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Nazarene Israel  
#1 Posted : Monday, November 25, 2019 8:06:56 PM(UTC)
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Hi all.
I am the alleged "talent" who is also the purchaser at this point.

I am sorry to say this, but I have a TriCaster Mini which I hate (because it is not really stable, and their technical support reminds me of a really bad army motor pool I once knew), but it offers me LiveMatte chromakey (which I need, because it plays well with my frizzy beard).

I love vMix, because it does everything I need, and seems rock stable (which my TriCaster isn't). And it is a whole lot less expensive. Only, I can't use vMix for chromakey work, because vMix's chroma does not play well with my frizzy beard.

If I could get LiveMatte on vMix, I would probably forget about TriCaster altogether. This would be important for me, because I am looking at purchasing one or two new systems soon. I would vastly prefer to go vMix (for stability), but I need the LiveMatte if I do chroma (and my editors are all pushing for chroma...).

Is it possible to get LiveMatte on vMix for less than it costs to buy a TriCaster? Or how can I get this capability within vMix? Because I love vMix's stability--I just really need LiveMatte.
Thanks.
zenvideo  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, November 26, 2019 1:58:25 AM(UTC)
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Given that the LiveMatte keyer is trademarked by NewTek, I can hardly imagine them making it available (or even licensing it) to a rival like vMix...
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Nazarene Israel on 11/26/2019(UTC)
mjgraves  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, November 26, 2019 2:49:24 AM(UTC)
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There are many chroma plugins out there. I wonder if there's a way to pass a source into such a thing and return it to vMix via NDI?

Like VST for video?

FWIW, early in my career I spent a lot of time using Ultimatte and the SpectraKey built-into Ampex switchers. It irks me how bad most chroma keys are these days, when they should be fantastic. We could key glass, smoke, and transparent liquids in the 90s. It just took time to light and really dial-in the keyer, paying attention to the edge quality. Now people seem to be happy just to cut a hole.
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Nazarene Israel on 11/26/2019(UTC)
Nazarene Israel  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, November 26, 2019 2:55:52 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: zenvideo Go to Quoted Post
Given that the LiveMatte keyer is trademarked by NewTek, I can hardly imagine them making it available (or even licensing it) to a rival like vMix...


Zenvideo, thanks. I should be more specific. I don't really need "LiveMatte (TM)." What I need is a hardware keyer that will work with vMix, and play well with my frizzy beard. I don't care about the brand.

I am doing a little more research. Would something like this work?

Datavideo DVK-300 Chromakeyer

https://www.bhphotovideo...chromakeyer.html/reviews
Nazarene Israel  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, November 26, 2019 3:07:58 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: mjgraves Go to Quoted Post
There are many chroma plugins out there. I wonder if there's a way to pass a source into such a thing and return it to vMix via NDI?
Like VST for video?
FWIW, early in my career I spent a lot of time using Ultimatte and the SpectraKey built-into Ampex switchers. It irks me how bad most chroma keys are these days, when they should be fantastic. We could key glass, smoke, and transparent liquids in the 90s. It just took time to light and really dial-in the keyer, paying attention to the edge quality. Now people seem to be happy just to cut a hole.


MJGraves, thanks! When you say plugins, are you talking hardware or software? (I will need to do some research...)

Searching for Chromakey on B&H turns up a few different possibilities.

https://www.bhphotovideo...chromakeyer.html/reviews

https://www.bhphotovideo...1_ultimatte_11_blue.html

https://www.bhphotovideo...mkey12_ultimatte_12.html

There may be others. I need to check out SpectraKey and Ampex.

Obviously I would prefer to go with an affordable solution if the quality is good. But even if it costs more, what I really need is a rock-stable system for broadcast--and as far as I am concerned, TriCaster isn't it.
mjgraves  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, November 26, 2019 4:18:08 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Nazarene Israel Go to Quoted Post

MJGraves, thanks! When you say plugins, are you talking hardware or software? (I will need to do some research...)

Searching for Chromakey on B&H turns up a few different possibilities.

https://www.bhphotovideo...chromakeyer.html/reviews

https://www.bhphotovideo...1_ultimatte_11_blue.html

https://www.bhphotovideo...mkey12_ultimatte_12.html

There may be others. I need to check out SpectraKey and Ampex.



