Still trying CompositeLab Demo and have questions
Posted: Wed, 3rd Mar 2010, 8:57pm
Post 1 of 26
I started a discussion in the CompositeLab forum basically hoping someone would talk me into purchasing CompositeLab. I've been using the Chroma Key feature of Vegas with pretty good results, but because I really enjoy using EffectsLab Pro so much and would be happy to spend money to support FXhome.com, I was hoping someone would give me some good reasons to purchase CompositeLab instead of just using the Chroma Key and video grading options in Vegas.
Unfortunately, the whole thread was removed. There was nothing in it that violated any of the "restricted subject matter" rules, and it doesn't looked like it was moved elsewhere, so I'm not sure why the thread was deleted.
Anyway, I'm still playing with the CompositeLab demo to see if becoming more familiar with the interface and features will help me decide, but I have one question.
It seems that no matter how clean I get my subject after removing the green background, when I render my video, there is a lot of flickering around the edge of the subjects head, specifically at the outside edges of the hair. When I remove the green in Vegas, this doesn't happen. It seems to be worse if I use the "Erode White" feature, but with that set to the lowest setting, or even turned off, there is still some flicker. I've noticed this on a couple of different videos I'm working on in the demo, and I haven't had this happen in Vegas with the same footage.
I'm hoping that someone can shed some light on what I may be doing wrong, or on what I can do to get this flickering effect reduced. Again, I'm using the same footage and backgrounds as I am in Vegas, but the flickering only occurs in CompositeLab.
Posted: Wed, 3rd Mar 2010, 10:34pm
Post 2 of 26
Hey man, if you can post a clip of the footage somewhere so we can take a look at it, it would be really helpful. Diagnosing quality issues without seeing the footage is really just a guessing game. If we can see the edges you are talking about, we can offer more specific advice.
I've never used Vegas for keying personally, so I can't compare its keying abilities to those of CommpositeLab. Otherwise I'd be happy to provide some CompositeLab benefits for you. Hopefully someone familiar with both can do so.
Posted: Thu, 4th Mar 2010, 2:28am
Post 3 of 26
Sure, here are some clips I just uploaded to show the difference. The flicker I'm talking about in the CompositeLab clip happens all around where the hairline meets the background. A couple of notes for the two clips:
1. The first video (from Vegas) still needs the left and right sides from my green screen clip masked out, which will also get rid of the flicker at the bottom right that resulted from a shadow in that area
2. The Vegas clip has had the Color Curves filter applied, which makes the colors more vivid, but other than that, it is the same clip.
3. In the second clip (the one from the CompositeLab demo), the flicker I mentioned was slightly reduced when I uploaded to youtube, but it is still noticeable when played at the 480p option. I was able to reduce the flicker so that it is more subtle than what I mentioned earlier by reducing the Erode-white filter by one step, but it is still noticeable compared to the clip I did in Vegas. In Veges, I used the dropper to pick the green color from the clip, and then did very little tweaking to get the result in the clip.
4. I've found that if I reduce the Erode-white any more, then there are rough green edges around the hairline. If I increase the Erode-white, it removes all of the green edges, but makes an unnatural outline around the entire subject, and the flicker around the hair becomes more of a wobble that looks really noticeable and out of place. Also, adjusting other items like Contrast, levels, and re-selecting the green for the Chroma Key did not help with the flicker.
The clips are at:
Vegas Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkRluM4fwJE
CompositeLab Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZJNA6Lh-dQ
I know that better lighting will help all around, but right now I'm just comparing the results with the clip I have as-is.
Posted: Thu, 4th Mar 2010, 4:36am
Post 4 of 26
You mention you are using a dropper in Vegas; what key filter are you using in Vegas, and which key filter are you using in CompositeLab? A dropper sounds more like a chroma key, but with good lighting (your seems decent) a difference key might be more effective in CompositeLab. Did you already play with the settings of the key as much as you can, before trying the erode white? It seems like getting a proper balance on the key settings should eliminate the problem.
Do you have anywhere you could upload a clip of the original footage, with the greenscreen intact? Youtube won't really work as it recompresses the footage.
But also, knowing which key filter you are using, and what settings, would be helpful. If you are using different keying techniques in each program, it would be easy to see how you would get different results.
