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Old 07-07-2006, 12:00 PM   #1
oakstreetphotovideo
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QuickTime Player Chroma-key software for Mac ($59.99) [Vector Keyer]

Quicktime plug-in that works great for keying DV (4:1:1), or most other digital video. Easy to use. Free downloadable demo available. Mac/Intel version available (by request only until 7/15/2006).

I wrote this plug-in. I created it because the best keyer I found for DV was the keyer in Discreet's Combustion and I just couldn't justify $800 for a chroma-keyer (nothing against Combustion; it's a great tool, if you need it). I am a software developer, so I spent some time, researching and experimenting with different keying algorithms. When I finally came up with my vector based keyer, I configured the controls to give maximum capability with minimum confusion. I think the keyer is fast and easy to setup. It works great. The documentation describes each control, when to use it, and what it does. It even comes with great customer support. Just e-mail support, or call me, if you have a question or problem.

The keyer also has built in green suppression that works really well. I haven't yet implemented blue suppression, since all of my work is done on green. I hope to release a Windows version, someday, as well. At this time, there is no schedule for the Windows port.

See: http://www.oakstreetsoftware.com/gkey/ for more information, chroma-keying tips, some sample keys, and a free demo version.

Thank you, for your support.
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Old 07-07-2006, 03:47 PM   #2
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Sample footage looks impressive. Tips are great and usable in any keying application!
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Old 07-07-2006, 05:45 PM   #3
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Are you working on a Windows version of this for Quicktime 7? If so, I'd be interested.

The footage is quite impressive.
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Old 07-07-2006, 06:13 PM   #4
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I've got an "Intel" version finished and tested. I just need to work out the details of how to build a Quicktime component on Windows. It should then work on Windows.
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Old 07-14-2006, 12:22 AM   #5
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Idea

The VKey2 component is now shipping as a universal binary. It will work on PowerPC and Intel Macs. All Universal binaries require Tiger, so if someone wants or needs a version for OS X 10.3, I still have the PowerPC version available for the asking; assuming they purchase a license.

Windows is still a way off, because I'm a bit swamped with projects. I'm scheduled to do an interview on "Inside Mac" this Saturday, July 15. The interview will be broadcast live, but they also produce a podcast of the show.

p.s. I also updated my opening movie on the web-site. Just a 12 second edit from the work I'm doing on a more lengthy presentation.
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Old 07-14-2006, 04:04 PM   #6
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How is your software licenced? Free updates until the next major version number or free updates for life with purchase?

(I'm looking into getting a MacBook Pro for all my editing needs)
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Old 07-14-2006, 04:18 PM   #7
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You ask for a lot for $59.99, but I plan to upgrade existing customers for the life of the product. That said, however, I don't foresee a lot of changes in this product. I have plans to add some edge enhancement options and there may be improvements in HDV support, but there isn't much more I'd want to do in the Quicktime plug-in architecture. I definitely don't want to overcomplicate the interface. It is pretty easy to learn, as it is; more complicated isn't necessarily better.

So, to answer your question, it would be free updates for life, but the product is near the end of it's development cycle.

Douglas Toltzman
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Old 08-10-2006, 02:59 PM   #8
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I just completed an update to my vector keying software. I improved the edges by adding an anti-aliasing filter, and revising the guassian blur algorithm. I also expose the internal chroma smoothing and added a switch to turn off the keyer, so you can use the filter as a high quality chroma-smoother.

There is more information, and a video tutorial on the web page (http://www.oakstreetsoftware.com/gkey/).

Last edited by oakstreetphotovideo; 08-10-2006 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 08-10-2006, 09:04 PM   #9
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I wish I knew how to code, Because everything you say is greek to me.

I've used Sony Vegas for my green screen. On vegas4, They didnt have much a feathering tool, so the persons hair or edges were not fluid.

Then, I got to use Sony Veg 6, and it was a huge improvement with the edge blur. You dont notice it like you do with the feather. Its not blurred out. But, on high definition video, you can still see a little of the jittering effect around the edges.

Please explain in a way (For none developers) to understand how you have worked out these common chromakey problems that are found in other inexpensive softwares.

I own 3D Studio Max but I've never tried discreets Combustion. I'm told it's a must have in special
effects.


(http://www.oakstreetsoftware.com/gkey/). <----------- =Page not found

We regret to inform you that, although you may have gotten this error by no fault of your own, the page you are requesting cannot be found on this server.

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Old 08-10-2006, 09:12 PM   #10
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Hey, I allow directX to run, I've upgraded to Quicktime 7x and I only get a blank white screen with audio on the demo video.

