters and meteorologists. Before people of color started getting jobs on TV, the screen used was blue but later the color green was used due to the conflict with dark complexions that were closer to blue.

7. What's free video editing software capable of Chroma key?

Macs come with a default video editing software called iMovie which is capable of removing any green or blue background. For PCs, VSDC and Da Vinci Resolve work perfectly for Chroma keying.

8. How do you decide which shade of green is best to use for a particular Chroma key background?

It is not necessary to use just green color for Chroma Keying. Green is used because it is the least common color used by actors, hosts, and other subjects on TV.

If you must choose green, then the shade does not matter as software can already detect them. The key is to have even background light.

9. What are the benefits of Chroma videos?

Chroma videos have been used by movie creators, meteorologists, and other video content creators for ages. Chroma keying can have several benefits:

    It can save money in pre-production by not making you go to the far off locations you want to show in your videos and making them appear through the video editing software.

    Keeping you away from dangerous locations but letting you add them to your background.

    Chroma Key lets you add effects that are usually not available in the real world. For example, most of the creatures in the movie Avatar could not have been procured in the real world but were made possible through Chroma Keying.

10. I see some very cheap Chroma key green screens online, is it okay to buy one or will I be sorry?

The quality of the Chroma key green screens does not matter as much as the screen is smooth and of solid and non-reflective color. What you have to make sure of is to use the correct amount of lightning and avoiding shadows. As mentioned before, even painting a wall green would do the job as long as you light the background evenly.

11. How do they make it appear like someone's missing a limb in movies using Chroma Key?

It is very easy to make something disappear using Chroma keying. During the process of Chroma keying, the background screen is made transparent to add the desired subject. The same process can be used for limbs. By adding the same color cloth on the limb you want to make invisible or make it disappear and then making that specific part transparent by using video editing software.

12. The most commonly used software for Chroma Keying?

The software used for Chroma key depends on the preferences of each user, but most people use the following:

    Wondershare FilmoraX

    Adobe Premiere Pro

    iMovie for Mac

    Final Cut Pro

Conclusion

The technology of today has allowed people to create amazing visual effects for movies, TV shows, and other video content. The most important one of these is Chroma Keying using colored screens. The most commonly used colors used for the screens are Chroma blue and green but other colors can also be used depending on the need. 

You can use Chroma keying to add all kinds of mesmerizing visual effects in post-production from simple meteorological backgrounds to the Persian army of one million in the movie 300. Chroma keying has become one of the most important tools in video editing history.

Learn More: How to Choose Green Screen Software for Beginners on Mac>>>

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Liza Brown
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.