Monday, December 6, 2010

The Kitchen Chromakey

As part of an assignment for an ASL class my wife and I are in, we had to do some signing on video (instead of writing papers). I set up a makeshift chromakey in my kitchen and thought I would pass on how I did it, in case anyone else wants to decimate a room in their house for this purpose.

First, I extended my boom pole and created a makeshift curtain rod that rested on the top of a cabinet door on one side of the kitchen and and was gaffed to the other side. I then hung some green screen material borrowed from and old kids movie-making kit. I then lit the key with two 500w worklights bounced off of the ceiling and set up two clamp lights to illuminate the talent.

We had a small group from class over to watch a signing assignment and to perform for their own homework. I'm sure I went overboard with this (surprise!), but didn't want the end result to be in the dark with grainy video and an obnoxious background.

After shooting I took the video into Sony Vegas, keyed out the green and added contrast along with some saturation. Everyone seemed pleased with the results.

The worklights were on top of the PVC light stands (at 6') and the clamp lights were attached to a cabinet door and a plastic crate on top of the refrigerator. I didn't rig a backlight, but hoped the bounce off of the roof would suffice. I put my gray card on a stand to assist with exposure (my camera loses it when I look at the video) and placed a small "X" on the floor to help the talent know where to stand. All in all, a good experiment even if I still hate the way keyed video looks--so cheesy!

3 comments:

Andrew said...

Great idea, although I'd recommend as an improvment using some sort of fluorescent fixture instead of the work lights; they're very hot and there is a real (although minor) risk of injury or fire with a set-up like this.

With a little electrical know-how you could build your own DIY version of a 2ft Kino Flo fixture and take advantage of Kino Flo's amazing lamps (Kino lamps are perfect for lighting green/blue screen) for $100 or so in parts.

Scott Eggleston said...

I've used flos before to light a key, but they aren't very portable. The work lights are crude, admittedly, but they are cheap, effective and small, fitting nicely into my lighting crate.

Andrew said...

Ah, have you seen Barflys? They're very nice lights, small, light and portable. A little pricey (like all of Kino Flo's products), but I have heard of a gaffer that built his own.

But as I'm sure you know, in the end whatever works, works.

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