Posted: Thu, 4th Mar 2010, 3:20pm
Post 5 of 26
In Vegas, I am able to drag the Chroma Key dropper to select an area to cover any slight discrepancies in the green screen color. I'm using the Chroma Key filter and Chroma Blur filter with the following settings:
Low Threshold 0.163
High Threshold .0242
Blur amount 0.036
In CompositeLab, for the specific render uploaded to YouTube I'm using:
I've tried various settings for all of the filters, and I've previously tried using the Difference Key along with the Chroma Key, but each time I still had the flicker, usually worse than the clip I put on YouTube. Maybe I misunderstood the Difference Key function as I thought it would smooth out the differences in green screen colors to get a more even color to choose for the Chroma Keyer. Is the Difference Key to be used as an alternative
to the Chroma Keyer rather than with
the Chroma Keyer?
Here is a link to the original raw green screen footage, which was captured in .avi in Vegas:Original Green Screen Footage
You can see that the lighting could be better in the raw clip, but I'd like to at least be able to get the same results from this same clip in both applications.
Edit: One more piece of information; I've also tried using the Key filters to add saturation and contrast as suggested in the tutorial videos to give me better colors for selecting my Chroma Key color, but the end result was still the same.
Last edited Fri, 5th Mar 2010, 12:42am; edited 1 times in total.
Posted: Thu, 4th Mar 2010, 8:27pm
Post 6 of 26
I tried using Color Difference instead of the Chroma Key filter, and then used the Spill Suppression grading filter to remove the excess green around the arms and hair. This gave me the opportunity to remove the Erode White filter, which gave a more natural looking outline to the subject, but the flicker did not go away and in fact may be slightly worse.
Since I hadn't previously used the Spill Suppression filter, I then tried Spill Suppression with Chroma Key instead of with Color Difference. This made much more flicker all over the frame.
Posted: Fri, 5th Mar 2010, 4:01pm
Post 7 of 26
I'm just downloading the original clip.
To clear up a few bits and pieces, though:
'Auto color difference' is the one to use, as it offers the highest quality and quickest key.
Chromakey can be useful for dodgier greenscreen setups where you have to push it harder.
Difference Key is something else entirely, and isn't specifically designed for greenscreen work. Generally I wouldn't advise using it, especially with stuff shot on video.Update:
OK, I've now had a play with the footage.
The difficulty here is coming from the video itself, as there are numerous issues that make using greenscreen really tricky.
The video quality is VERY grainy. There isn't a single solid colour in there, and it seems worse on the green itself. If you look at it, the green is a constantly shifting fuzz, rather than a stable, solid green.
This is most likely caused by the overall low light in the shot. It's very dim, which has probably caused the camera's exposure and/or gain to go way up, resulting in the digital noise. You need to throw much more light on in general, so that you can lower the gain on the camera and get a more stable image.
More light will also help to provide more separation between the person and the greenscreen itself, particularly around the lower half where it all gets very murky.
These are major issues regardless of the format, but with NTSC DV footage it's even more important as it's so low resolution. You need to absolutely make the most of what resolution you do have.
The grain is probably contributing to the flickering around the edges - that same flickering is actually present in the original, but it's not as obvious when the entire image is doing the same thing.
Last edited Fri, 5th Mar 2010, 4:34pm; edited 1 times in total.
Posted: Fri, 5th Mar 2010, 4:16pm
Post 8 of 26
Thanks for the correction Tarn. Color Difference is what I meant, but I may have caused some confusion with my shorthand reference, for which I apologize. When I say difference key, I mean Auto Color Difference Key.
Posted: Fri, 5th Mar 2010, 4:44pm
Post 9 of 26
Thanks for the input Tarn and Axeman.
Based on the information you guys put in the last two posts, I did retry the clip using Auto Color Difference with a slight Gaussian Blur (plus a garbage matte) and no Chroma Key at all and that made the outline look much more natural. I am still getting the flickering around the hair, but since the outline looks more natural, for some reason the flicker doesn't seem as bad (although the amount of flicker doesn't seem to have decreased, so I can't put my finger on why it looks better to me).
There is also some dark yellow around the shoulders left over from the green screen, but I'm sure there are other filters I can apply to deal with that, hopefully without affecting the outline of the hair and head.
One other thing just occurred to me, although I don't think this is it: is it possible that the watermark from the demo is causing the flicker and it wouldn't actually look that way in the full version?
Posted: Sat, 6th Mar 2010, 7:30pm
Post 10 of 26
Thanks for the update and info Tarn. I figured it would come down to better lighting, but I thought I was doing something wrong since Vegas seems to not show the flicker as bad.