Ampex SpectraKey was a competitor to Ultimatte that arose in their switchers when component analog (YUV) processing came to pass. That was in the height of analog, when SDI was brand new and $$$. I had an Ampex Vista CAV switcher that was bought specifically on the strength of its keyer. Sadly, that was long, long ago and the tech died with the company.

Ultimatte are the reference standard, at a price. Their technology has been licensed to software plugin vendors over the years. I suspect that for a single source you could deliver good results using a suitably powerful PC.

OTOH, you could certainly use their hardware. You'd just need the I/O to get it into your vMix system. Not much $, given what you would have already spent for the keyer.

I've oft thought that it would be great if Martin enhanced the keyer in vMix, but many people probably find the current one to be adequate. To do better would likely consume hardware resources that most people would not appreciate.
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Nazarene Israel on 11/26/2019(UTC)
Nazarene Israel  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, November 26, 2019 4:44:59 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: mjgraves Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Nazarene Israel Go to Quoted Post

MJGraves, thanks! When you say plugins, are you talking hardware or software? (I will need to do some research...)

Searching for Chromakey on B&H turns up a few different possibilities.

https://www.bhphotovideo...chromakeyer.html/reviews

https://www.bhphotovideo...1_ultimatte_11_blue.html

https://www.bhphotovideo...mkey12_ultimatte_12.html

There may be others. I need to check out SpectraKey and Ampex.



Ampex SpectraKey was a competitor to Ultimatte that arose in their switchers when component analog (YUV) processing came to pass. That was in the height of analog, when SDI was brand new and $$$. I had an Ampex Vista CAV switcher that was bought specifically on the strength of its keyer. Sadly, that was long, long ago and the tech died with the company.

Ultimatte are the reference standard, at a price. Their technology has been licensed to software plugin vendors over the years. I suspect that for a single source you could deliver good results using a suitably powerful PC.

OTOH, you could certainly use their hardware. You'd just need the I/O to get it into your vMix system. Not much $, given what you would have already spent for the keyer.

I've oft thought that it would be great if Martin enhanced the keyer in vMix, but many people probably find the current one to be adequate. To do better would likely consume hardware resources that most people would not appreciate.


I know I would appreciate it. What all is involved with that?

I checked these hardware keyers. They are all HDMI / SDI. B&H did not know of any NDI hardware keyers. I have a couple of Canon HF-S10 cameras that send a real pretty HDMI signal out the side, I could probably use one of them with one of these keyers, and then convert the output either to USB, or back to NDI / Ethernet, and then bring it into the PC and vMix. That would be a lot less expensive than a TriCaster (and probably a lot more stable, also).
mjgraves  
#8 Posted : Thursday, December 19, 2019 7:23:23 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Nazarene Israel Go to Quoted Post
I checked these hardware keyers. They are all HDMI / SDI. B&H did not know of any NDI hardware keyers. I have a couple of Canon HF-S10 cameras that send a real pretty HDMI signal out the side, I could probably use one of them with one of these keyers, and then convert the output either to USB, or back to NDI / Ethernet, and then bring it into the PC and vMix. That would be a lot less expensive than a TriCaster (and probably a lot more stable, also).


NDI, SDI, HDMI...these are all just forms of connectivity. SDI or HDMI can be converted to/from NDI. That usually incurs some cost both in $ and latency.

If you wanted to use a hardware keyer you could use something like BirdDog convertors where you needed SDI<>NDI. It could be cheaper to use SDI capture cards, assuming your vMix host supported adding such a card.
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Nazarene Israel on 12/19/2019(UTC)
mjgraves  
#9 Posted : Thursday, December 19, 2019 7:58:03 AM(UTC)
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Upon reflection, you might consider the new ATEM Mini from Black Magic Design. For $400 it has a lot to offer, including a Chroma Keyer. Since BMD owns Ultimatte, they know a thing or two about chroma keying.

You would using this upstream of your vMix host. You can load a still background image and key yourself over that, or another of its inputs. The completed composite would be passed to vMix.

Connecting via USB-C, it would appear to your vMix host as a webcam.

