Adobe Premiere Pro CC - Essentials Training

How to remove green screen from video in Premiere Pro

Daniel Walter Scott

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All right, in terms of the green screen I found this footage here, I didn't shoot my own because I don't have a green screen at home. I don't do a lot of that type of kind of filming, I do more of the editing, so in this case we've got one that's watermarked. 

So in your 'Footage', double click the thumbnail, just have a little look. It's a guy that kind of looks like me, not really. There's no audio with it, it's just a guy. So if you are in charge of filming it though, the best results is when there's a nice clear definition between the background and the subject of interest. I'm not sure that's the word for it, but in this case the background is a nice consistent green, which is going to make it easy for us. 

So what we'll do is we'll do it over here at the end of our Timeline, and then drag it over the top once we're finished. So let's edit-- the whole thing to our Timeline, and what we need to do is have our Playhead above it. Also, it's the wrong size, we'll-- actually I don't need to scale it up, because I'm actually going to make it, you saw at the beginning, that's quite small in the bottom right. So with it selected I'm going to go to my 'Effects Panel'. 

So remember the word was keying, right? So there is-- if I type in the word "key", it's a very-- there's lots of different kinds in your effects of keying. Now the most common one that gets used is Ultra key. Ultra key. Just drag it on, it's pretty easy to use. With your track selected go to your 'Effects Controls', and it's this one here, so we're going to scroll down so we see Ultra key, and the main work is going to be done by picking the Key Color. Doesn't really matter if it's blue screen, or green screen, or white screen. You just use the Eyedropper tool to randomly click in this green area, and it will remove everything that matches that color. 

You'll see, I'm not sure if you can see it on the video, but there is some frosting around the outside. So it hasn't got it all, so sometimes you need to keep picking a different green. Pick the one that's kind of closest to the person, because it's easy to remove this stuff, but it's harder when it's really close to his skin. Now I'm going to zoom in a little bit, just so I can see the area a little bit more. Where is it? The main parts that are problematic are in the-- this is the easiest part to see. Now when it's in this kind of Composite view, it's a little bit hard to see the definition. 

So what you can do is just say-- where it says Output, we're going to pick 'Alpha Channel', it just gives you a kind of a clearer difference between the two; we're going to ignore the watermark, because this is a paid Adobe stock video. So this is just a good way to work, and you will switch it back to Composite when you're finished. 

Now there's a few things you can do to kind of make this thing work. Now lots of-- everyone has their own kind of tactics when it comes to keying, which kind of-- where they start, I always start with my cleanup, because what I really want to do is, I want, I'm not so worried about this, I'm worried about where it transitions from his skin, because it's going to be easy to mask this out in a second, but let's go back to 'Composite'. You can start to see, can you see this kind of green kind of goop around them? It's letting the background leak in a little bit. 

So what I want to do is, it's probably still better to look in 'Alpha', and then go to this 'Matte Cleanup', and the 'Choke' I find is the most-- it's going to affect the edges the most, I'm dragging it all the way left, all the way right. Can you see, it just kind of like creeps in, gets rid of the ghosting, and what you might need to do now is come in a little bit, and then switch back to 'Composite'. You can see, if I go all the way in it probably sucks it in too far, but you can get this nice balance of-- the hair is always going to be the hardest, like any sort of masking, and the other thing to do is not spend too much time just looking at one frame. 

Once you've done it, and you've got it half good you move this along, because things are going to change, hopefully he's not moving-- the light source is changing-- not changing. That would be a real big hard thing to do, but you can see in here, it's pretty good most of the way through. You also need to be careful that you're not trying to get it perfect against this black, when it's not going to be-- we're going to actually use them quite small, and use them on top of our footage, so we're not going to spend forever getting it perfect. We're going to get it into position and then get it perfect, perfect enough. I seem to always stop on the gray frames. 

