We are using a digital camera to capture stills for a stop motion animation. Obviously, there are a large number of stills for every few seconds of real time action. We are using about 12 stills to capture what will be 1 second of real time action. Before shooting each still image, we reposition the animation characters on the stage in the normal stop motion technique.
We shoot the stills with a simple solid colour background.
When we have the animation action scene shot, we open all of the images in Photoshop and select the background and create an alpha channel for the background area.
Then we import all of the stills into Premiere Pro and knock out the backgrounds of each still using the alpha keying filter, so that the desired background shows through from the lower track.
As you can see, this process is incredibly tedious!
We can’t use the batch action option in Photoshop since each still has the animated characters positioned slightly differently.
Is there an easier way to accomplish this?
If we brought the digital stills directly into Premiere Pro first, we could use the colour key filter to knock out the solid colour backgrounds, but this is sometimes not such a clean result on the edges of the shapes and requires fiddling with the keying controls. Also, it has to be done for each clip on the timeline anyway.
Does Premiere Pro offer some automation to this process? Could all of the stills on the timeline be somehow grouped and worked on all at once?
I am aware that if we connected a camcorder to a computer and used something like Sceneanalyzer, each capture would be saved as part of a single avi file and this would make the process much faster, but unfortunately, for this project we are unable to do the filming where the computers are and are forced to use digital cameras instead. These are my students’ projects and they are not able to capture from a camcorder connected to a computer, and some don’t even have a camcorder to use anyway.
I would greatly appreciate it if anyone can advise me on some way to make this process work faster.
Thanks a lot.
You could easily create a new Sequence in Premiere Pro, edit your frames in that sequence, and then nest that original sequence into another one. The original sequence would then act as a single clip, to which you can then apply a single chroma key effect.
By edit your frames in the sequence, I assume that you mean just laying them out on the timeline without having to do any of the bluescreen filtering at that stage?
If this works it will be a huge timesaver!!
You would probably be better off bringing the stills into After Effects as a numbered JPEG sequence and then working with the Keyer there. With After Effects Pro, you can use Keylight which is a very good keyer.
Thanks a lot.
Would bringing the stills into After Effects as a numbered JPEG sequence mean that they were then one single clip?
Could I then save the file after applying the chroma key and new background as a single clip and return to Premiere Pro to edit?
I don’t really have the time to teach the kids how to use AE to edit, and it’s not really the best to use to try adding the transitions and other editing operations that they will be doing to their animations.
Just to thank you again, David. Of all of the helpful advice I received on my problem, yours was the most simple and straightforward solution.
I can’t believe how simple it is to just drop dozens of stills onto the timeline, just as they come from a digital camera, and simply nest that sequence into a new one and have them all as a single clip that takes keying as a unit! I stretched the first and last still to create some editable handles and that was all.
You have saved us all countless hours and probably repetitive strain injuries to boot.