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Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

How to do a split-screen effect with a matte: a case study

We are now doing a case study on how to do a split-screen effect with a matte. This effect was first experimented in Episode 3: Crazy Names and I have been using the effect for every episode ever since. The video footages I’m using for this tutorial was from Episode 7: Big Dipper but it just might as well be any other episode. The finished product looks like this:
matte_practice_composite.jpg

Again, the editing software I use is Adobe Premiere Pro. If you use other software, the procedure should be pretty similar still. Also, I’m not going to talk about what mattes are and why they work this way over again since I already talked about them in the previous post, How to do a split-screen effect with a matte: the theory. If you haven’t read it, go read it now because it has cute stick figures and a couch. Boy, couches are hard to draw than I originally imagined. 😛

First we need to film the left side of the screen. We’ll call this Clip 1.
matte_practice_left.jpg
You can see my head in the lower righthand corner, but that’s alright. We are not using that half anyway.

Second, we need to film the right side of the screen. We’ll call this Clip 2.
matte_practice_right.jpg

And the last item we need is a matte that’s black on the left, white on the right, and a gray gradient in the middle. The red frame is not part of the matte. It’s just there in case you are reading this in an email or RSS reader that has a white background.
matte_practice_matte.jpg

And now it’s time to edit.

1) Drag Clip 1 into video 1 (bottom layer) and Clip 2 into video 2 (layer above video 1): If you’ve read the previous post, you know why it’s in this order. 😉

2) Create a matte track: Create a new video track and rename it to “matte”. Well, you don’t have to rename it but it helps prevent confusions. Drag the matte into this track. Make the track invisible by clicking the eye to the left of the name of the video track. This is because while you want to use this matte, you don’t want the viewer to see all these black and white colors occupying the screen. They are there for a purpose, but not for viewing. So turn it invisible.

Now your timeline should look similar to this:
matte_practice_tracks.jpg

3) Apply the matte: To do this, go to Effects window. Under Video Effects => Keying, you will find Track Matte Key. Drag it into Clip 2’s Effect Control Window. And then under “Matte”, choose the video track that the matte is sitting on (in this case, “matte”). And then for the composite option, choose “matte luma” (the default is probably “matte alpha”). We are deciding the transparency of the pixels based on how bright a pixel in the matte is. That’s why we use the matte luma option.
matte_practice_options.jpg

And when you have done all these steps, the black on the left of the matte will turn the left half of Clip 2 transparent, allowing the left half of Clip 1 to show through (Mac and Cheese). The white on the right side of the matte will turn the right of Clip 1 opaque, thus showing the right half of Clip 2 (Bottle Monster) while blocking the right half of Clip 1 (background and my head). So you see the final result:
matte_practice_composite.jpg

Now you can go nuts with the awesome split-screen effect! 😀

PS. In case you are wondering, the “reverse” option reverses the matte. That is, black is now opaque and white is now transparent. If you have the two clips in this current order, clicking on “reverse” will make the final result just the green background, since we are now showing the halves without the puppets. However, if you had put Clip 2 in video 1 and Clip 1 in video 2, this option will come in handy.

Related posts:

How to do a split-screen effect with a matte: the theory
Editing Trick: How to have two puppets on screen at the same time with only one puppeteer
How to do a green screen effect: the theory

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