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The Sin City effect of select colors in a black and white frame has been asked about a lot. While amateur filmmakers don’t have the same amazing technology as the makers of Sin City did, they can still produce the more basic effects of the film using simply a greenscreen, and our handy dandy new application, CompositeLab. Now, I’m using CompositeLab Pro, but since I used to be able to do this even in the old Chromonator, I’m assuming you can get very similar results with DV, and obviously, VisionLab HD. Since I don’t want this to be really really long, my tutorial requires that you have a general knowledge of how to key greenscreens and use garbage mattes in CompositeLab.
First step is to obviously, start a new timeline with the clip you want to use. In order for this to work, you will have to plan ahead when shooting, and select a very strong, solid color that contrasts from the rest of the frame. In this case, the girl’s red shirt is a solid color that is concentrated just on the shirt.
Next, duplicate the footage, and place the new layer directly over the original on the timeline. For now, we do not need this layer, so click the little green circle next to the clip’s name on the timeline to turn it red, and hide the layer. It will look like nothing happened, because the two layers are identical, just as long as the little circle is red, you’re fine.
For now, we’re only going to be working with the original, bottom layer, called layer 1. Go under the properties of the first layer and go through the normal process of keying. Once you are done keying the green (or blue, if you are using a bluescreen) out of your shot, now it is time to go to the grade menu by clicking on the button on the timeline –
Now, on the filter list that appears in the top right of the program, select “Desaturate”
If you wish, apply your background now, as the bottom layer, and use the Desaturate filter on that layer as well. After doing all this, your clip should now look something like this –
Now it is time to use that top layer that we made invisible at the start of this tutorial. Click the little red button again, to turn it green. Don’t panic when all your work seems to disappear. CompositeLab simply made the original unedited layer on top become visible, so for now, all your work so far is not gone, but simply being covered up by the untouched layer on top.
Go under the clip properties and go to the “matte” menu, and then to the “key” sub-menu –
Now, in the filter inspector browser in the top right, click “Hue Key” –
In the control box that appears underneath, click and hold the little eyedropper icon right next to the mini color wheel. Drag your mouse pointer (while still holding down the mouse button) over onto your frame, and let go of the mouse button when you are hovering over the color that you want to retain, in this case, the girl’s red shirt.
Now, click on the red button at the top left of the control box (just like the button you used to make the initial clip invisible), to turn the effect on. Your clip should now look something like this –
Fiddle with the controls in the control box a little bit until just the part you want to remain in color is black. To smooth out any rough edges, you might want to add a “Blur: Gaussian” filter as well. Finally, back in the Hue Key control box, click the red button next to “Invert Selection”, so that the button turns green. Your clip should now look like this-
As you can see, part of her hat, and a small part of her lip remained. To fix this, go under the matte menu again, and click the little + sign next to “Garbage Matte”, and draw and animate the shape around the part you want to manually remove… in this case the hat and lip, just like you would with a regular greenscreen shot.
Finally, click on either the grade menu, or another clip entirely, to reveal the final shot, which in my example, looks like this-
Thanks for taking the time to go through my tutorial, don’t follow it religiously for this type of effect, because all clips vary, and you might have to get creative in order to produce the right effect for your specific shot, but this provides the basics, and its certainately easier than rotoscoping the color out every frame by hand!
This is my first tutorial, so be nice and if you have any further questions, please comment and I’ll explain it more. Thanks once again!
I added the final shot. Here it is -
(The Keying sucks, I know, but I wasn't worried about that, since this isn't a tutorial about how to key! )