Definitely worth a try. Probably the most cost effective way to have an outboard keyer.
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Nazarene Israel on 12/26/2019(UTC), RobLambert on 1/1/2020(UTC)
Nazarene Israel  
#10 Posted : Thursday, December 26, 2019 1:10:19 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: mjgraves Go to Quoted Post
Upon reflection, you might consider the new ATEM Mini from Black Magic Design. For $400 it has a lot to offer, including a Chroma Keyer. Since BMD owns Ultimatte, they know a thing or two about chroma keying.

You would using this upstream of your vMix host. You can load a still background image and key yourself over that, or another of its inputs. The completed composite would be passed to vMix.

Connecting via USB-C, it would appear to your vMix host as a webcam.

Definitely worth a try. Probably the most cost effective way to have an outboard keyer.


MJGraves, I mulled that over, and I think that is a great idea. Thank you for that!

I wonder if anyone knows how well the keyer in the ATEM Mini compares to LiveMatte in a TriCaster Mini? (Because once I order it from the states, customs and shipping makes it hard to return.)

(Ehm, maybe I should ask on the NewTek Forum?...)
mjgraves  
#11 Posted : Friday, December 27, 2019 1:41:24 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Nazarene Israel Go to Quoted Post

MJGraves, I mulled that over, and I think that is a great idea. Thank you for that!

I wonder if anyone knows how well the keyer in the ATEM Mini compares to LiveMatte in a TriCaster Mini? (Because once I order it from the states, customs and shipping makes it hard to return.)

(Ehm, maybe I should ask on the NewTek Forum?...)


I would not expect much or well qualified comment from that crowd. The ATEM Mini is very new, but YouTube reviews are starting to show up. Some go beyond unboxing. I saw one that went into the use of the keyer in some detail.

I would think that, if it should prove unsatisfactory, you could resell it for only a small loss. That's what I would do.

BTW - the actual price seem to be $299. The higher price was only shown as Amazon before they were shipping.

B and H Photo video in NYC still has it listed as a pre-order item. Not yet shipping. At $299 it's cheaper than even just the interfaces necessary to connect up an SDI device.
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Nazarene Israel on 12/27/2019(UTC)
Nazarene Israel  
#12 Posted : Friday, December 27, 2019 9:20:17 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: mjgraves Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Nazarene Israel Go to Quoted Post

MJGraves, I mulled that over, and I think that is a great idea. Thank you for that!

I wonder if anyone knows how well the keyer in the ATEM Mini compares to LiveMatte in a TriCaster Mini? (Because once I order it from the states, customs and shipping makes it hard to return.)

(Ehm, maybe I should ask on the NewTek Forum?...)


I would not expect much or well qualified comment from that crowd. The ATEM Mini is very new, but YouTube reviews are starting to show up. Some go beyond unboxing. I saw one that went into the use of the keyer in some detail.

I would think that, if it should prove unsatisfactory, you could resell it for only a small loss. That's what I would do.

BTW - the actual price seem to be $299. The higher price was only shown as Amazon before they were shipping.

B and H Photo video in NYC still has it listed as a pre-order item. Not yet shipping. At $299 it's cheaper than even just the interfaces necessary to connect up an SDI device.


Hi MJGraves,
Do you know who Lon Seidman is? He did one of the pop-up reviews on the Amazon page. I wrote him, and he had this to say:

"Having used the old ATEMs that had a pretty lousy keyer the mini is a definite improvement (as you can see from my review). But ultimately the Tricaster is a much better experience. That said the Mini is $249 and the Tricaster can run from $6000 - $8000. A happy medium might be a PC running OBS which has a decent keyer too."

I appreciate his review. I don't want any more TriCasters, so I think I will keep working on this Datavideo device, which is supposed to do good with fine hair, veils, etc. Or, maybe just forget all about chroma and go with a regular backdrop or set. (It sure would be a whole lot easier.)
mjgraves  
#13 Posted : Saturday, December 28, 2019 1:13:12 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Nazarene Israel Go to Quoted Post

Do you know who Lon Seidman is? He did one of the pop-up reviews on the Amazon page. I wrote him, and he had this to say:

"Having used the old ATEMs that had a pretty lousy keyer the mini is a definite improvement (as you can see from my review). But ultimately the Tricaster is a much better experience. That said the Mini is $249 and the Tricaster can run from $6000 - $8000. A happy medium might be a PC running OBS which has a decent keyer too."


For $299, I'd be inclined to try the ATEM Mini for myself. It's dirt cheap for what it does. Cheaper than ever the hardware necessary to interface to an external SDI device.

