Final Cut Pro: Compositing Using the Chroma Keyer Filter

Final Cut Pro has a feature called compositing, which allows you to stack multiple clips on top of each other. When you stack multiple clips on top of each other, there is bound to be an issue with the color of the images. With keying, you are creating a matte, which is then used to composite an image with a background. The Chroma Keyer filter uses the chroma and luma keys to achieve the perfect color.

To access the Chroma Keyer, you need to open the Browser and select Effects, then the Video Filters bin. The Chroma Keyer is located within the Key bin. The Chroma Keyer consists of visual controls and standard numeric controls. You will typically use the visual controls more often.

Step 1: Accessing the Chroma Keyer

To apply the Chroma Keyer, you will first need to open the Timeline and edit in the green screen clip that you wish to key. To apply the Chroma Keyer, follow the above directions for accessing the key. Once the Chroma Keyer has been applied, double click on the green screen clip. This will open the Viewer. Once the Viewer is open, click on the Chroma Keyer tab.

Step 2: Selecting Colors

When you have the Chroma Keyer tab open, click on the Select Color eyedropper. By moving your mouse into the Canvas, the eyedropper will appear. You will need to click on the desired color with the eyedropper. The color that you choose should be similar to the color of the edge of your image. Once you have done that, you will need to click on the Select Color eyedropper again. The point of doing this again is to enlarge the region of transparency. When you go to the Canvas, shift-click every portion of the background of your image that you want to eliminate.

Step 3: Using Visual Controls

Using the visual controls of the Chroma Keyer, you may need to edit the Luma, Saturation and Color Range. When using these controls, keep in mind that in order for the Chroma Keyer to be successful, you need to remove as much of the key color from the background as possible. The top handle of the visual filter will adjust the overall range, while the bottom filter will control blur.

Step 4: Using the Edge Thin Slider

If there is still unwanted color around the edges of your image, you may need to use the Edge Thin slider. This slider allows you to eliminate light fringing that was created by the Chroma Keyer alpha channel. If, after using the Edge Thin slider, you are still experiencing light fringing, you will need to apply the Matte Choker filter.

Step 5: Using the Enhance Slider

Once you have the light fringing under control, you need to check for background color that is encroaching upon your main subject. By using the Chroma Keyer tab, which is located in the Viewer, you can use the Enhance slider to desaturate the unwanted color. If you are not successful with the Enhance slider, apply the Spill Suppressor filter.

Step 6: Inserting a Background Image

Now that you have keyed out any unwanted colors, you are ready to insert a background image. You will need to place the background clip below below the foreground clip that was keyed. This will ensure that the image positions itself correctly behind the keyed clip. If needed, use the visual controls to perform any necessary adjustments to the background image.

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