So maybe Vegas is a little more forgiving for the issues you mentioned in the original footage since the flicker is not showing up like that in my Vegas renders, but I do realize that CompositeLab is much more powerful and that if my footage was better it would help quite a bit.
I have some new lights that I can use to re-shoot this, so I'll give that a try to see how it turns out.
Posted: Mon, 8th Mar 2010, 10:02am
Post 11 of 26
Just wanted to confirm that the watermark in the demo won't be affecting the results at all.
Posted: Thu, 11th Mar 2010, 12:18am
Post 12 of 26
I did shoot footage with much better lighting. The weird thing is that I ended up with the exact opposite results.
In other words, with better lighting I ended up with a ton of flicker and jagged edges using Vegas, but a nice clean key using the CompositeLab demo. I guess it just goes to show that different video clips turn out differently no matter what software is being used.
Anyway, going through all of this helped me decide to go ahead an buy CompositeLab Pro, so I'm the proud new owner of a new green icon next to my account name.
Thanks very much for the help guys.
Posted: Tue, 10th Aug 2010, 7:45pm
Post 13 of 26
Is it just me or is the editing process very slow for you guys? Every time I want to move to the next frame, the playhead freezes for about two to three seconds and then moves. Is there a way to speed this up?
Posted: Tue, 10th Aug 2010, 8:30pm
Post 14 of 26
There's a whole menu for speeding that up. The Canvas menu. Reduce the canvas quality and things will speed up dramatically. Canvas quality does not affect the quality of the final rendered footage in any way, it just speeds things up in-program.
Also, the complexity of the project will affect how fast each frame renders. And don't forget to preview render if you want to watch the footage in-program.
Posted: Tue, 10th Aug 2010, 10:19pm
Post 15 of 26
Posted: Wed, 11th Aug 2010, 2:32am
Post 16 of 26
Oh i already bought the program lol. I was debating whether to return it or not because I found that there is not a lot to do with it. Do you have any tutorials that can teach me cool stuff lol because I wanna see what else I can do with it. Thanks a lot,
Posted: Wed, 11th Aug 2010, 4:21am
Post 17 of 26
There is a lot you can do with it. There is a whole forum full of tutorials created by other users, and a bunch of official video tutorials here.
The Wizard Combat tutorials cover several bits on compositing stock footage, which CompositeLab is ideally suited to, and some bits on color grading, another of CompositeLab's strong points.
The Get Lost tutorial also goes extensively into grading and masking stuff, which CompositeLab does remarkably well. And then, of course, there are the Space Adventure
and Beach Landing/Superhero
DVD's available for purchase, which cover loads of compositing stuff, involving greenscreen, cloning, masking, flying, etc. etc.
Posted: Wed, 11th Aug 2010, 4:26am
Post 18 of 26
Oh okay..Thanks but can you please answer my question on the "Action Essentials" Forum because I needed help and I posted a picture as well. Thanks a lot,
Posted: Fri, 13th Aug 2010, 6:41pm
Post 19 of 26
Posted: Fri, 13th Aug 2010, 7:34pm
Post 20 of 26
Can you show me some of the stuff you did, micah, so that I could see what kind of things CompositeLab pro is capable of? Thanks,
Posted: Fri, 13th Aug 2010, 8:38pm
Post 21 of 26
There's a whole gallery of stuff in the products section, you know. Here.
Shows a pretty good range of the things its capable of.
Posted: Fri, 13th Aug 2010, 8:53pm
Post 22 of 26
Oh okay, thanks. By the way, do you know if there is a tutorial on how to do the glowing fire hands that were shown in the "Heroes Collation" spoof?
Posted: Sun, 15th Aug 2010, 4:55am
Post 23 of 26
Okay, I got that answer. But, let me get this straight. If you delete a clip by accident on the timeline and then do another step, if i press undo it only lets me undo the previous step?
Posted: Sun, 15th Aug 2010, 5:53am
Post 24 of 26
Correct. There is one level of undo. The other option is to revert to the last saved state, which provided you are saving regularly will take you back a few minutes.
Posted: Mon, 30th Aug 2010, 2:18am
Post 25 of 26
I have not put anything on the internet yet . But I do know some very very good tutorials !!!!!!! You tube MARK APSOLON ! it is more on green screening , but he does have one on fxhome .
Posted: Mon, 30th Aug 2010, 2:22am
Post 26 of 26
I can go invisible , green screen (da) , do super speed , and much much more .