CyberLink PowerDirector: Green Screen Doesn’t Have To Cover Entire Frame

CyberLink PowerDirector is my video editor of choice. Great product! (Sadly, like all software these days, it’s lightly documented.) I just figured out an interesting way to do green screen without having the green screen cover the entire frame.

That sure makes things easier. I did the ham radio videos using green screen. I took video of myself in front of a green screen that completely covered the frame. Then I substituted a photo for a background. I was hampered by the size and shape of the old movie screen I used to hold up the green cloth. This meant I really had to zoom in, which put me sitting very close to the green screen. And green light reflected from the cloth into my hair and coat, making it difficult to set the green screen controls right.

But! There’s an easier way! Take your shots of whatever you want to superimpose on something else with enough green screen to cover just that subject. Then, when you use Modify, you can create a mask that homes in on the green (and your subject), then go set the chroma key, and voila! you have your subject superimposed on the backdrop. Here are a few screen shots to illustrate how this is done.

Step 1

Step 1. Shoot video. Note that green screen does not cover the entire frame. Two objects are in front of the green screen--a small stuffed animal and a lamp.

Step 2

Place the video on Track 2. Use a background image on Track 1. I used one of CyberLink's default background images. Select the video you placed on Track 2, and click on "Modify." Then, at the upper left hand corner, click on what looks like a hexagon. This brings up a rectangular border.

Step 3

Note that you should uncheck the box in the lower left hand corner so that you can modify the aspect ratio freely. Then, with your mouse, push the border around.

Step 4

This screen shot shows that the mask is being adjusted to fit the green screen. The background on Track 1 shows through.

Note that what you’re doing is using a mask. You are not changing the size or shape of the video with the green screen in it. You’re just masking out the part you don’t want. 
Step 5

Now you've got your mask such that only the part with green screen is visible.

Step 6

Now click on the left hand light bulb, click on "Apply chroma key," and click on the pen dropper. Adjust until you like it.

The example isn’t the world’s best video. I shot it quickly to illustrate the concept. In this next picture, you can see the result.
Step 7

This is what results. You see the tiny stuffed animal plus the lamp.

True, not Oscar-winning material, but it illustrates the concept nicely and shows that you can do green screen without needing giant green backdrops. Note that you don’t have to use a rectangle as a mask—other options are available. Experiment!

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1 Response to CyberLink PowerDirector: Green Screen Doesn’t Have To Cover Entire Frame

  1. Scott Taylor says:

    HI. Thanks for the awesome write-up. I have a “How To” file full of step-by-step stuff like this for other programs I use because the programs can get deep pretty fast.

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