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Pleasantville Effect for Avid

Creating the 'Pleasantville' effect in Avid Xpress or Media Composer is a fairly simple task. In fact, a similar technique can be used in almost any other non-linear editing system. This video tutorial below shows how to create the Pleasantville effect using the SpectraMatte keyer. Unfortunately, SpectraMatte is only available on recent versions of Avid Media Composer.

If you have an older version of Media Composer or Avid Xpress Pr, you can follow these steps using the standard Chroma Keyer.

For learning purposes, find a short clip that has a dominate object that contains mostly one shade of color. In this example, the orange flower. 


Start by editing the same exact clip to V1 and V2 on the timeline as shown below. Make sure the starting and ending points and each clip match up exactly.


The next step is to navigate to the Avid Xpress DV Pro effects palette and place a color effect.
onto V1.


After you apply the color effect to V1, click on the effects editor button. The effect editor button is located in the upper left corner of the timeline window. It looks like a pair of seatbelts. *Make sure that the purple monitoring icon is placed on V1, so you can see that changes that you make to V1 while in the effect editor window.


Now, once you are in the effects editor mode. Drag the (sat) slider to -100. This should make the clip that is on V1 turn to black and white. The composer window should now display the clip as a black and white video image

. make_black_white.gif

Go back to the effects tab within the project window and apply the croma key effect to V2

. avid_croma_key_filter.gif

Enter into effects mode on V2. *Make sure the purple monitoring icon is placed on V2 so you can see the changes that you make in the effects editor window. Before moving forward, your timeline should like like the example below.


Now, here is the tricky part. Within the effects editor, you need to specify the color that you want to key out. In this case, the orange color. You can click in the key color box and drag your cursor to the composer window to pick the color you want by using the eyedropper. This will give you a good start to matching the color.


Make sure you click on (invert key) to see the black and white image underneath V2. *The controls are extremely finicky. It will take some experimenting to find the correct value. Normally, it is a fine mix between the Hue, Gain and Softness controls. Once you get the correct mix, the effect can be spectacular.
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Putting Audio Into Slideshows was the previous entry in this blog.

Audio problems with Final Cut Pro is the next entry in this blog.

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