Actually before we shrink it down let's have a look at-- because these corners here are annoying. Let's go back to 'Alpha', so we can see them more clearly, and then 'Matte Generation' is probably going to be-- the one we need to do to get rid of those edges here. So you just kind of, like-- I wish I could give you like the exact same hard facts, but it really depends on your footage, and if I'm all honest I don't do a lot of,green screen, so there's a lot of this, back and forth, nope, undo, back and forth, nope undo. Shadow, no, undo. Tolerance is probably going to work. There it is there, it's getting pretty good. Get close to it, and definitely the 'Pedestal'. 

Don't worry too much about what these terms mean, it's all about getting the right effect. Sometimes you get it and you might have to come back, and play around with other parts. If it does start wrecking it you can go back to maybe, the Choke is a little bit too hard now, that I've done these other things, can you see, kind of bring the edges back. So there's a lot of 'to'ing and 'fro'ing, really the best green screens, happen when somebody has put the effort into lighting the green screen. So if you are in charge of doing some green screen, at school or at work, just make sure you spend ages trying to get the footage - Where's our source? - trying to get this lit nice and evenly. 

If you've got really highs and lows all over the place, or any sort of dirt or wrinkles, oh, it's the worst. If you've got green screen and it's not a taut sheet, it's not pulled nice and tight, and you've got wrinkles everywhere, man, that's hard, but you'll have to go off and check how to do proper lighting. For me, I've done it a couple of times and it's really, you need lots of fill lights behind the person, and I've had real big problems when the talent is too close to the green screen, and there's something called, well, there's spill, it spills off the background onto the person, kind of reaches around, and bits of the edges of him become green. So that when you remove the green screen he starts disappearing. 

If you do have that, the thing you're going to need to do is, this one here that says Spill Suppression. This will start messing around with the edges of him, and try to gather some of that back, but it is just trying to fix broken stuff if you've got a terrible green screen, but you might have a terrible green screen. 

The last thing I want to do is I want to zoom out, and I want to put this above, and hit my backslash, ' \ ' key. So let's pretend this guy is talking all the way through this tutorial, and it's me talking, I'm going to trim it up. He's too big, let's go to 'Fit', I want-- he's not too big, he's actually probably the right size. Let's say I want him-- I want to switch these around. So that's an interesting thing, so I want the green screen to be below my watermark. You'll see there, if I just dragged it on top it kind of just smooshes it. So what we really need to do is either add a new track, so that we can do some, you go there, you go there, some crazy old reordering, or do what I do and just kind of like drag you over there, you go up one, you come back across, there you go. 

So at least my watermark's on top of this man, there's another watermark. Let's listen to him. "I'm going to call it Layer 0, then in your Properties panel…" He does not match at all. Better imagine me talking. We can double click him and shrink him down, and just kind of have him at the bottom here. 

All right, that's it. One last thing to talk about, the other thing to consider is, when you are filming, if you are in charge of green screen make sure-- well the other thing is, what's the difference between blue screen and green screen. No difference, it's just, you just want a really high contrast, between the person or the object, and the background. In this case this dude turned up in a blue shirt, so if you did a blue background or blue screen, that's a terrible idea because you're going to end up masking out his shirt. 

So if you are in charge of, you know, the people, say "Don't wear a green shirt, or green pants", or if you're filming, say, plants, green screen's not going to work, because they're all green, you're going to have to do a red screen, or a blue screen, or whatever's going to be most high contrast, otherwise you end up with problems like this. Do you remember Anchor Man, have you seen Anchor Man? If you haven't, we'll watch the video together at the end, if you have you can skip along. Let's watch it together, we all need a break, we're getting towards the end of this video. It's funny, let's watch it. If you don't want to, skip along and I'll see you in the next video. 

"Happy St. Patrick's day to all of our native American friends. On the big map-- where's my map? There's no map, it's just green." "No, there's a map there, look at the monitor." "Oh God, Ron, where's my legs.  "Where are my legs?" "Your legs are there." "I don't have any legs, Ron. I don't even know how I'm standing up." "No, Brick, your legs are fine, the color of your pants just, just matches the Chroma key behind you." "In 93, 93." "Relax." That's enough of the, ah, green screen and Anchor Man, ah, some of the best. Now let's get on to the next video.