I can view your other videos though.
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Old 08-10-2006, 10:23 PM   #11
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King, are you using Windows or Mac? I know I have code on the web-page to use DirectX, but I'm afraid I don't test it, because I'm very Mac-centric here.

Apparently, the right parenthesis got included in the URL. I should have left a space after that slash. So, the URL is:

http://www.oakstreetsoftware.com/gkey/

Regarding the keyer function, I took it as a personal challenge to find a way to key 4:1:1 video, which most of the world just declared as unfit for chroma-keying. To some extent, I have to agree the DV 4:1:1 is probably not a good choice for chroma-keying, but many of us have these cameras, and I was determined to find a way to get a decent key. What my keyer does differently is to carefully reconstruct the missing chroma information, and use the result to generate a smoother key. I also use a vector based algorithm which is just a fancy way of saying that the key doesn't just go from transparent to opaque, but rather has a gradient of opacity along the edges.

The new feature that I added uses a simple anti-aliasing algorithm to smooth the jagged edges in the matte. Previously, I had a normal gaussian blur option to soften the matte, but that would cause the transparent areas to be polluted by the scattering from the opaque areas, which created a halo around the subject that was hard to get rid of and looked less than ideal.

My change to the gaussian blur algorithm was to blur the opaque regions of the matte and guard against increasing the opacity in the transparent areas of the matte. i.e. don't allow the blur to create a halo!

I can't speak for the other developers, but I know I've given this a lot of thought. Also, my motivation is to make a better keyer for my own use. I believe developers who use their own products are more likely to make the tools work well.

I wish you could watch my setup tutorial. I had to use H.264 compression to get it down to 38MB. The standard MPEG4 compression just would not produce good results below 300Kbps.
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Old 08-11-2006, 03:26 AM   #12
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Hi

I'm just about to use your software for a project for a client -- I've just downloaded the update -- so I'll let you know how it goes.

Should be interesting because I've never used green screen techniques before (But it's OK I know how to light for them -- even light on the back cloth, back light to separate out the people, then a good light source on the subjects etc, etc).
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Old 08-11-2006, 07:58 AM   #13
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I'd like to see footage when you're done if your client allows it.
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Old 08-11-2006, 09:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
I'd like to see footage when you're done if your client allows it.
Not this project, as I'm working with kids -- but if I get a chance to do some test shots I'll post them.
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Old 08-11-2006, 02:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oakstreetphotovideo
King, are you using Windows or Mac? I know I have code on the web-page to use DirectX, but I'm afraid I don't test it, because I'm very Mac-centric here.

Apparently, the right parenthesis got included in the URL. I should have left a space after that slash. So, the URL is:

http://www.oakstreetsoftware.com/gkey/

Regarding the keyer function, I took it as a personal challenge to find a way to key 4:1:1 video, which most of the world just declared as unfit for chroma-keying. To some extent, I have to agree the DV 4:1:1 is probably not a good choice for chroma-keying, but many of us have these cameras, and I was determined to find a way to get a decent key. What my keyer does differently is to carefully reconstruct the missing chroma information, and use the result to generate a smoother key. I also use a vector based algorithm which is just a fancy way of saying that the key doesn't just go from transparent to opaque, but rather has a gradient of opacity along the edges.

The new feature that I added uses a simple anti-aliasing algorithm to smooth the jagged edges in the matte. Previously, I had a normal gaussian blur option to soften the matte, but that would cause the transparent areas to be polluted by the scattering from the opaque areas, which created a halo around the subject that was hard to get rid of and looked less than ideal.

My change to the gaussian blur algorithm was to blur the opaque regions of the matte and guard against increasing the opacity in the transparent areas of the matte. i.e. don't allow the blur to create a halo!

I can't speak for the other developers, but I know I've given this a lot of thought. Also, my motivation is to make a better keyer for my own use. I believe developers who use their own products are more likely to make the tools work well.

I wish you could watch my setup tutorial. I had to use H.264 compression to get it down to 38MB. The standard MPEG4 compression just would not produce good results below 300Kbps.

Was simply a ie setting problem. I, was able to watch it in the firefox browser.
You did a good job at making this program. I was impressed with the quality for the price you're asking for.

The only obvious problem (Which you clearly pointed out ) was the shadow was off on the girl. Looked like she was on a stage. I think for your demo you should reshoot your model, with the proper lighting and shadow to match that of your scene. I say this because it may have a big impact on someones decision to purchase the product. He or she may feel that the edges might not come out with shaded regions. When you light up your character, its alot easier to chromakey then when you have different shadings on the persons body. I have found that I had to double layer a chromakey effect to get it to look right, because the different shades can have an effect on some video cameras and making the background screen change shades of green.
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