Chroma-key

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Ian McKenzie

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There is an old saying that “photographs don’t tell lies”. Well, that saying must have been in use well before the digital age of photography. With modern software available it is relatively easy to digitally manipulate any photograph whether that photograph was taken with a digital camera, or was scanned from a negative or print taken with a film camera.

Chroma-key or Green Screen Photography
One method of photographic manipulation I have been experimenting with in recent months is chroma-key, or green screen photography.

In chroma-key photography, subjects are positioned with a green screen backdrop background and then photographed. Post processing of the images then involves the use of a software program in which a colour, in this case green, is deleted from the image. The result is the subject(s) with a transparent background. Another photograph is then layered behind the original photograph.

One potential problem with this process is if the subject is wearing green clothing, then this also will probably become transparent or at least translucent in places. Blue screens can also be used, as can any other colour. However, it has generally been found that green is best in most circumstances. Some colours such as red for example will also delete pink skin tones.

Setting up the lighting and screens for this type of photography does take a little time and effort. Elimination of shadows and fairly even background lighting on the screen is important to make the post-processing of the images less time consuming.

Several software programs are available for this mode of photography, but the program I use currently is FXhome PhotoKey 4.

Below I shall place some “before and after” photographs, images with the green screen background and the results of my manipulation. Well, they are not all the same photos. When I had done the Chroma-key conversions I had not planned on this web site page. In the shoot with the photos I have posted below, I took several hundred photographs. When it came to finding the originals to pair up, I had difficulty finding the correct ones . . . , but I am sure you will get the idea.

Ranee 01
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Ranee 02
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7585
Ranee and Lochlan
DSC_7440
Ranee and Lochlan 03
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