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Like all things that use computers and technology there has been many advances over the years in regards to how green screen is keyed. Over the last few years one of the most popular new technologies for doing green screens is the Tricaster. The tricaster is manufactured by New Tek who started in FX with their lightwave product. What is so revolutionary about the tricaster is that it is a portable post production editing bay. It gets it’s name from it’s ability to switch between three cameras at one time. The newer units offer HD streams and one click internet publishing. But most importantly it offers real time green screen chormakey editing. There are few software products on the market that offer better keyying than a tricaster.
What is Chromakey?
Chromakey is a special effects technique to layer two images together. It is used to remove background images and place the subject into a photo or video. Also referred to color separation overlay. CSO. Some of the most common examples are news anchors or weather maps. In the entertainment industry it is often used in movies. Popular software programs that allow for green screen FX are Final Cut, Adobe After Effects and Pinnacle Studio. The blue screen was developed by RKO studios in the 1930′s. Later during the production of Star Trek the Next Generation a new technique was proposed using ultra violet light on an orange back drop. This new technology cut down the time involved in producing the FX by one quarter. This lead to CGI FX that are common place in the film industry today.
Everyone has seen a move that was obviously green screened. The final season of Dexter featured an episode with Dexter on his boat with Deb and Dr Vogel on his boat dumping a body. It was clearly green screen. The reason it looked like a cheap 50′s film was they didn’t key out the green properly. Getting the lighting right is the only way to get green screen video to look right. It’s not for the neuvius. It takes practice but if you know what your doing and you do it right it really should look seamless. Boat filming is really tough and it makes sense to green screen it on productions with limited budgets and limited time. While Dexter has a very high production value my guess is they had some weather issues and a time frame that required them to use a green screen and the last minute solution didn’t get the proper experienced talent to do it right. Previous episodes on the water have looked fine and it’s doubtful that they used green screen on them, which explains the clear lack of production value during that one episode.