While I don't doubt what Mr Seidman* says, my expectation/experience is perhaps very different from his. Much about what can be achieved is determined by your approach. Many people are very simplistic in how they use a chroma keyer.

I doubt the Datavideo device does any better. They're not known for such things.

Perhaps in a month or two I might be able to purchase one myself. I'd like to do a comparison between it and the vMix internal keyer.

*I find that guy annoying. There's just something about his tone. I'm twice his age, spend literally decades working on real productions, which makes me want to see for myself.
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Nazarene Israel on 12/28/2019(UTC)
Nazarene Israel  
#14 Posted : Saturday, December 28, 2019 1:39:03 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: mjgraves Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Nazarene Israel Go to Quoted Post

Do you know who Lon Seidman is? He did one of the pop-up reviews on the Amazon page. I wrote him, and he had this to say:

"Having used the old ATEMs that had a pretty lousy keyer the mini is a definite improvement (as you can see from my review). But ultimately the Tricaster is a much better experience. That said the Mini is $249 and the Tricaster can run from $6000 - $8000. A happy medium might be a PC running OBS which has a decent keyer too."


For $299, I'd be inclined to try the ATEM Mini for myself. It's dirt cheap for what it does. Cheaper than ever the hardware necessary to interface to an external SDI device.

While I don't doubt what Mr Seidman says, my expectation/experience is perhaps very different from his. Much about what can be achieved is determined by your approach. Many people are very simplistic in how they use a chroma keyer.

I doubt the Datavideo device does any better. They're not known for such things.

Perhaps in a month or two I might be able to purchase one myself. I'd like to do a comparison between it and the vMix internal keyer.



Ok. So this is perhaps not a representative video?



Also the review on this page?

https://www.bhphotovideo...chromakeyer.html/reviews

Edit: Anyway, I like your suggestion, and just ordered one. By the time it ships and clears customs it is $399.84, but like you said, it is probably well worth it. And if I don't like it, I can probably resell it.
mjgraves  
#15 Posted : Saturday, December 28, 2019 2:02:00 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Nazarene Israel Go to Quoted Post


Ok. So this is perhaps not a representative video?



May be it is, but it's $1800 for the device, plus adapters to get in/out of your vmix system.

I think that the ATEM Mini could be as good, for $299. But it's a multi-function device that's brand new. Noone has yet made a video that shows in detail how the chroma keyer works. I'd want to get hands-on and see for myself.

For $299, I will likely buy one, play with it for a few months, the resell it if it doesn't fill a gap in my toolset. Even if I lose $100 in the process, I consider that a good investment.

To be clear, I worked with several generations of Ultimatte devices, which are the very best hardware keyers ever created. We keyed fluids, ice, glass, smoke...all in the process of making commercials.

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Nazarene Israel on 12/28/2019(UTC)
Nazarene Israel  
#16 Posted : Saturday, December 28, 2019 2:42:35 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: mjgraves Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Nazarene Israel Go to Quoted Post


Ok. So this is perhaps not a representative video?



May be it is, but it's $1800 for the device, plus adapters to get in/out of your vmix system.

I think that the ATEM Mini could be as good, for $299. But it's a multi-function device that's brand new. Noone has yet made a video that shows in detail how the chroma keyer works. I'd want to get hands-on and see for myself.

For $299, I will likely buy one, play with it for a few months, the resell it if it doesn't fill a gap in my toolset. Even if I lose $100 in the process, I consider that a good investment.

To be clear, I worked with several generations of Ultimatte devices, which are the very best hardware keyers ever created. We keyed fluids, ice, glass, smoke...all in the process of making commercials.



I will be very interested to hear your review.
mjgraves  
#17 Posted : Saturday, December 28, 2019 7:44:52 AM(UTC)
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All of this brings to mind a little story from early in my career. In about 1988 I was the post-production supervisor for the in-house ad agency owned by Canada's largest supermarket. We always chroma keyed the company President over extreme closeups of products. We used Ultimatte in everything.

Our post-prod was initially handled at a place (long defunct) called VTR Productions, one of the largest facilities in the country.

They won a bid to do the post prod on The Henson Hour, essentially the last gasp of The Muppet Show. It was a big, multi-camera shoot on a massive green screen stage. I was invited to watch one time.

