How to Pull Off the Perfect Chroma/Green Key in Premiere Pro CC 2017

It goes without saying that the perfect chroma keying starts with a seamless green screen setup. The proper lighting will help you to get an evenly lit background which then will make pulling off the perfect chroma key a piece of cake.

If you are not sure how to build your green screen setup properly, there is a decent amount of free online resources on the topic, including a comprehensive article on this blog in which we’ve already covered the details that you can check out here.

Now, without further ado, let’s find out how to get the perfect chroma key once you throw your green screen footage right inside Premiere Pro CC 2017.

Before you add the Ultra Key effect to your main green screen clip, it’s recommended to create a mask around your main subject and use only this particular section just as shown in the video. To do so, head on to the Opacity tab of your clip and pick the Pen tool. Once you finish your mask, scrub through the entire video and make sure that all the action is taking place inside the mask.

Then navigate to the Effects Library and search for the Ultra Key. Drag the filter directly onto your green screen clip, go to the Effects panel and under Key Color use the color picker to select the green color in the background of your footage. Hence you should instantly get your key. For further adjustments, set the Output of the Ultra Key to Alpha Channel. By enabling this mode, you’ll be able to see everything that’s being keyed out in your frame in white.

To improve the results and get the perfect key, you should probably play around with the Matte Generation settings of the Ultra Key. For instance, by tweaking the Transparency, Highlight, Shadow, Tolerance, and Pedestal, you’ll be able to eliminate the spill and make your mask perfectly white across the board. Other adjustments that will help you in that regard even further are the Matte Cleanup and Spill Suppression settings. The first will allow you to fine-tune the outline of the mask itself, whereas the latter will help you to eliminate any visible spill on your main subject.

Once you’re satisfied with your chroma key, it’s time to throw the background video into the mix by placing it below your green screen clip and do some final color corrections to your foreground image by utilizing the Lumetri Color panel. Just make sure that the latter is applied after the Ultra Key in the Effects panel.

By utilizing the powerful tools and assets that Premiere Pro CC 2017 provides, you can pull off a decent key on almost any occasion and create shots that are normally impossible or too expensive to execute. And, the best part is that this workflow saves you a ton of time and effort, plus you can play back the footage in real-time and see the final results right off the bat.


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