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Twelve Tips For Better WebCasting

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12 Tips for Better WebCasting

Examples of American Movie Company virtual sets can be see in the show reel on the home page of the AMC website. www.AmericanMovieCO.com These are not limited to the Tricaster Virtual Sets as many are created by AMC digital artists in a combination of After Effects and a 3D graphics program such as: Maya, 3D Studio Max or NewTek’s Lightwave.

The chroma key wall has come to be used for much more than just the weather. With improvements in both keying technology and cameras, it’s possible to get professional results on tighter budgets. How you key will vary on the footage you use, but we offer integrated solution. Let’s explore how Lightwave, FCP, Photoshop, and After Effects can work together to take advantage of great keying.

1 [SHOOT YOUR VIDEO RIGHT]
Cameras often have auto features turned on that can make keying much more difficult. Turn off auto-exposure, auto-white balance, and auto-focus. If any of these are left on, this means the green you’re trying to key will constantly change as your model moves. While you’re in the setup menu, be sure to turn off Sharpening. Keep your model and your camera as far away from the screen as possible. If your camera shoots progressive, take advantage of it. You don’t want to trey and key with 1080i or 720i as fields will definitely get in the way of a good key. If possible avoid DV and HDV (fake high deff).

2 [CAPTURE VIDEO]
We recommednd Adobe Creative Suite 5 (and soon CS6) Production Premium, It comes with Adobe Premier for digitizing or importing video. If working with tape-based sources, choose File>Capture and use your deck or camera to load footage. If working with tapeless sources (such as P2 Cards or XDCAM) simply choose File>Import and navigate to the clips on your hard drive. It’s a good idea to transfer the media first to an edit-grade hard drive.

5 [STEP AWAY AND MAKE A BACKDROP]
In order to key, you’ll need a backdrop. This can be a stock background, a 3D rendering, or a photograph. One of our favorite techniques is to use a panoramic photo. This gives you a lot of options as you can easily resize and reposition the backdrop for different framings. To create a pano, use a digital still camera. Orient the camera for portrait, then shoot three to five photographs. Be sure each shot overlaps the previous shot by 10–20% so the photos can be easily stitched together. Load the photos onto your computer.

6 [LOCATE IMAGES WITH ADOBE BRIDGE or ADOBE LIGHTROOM]
The easiest way to browse your photos is with Adobe Bridge or Adobe Lightroom. This file navigation tool allows you to visually browse your media, which comes in handy when looking for your background images. If needed, you can even rotate images in Bridge. Once you’ve found and selected your panoramic images, choose Tools>Photoshop>Photomerge. If it’s not running already, Photoshop will launch and become the active application. The Photomerge dialog presents itself and awaits your input.

8 [SAVE A PREPPED IMAGE]
Once the image is built, you should optimize it for a video workflow. If you’re happy with the Photomerge, you’ll likely no longer need layers. Choose Layer>Flatten Image to reduce the image to a flattened file. This will reduce render times and RAM overhead for the After Effects Composition. Crop the image to a clean rectangular shape using the Crop tool (C). Save the file as a TIFF image to your project folder.

9 [IMPORT AND STACK]
Unfortunately, there’s no Dynamic Link between Photoshop and After Effects (but the workflow is still easy). Switch back to After Effects and double-click in an empty area of the Project panel (or choose File>Import>File). Navigate to the file just created with Photomerge, select it, and click Open. Drag this imported file to the bottommost layer in the open composition (placing it below your video footage). Now turn to the After Effects column on page 90 for instructions on keying your footage using Keylight, a powerful chroma keying plug-in from The Foundry. Then return here to composite your background with your keyed video.

11 [Tweak Focus]
Chances are that your backdrop is a little too clear. Most photographers make it a point to take pictures in focus. But if this scene were really being filmed with a video camera, the backdrop would be out of focus due to depth of field. You can tweak this using a Gaussian or Lens Blur effect (both under Effect>Blur & Sharpen) to soften the background and simulate depth of field. Gaussian Blur is faster than Lens Blur if you’re in a hurry, but Lens Blur offers some realistic settings you can tweak, such as Grain and Highlights.

12 [Bake It]
It’s generally a good idea to invoke a full-quality RAM preview first to make sure the key works well. Simply mark out a work area of a few seconds and check the key. When satisfied with your composition, you’ll need to render it. This can be done via the After Effects Render Queue (Composition>Add to Render Queue), which allows you to create QuickTime, AVI, or FLV files. If further editing is needed, simply invoke Dynamic Link (copy-and-paste) to return the composite to Premiere Pro.

Author: Richard Harrington is a certified Project Management Professional, Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and After Effects, and Apple Certified Trainer in Final Cut Pro, Motion, and Aperture. His visual communications company, RHED Pixel, creates motion graphics and produces video and multimedia projects.

To recap.. our digital VFX artists can create an amazing virtual set for you or you can use the principles about to create your own. Be aware however that to use the Tricaster in its 3D mode and take import an actual 3D Virtual Set rather than a series of still images, JPG’s or PSD still images you will need to create that Virtual Set in NewTek’s Lightwave software. The America Movie Company uses Lightwave as well as Photoshop and Adobe’s After Effects to create stunning virtual sets either photo real virtual sets or fantastical virtual sets.

Give us a call st 212-219-1075.

You can and Live Stream video production in one of our NYC green screen stages

Our digital 3d VFX artis in New York and Hollywood will create a custom Virtual Set for you or Modify a Tricaster Virtual Set using NewTek’s Virtual set editor

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