All the cameras were Sony Betacam SP camcorders. After the shoot, every BetaSP reel was carefully processed through the one available Ultimatte device to make a matched matte reel on 1" tape.

In editing, every Beta SP deck had an accompanying Ampex VPR-3 1" deck for the matte reel. Each VPR-3 had a Zeus TBC that allowed the tape operators to exactly match the H/V position of the camera foreground reel.

The editing had to happen on the weekend because it used up so much of the facilities technical resources. They cascaded two large Ampex Century switchers to get enough key layers. Effectively using one large edit suite as the upstream feed into a second large edit suite.

The editor would sync roll up to a dozen VTRs (6x fill, 6x mattes) to create a complex scene, with a couple of different perspectives. It was tremendously impressive to see in action. Took some serious skill on the part of everyone involved. It gave me motivation to go into online editing myself.

This is the environment where I learned to do green screens.

Now, one person would do it all in Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve.
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Nazarene Israel on 12/29/2019(UTC)
Nazarene Israel  
#18 Posted : Sunday, December 29, 2019 3:13:15 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: mjgraves Go to Quoted Post
All of this brings to mind a little story from early in my career. In about 1991 I was the post-production supervisor for the in-house ad agency owned by Canada's largest supermarket. We always chroma keyed the company President over extreme closeups of products. We used Ultimatte in everything.

Our post-prod was initially handled at a place (long defunct) called VTR Productions, one of the largest facilities in the country.

They won a bid to do the post prod on The Henson Hour, essentially the last gasp of The Muppet Show. It was a big, multi-camera shoot on a massive green screen stage. I was invited to watch one time.

All the cameras were Sony Betacam SP camcorders. After the shoot, every BetaSP reel was carefully processed through the one available Ultimatte device to make a matched matte reel on 1" tape.

In editing, every Beta SP deck had an accompanying Ampex VPR-3 1" deck for the matte reel. Each VPR-3 had a Zeus TBC that allowed the tape operators to exactly match the H/V position of the camera foreground reel.

The editing had to happen on the weekend because it used up so much of the facilities technical resources. They cascaded two large Ampex Century switchers to get enough key layers. Effectively using one large edit suite as the upstream feed into a second large edit suite.

The editor would sync roll up to a dozen VTRs (6x fill, 6x mattes) to create a complex scene, with a couple of different perspectives. It was tremendously impressive to see in action. Took some serious skill on the part of everyone involved. It gave me motivation to go into online editing myself.

This is the environment where I learned to do green screens.

Now, one person would do it all in Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve.



MJGraves, what I get out of that you have a long history with this stuff (so you know what you are talking about), and that since processing power doubles every 18 months, what used to cost a fortune and required a crew might just be packed into that little ATEM Mini.

It is supposed to ship on January 6th, and arrive about two weeks later. If it works, it will help us a lot. My administrator is really good with that kind of stuff, so I am sure he can tweak it to get the most out of it.

Thanks very much for the encouraging tip!
Nazarene Israel  
#19 Posted : Tuesday, January 14, 2020 12:49:39 PM(UTC)
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MJGraves, I appreciate all of your advice very much. Just to follow up, the ATEM Mini came in last week, and my administrator took it home for the weekend, to play with it.

We set the ATEM Mini and the Datavideo DVK-300HD up side by side for a test today, and the Datavideo clearly won. (We did not take any screen shots, but the Datavideo key was clearly much better.)

That said, I am very happy to have the Mini. I think it may work if I have a tall-backed chair, and the push-button functionality is definitely great.

The Datavideo definitely has some glitchy setup software. We called tech support, and they didn't have an answer. Actually, they said to return it (we're not planning to, because once you have it set up, you can close the setup software, and just use the device).

One thing I did not understand was that the Sapphire (Acer Predator Helios 500) recognized the ATEM Mini via USB3, but the Ruby does not recognize it. I am not even sure how to begin solutioning that. Any ideas?
Nazarene Israel  
#20 Posted : Tuesday, January 14, 2020 1:22:44 PM(UTC)
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Also, another question would be, what is the best way to record the keyed video file with an Alpha channel?
Because we want to key out the green background here, and then send the keyed file (with Alpha channel) to our video editors, so they can manipulate the images in post. Is there a best wrapper / codec?
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