Video Editing with Pinnacle + Green Screen in 90 minutes

This weekend I tackled what I thought would be a very difficult project with a big learning curve, but it turned out to be very very easy.

I learned how to create a green screen effect with video.  Green Screen (or blue screen) technically known as Chroma key is the method in video where a foreground image or video is overlaid on a background image or video.

You film the foreground image with a back drop that is all green or all blue.  This was commonly used in TV news with weather maps (blue) and later used quite a bit in Hollywood to film movies like the gollum scenes in Lord of the Rings.

I learned how to do it in about 90 minutes.  I was going slow actually, because I didn't want to miss a step in what I assumed would be tricky.

I was using a great software program (also very cheap) called Pinnacle Studio MovieBox Ultimate.  It cost $150 (with cheaper version available).  That's cheap compared to many video editing programs that run from $400 - $2000, and Pinnacle is considered one of the better programs for the PC.

I was rapidly able to transplant my video image onto a number of settings from sitting in a SouthPark class room to sitting in front of the Pyramids in Egypt to flying on a fake bird to providing a narration of a trip I took to Cahokia Mounds in Illinois.

This was a very easy process and the software I purchase actually came with the green screen included along with cords and a device for converting video from my camcorder to my laptop via usb. (can also grab video off of TiVO or DVRs and send it to your laptop as well). Very easy to use.

It delivered great results, but the user manual is a little difficult to read. It seems that a great deal of work was put into the actual product but not the manual or users guide. That was part of the reason why I expected it to be harder to learn how to do, but the software was easy afterall. So who knows the next time you see my mug, it may look like I'm in a formal setting or underwater or flying or something while in reality I am relaxing on a chair on my wifi fishing dock by the lake. (Looking at upgrading the bar stools from metal to teak furniture sometime soon btw).)

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