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Forums Cinematography Any good way of capturing 4:2:2 without breaking the bank?

  • Any good way of capturing 4:2:2 without breaking the bank?

  • Ethan Nunn

    April 28, 2020 at 12:57 am

    So I have a really bad Chroma Key setup. My lighting’s all over the place with no good way of getting even lighting so I have to make use of what I have now. I have an a6500 and I’m recording it with a capture card. Since the software I’m using records at 4:2:0 it’s not the best for chroma keying.

    Using AmarecTV I can record 4:2:2 (even 4:4:4) from my capture card but I don’t have the hard drive space to record lossless video all the time, and even my compressed x264vfw settings are pretty huge (if I remember correctly it was about 150+gb for a 1hr recording at CQP 14).

    I asked this question on another forum but the answer I was given was “buy an Atamos” but I don’t have the money for that. Is there anything else I can use to record 4:2:2? Is there any good lossy codecs that work for Amarec that record at 4:2:2 that won’t eat up all my hard drive space?

    move this to the appropriate forum if necessary

  • Todd Terry

    April 28, 2020 at 2:03 am

    Well I don’t have a solution for you, but I do have to ask this, which might keep you from spending a bunch of money…

    Even though the files generated are huge, have you tried, as a test, recording some of your key setup at 4:2:2, or 4:4:4 (even a short couple-of-seconds clip as a test)? If so, did that make a big difference? Did you get a perfect key?

    I ask because you admitted your key setup was “really bad” and your “lighting’s all over the place.” If that’s the case, improving your recording a little bit by going to 4:2:2 might not solve your problem. In fact it might not even improve it at all. I’ve pulled many flawless keys from 4:2:0 footage, because the lighting was good… but I’ve also struggled with even 4:4:4 footage because it was poorly lit. Kicking it up to 4:2:2 is not the golden ticket that’s going to make everything perfect or even easy if you start with bad footage captured in a bad environment.

    Not to be a smartass, but it’s a bit akin to telling your doctor “My foot hurts, what can I rub on my arm to make it feel better?” I just don’t want you spending a bunch of money (or wasting your time) buying an expensive recorder, when that’s not the problem. I understand that your shooting situation may be difficult, but getting good lighting when shooting comp shots is not only Rule #1, it’s really Rule #1 through about Rule #10 or #11. If your lighting is as you say “really bad” it might be an impossible situation to overcome… or at least require a lot of fairly painstaking roto work or garbage matting.


    Todd Terry
    Creative Director
    Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

  • Ethan Nunn

    April 28, 2020 at 2:28 am

    Yeah, I recorded 4 videos with Amarec at 4:2:2, it was better. Not “perfect”, but a lot better.

    Maybe my setup isn’t “really bad” but it’s a tad hard to get a good key sometimes. Here’s a screenshot of what I generally have to work with.

    The only problem I have is with my glasses frame, but I don’t think it’s a huge deal or anything. This is from the 4:2:2 footage.

    View post on

    View post on

  • Blaise Douros

    April 28, 2020 at 11:40 pm

    This may not be an option, but can you get your background set back any farther from your lights? What about some more diffusion on your lights before they hit the greenscreen? Even cheap-as-dirt shower curtain hung a few feet in front of your lights is better than nothing.

    As Todd pointed out, the better and more evenly your background is lit, the less you have to feather and/or extend the key range, so you’ll get a better key. 4:2:0 is still definitely doable if the lighting is good–and you may be able to do that a lot more cheaply than buying a bunch of extra storage to handle bigger footage.

  • Bernard Newnham

    April 30, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    I think it would be worth downloading DaVinci Resolve, and then experimenting with your key using the Delta Keyer in Fusion. The still you’ve provided ought to work easily.


  • Christopher Kinsman

    May 14, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    Hey Ethan,
    Don’t know the A6600, but if there’s a 4:2:2 out through HDMI
    you could use the Black Magic HyperDeck Shuttle 2.
    About $250 on the used market and would capture to
    HD (not 4k) uncompressed 10bit or ProRes 422 HQ or Avid DNX
    4K would require their Pro Deck version around 1600.
    Hope this helps!
    All the best.

  • Jamie Kennerley

    May 24, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Hey Ethan,

    I’d agree with Todd and Blaise here. Achieving 4:2:2 is not really the solution you need. Even if you could break the bank to buy an Atomos, that money being spent elsewhere could upskill you to the point that you wouldn’t even really need one.

    Yeah, if you can get more distance from yourself and the greenscreen, and the lights and greenscreen, then you’re standing yourself in better stead already. If your greenscreen is too small to allow this, then perhaps it’d be worth trying to pick up a larger one cheap on Ebay – and these things really are/can be cheap nowadays.

    And then for lighting, again, you really don’t need expensive lights. There are a bunch of tutorials on youtube to improve lighting skills – some specific to greenscreen, and others likely specific to the minimal resources you’re working with.

    And I think downloading Resolve, if you haven’t already, and then trying to adjust your own setup, and start to play around to try to achieve better results. With time and trial and error it’ll come. There’s so many free resources online nowadays that you should defo be able to get there without the 4:2:2, plus you’ll have learnt how to light better along the way.

    Hope that helps.


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