Green Screen 10.5

I guess a Leopard can change its spots if it’s Apple’s newest operating system. PC people with chroma key capability may want to stick with this post just for the example of a staff training video with green screen and Mac users should be warned that the specifics of this exercise are only done with the most recent OSX, 10.5.
Many of you have picked up on my disappointment that the newest version of iMovie left out some great previous features and did not include a chroma key effect that is built into the free online conferencing program, iChat, which is part of the Leopard ugrade. A chance exchange of emails with fellow Illinoisan (Rose Bowl, what rose bowl?) and Apple Distinguished Educator, Bruce Ahlborn, clued me in to the same feature that is also in PhotoBooth. AND it can be saved as a movie AND imported into iMovie for further tweaking and editing.

photo-18.jpg So, as an example, I’m using a screen movie of how this is done. I captured the operations of going into PhotoBooth, choosing Video Effects from the Video menu, and then arrowing over to the add your own background screen with a free program for Leopard called Berio. If I had used a commercial program like SnapzPro by Ambrosia I could have limited the screen capture to just the part of the screen I wanted to show instead of capturing everything showing on my laptop’s monitor. There is another free movie screen capture program for both Mac and PC but it saves to its own server and may take some finagling to actually get your “hands” on the movie: The Jing Project.

Unlike traditional chroma key shots, PhotoBooth (and iChat) in 10.5 “memorizes” the background. Then you step back into the scene and it replaces those memorized pixels with a still picture or movie of your choice. I wanted to give you a feel of how the program actually replaces the many different shapes and colors of any background. Unfortunatley, one wall and my skin seemed to be a close match and wood and my hair also blended. If you were to actually set up a green or blue or any solid color, well lit background it would really be a piece of cake for the program to insert your graphic behind you. Here’s a quick movie in a movie walking you through the process.

With any green screen program, this can be a fun way to make staff or student training videos. By utilizing a head to foot shot, you can literally walk and point your way through the interface of any program to help your intended audience “get the picture.”P.S. Thanks to Hall’s pointing out that my part is on the wrong side, I see that PhotoBooth reverses the “live shot” but leaves the background the right way. You can see the Discovery logo is reversed on my shirt in one of the pictures and all through the movie. You can flip photos in PhotoBooth, but not videos (which would in turn reverse your background). I’ll have to investigate this phenomenon and get back to you.


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One Comment;

  1. Susan said:

    How cool! Just when I thought I knew greenscreen stuff! Thanks for the info. I am soooo close to joining the macworld (perhaps after I pay off my son’s college loans).

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