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with examples




Keying, also known as green-screening, is the process of isolating foreground subjects from a background to later composite a different background behind it. In the example below the color green is removed from the image and an explosion and two dinosaurs are added instead.

It can be hard to get keying to look "good." Knowing the exact look you're going after and having experience with keying is a must to get exceptional results. Do you want realism or something stylistic? Knowing your budget, time frame, and quality goals are essential in developing great keying creative. (28).gif
dino rico

Most of the green-screening we experience day-to-day watching movies may go unnoticed, that's the intention with narrative keying. 

Narrative keying is all about immersing your characters and therein your audience in another world. The camera movement is unobstructed, free to roam, and acts normally looking anywhere it pleases. 

Whether realistic or stylish, narrative keying is the most complex form of keying as it involves tedious planning for staging, lighting, environmental effects, and wardrobe.


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A common reason for keying, especially when working with A-list talent, is for scheduling. If you have a shoot that takes place in one part of the world and the talent can't travel there during your shoot due to their schedule, keying is often a more affordable option. 

In the example here, Machine Gun Kelly and Jake Paul were unable to be in Cleveland to shoot for an All-Star 2022 project Jason directed. As a result, Jason suggested they shoot their parts on green-screen. Not only did this save time and money but it also allowed MGK and Jake Paul to be in the spot when they would have otherwise been unable to.

Keying is often used to achieve sequences that aren't inherently impossible to shoot but due to the nature of production are cheaper to shoot on green-screen.

In the example here, Jason shot a commercial for the Apple Arcade Edition of NBA 2K on green-screen in Ronnie2K's home. Shooting the spot this way saved budget on locations, studio rentals, permitting, crew, travel, and shooting time in general. 

As a result, the spot was ideated and created within a matter of days versus weeks or months. Keying for budget and time can be a highly effective way of optimizing production. 


While keying serves as an effective way to serve production needs, it's also at its core a creative tool. There are some setups that are simply impossible to achieve without keying.

In the example here, Rico Nasty is duplicated over 20 times in a single take for the "Popstar" music video. Once duplicated, she is color graded, edited, and positioned individually.

From creating larger than life action sequences to poppy graphic art, keying is one of the main techniques used. 

During his time working with Rico Nasty, Jason frequently used green-screening and rotoscoping, the process of seperating a subject from a non-similar background, to create larger then life album artworks. 


Have a project that needs keying?