Wednesday, May 8, 2013

PE11: Difference Matte As Substitute for Green or Blue Screen Key


Premiere Elements 11 Windows and Mac are much alike in their video editing offerings but there are some features that are Windows Only. Among the items missing in the Mac version as compared to the Windows version are Video Effects/Keying tools of Blue Screen Key, Green Screen Key, and Chroma Key. Not so long ago, someone asked me a question about this situation, writing:
The Mac APE11 does not have "Green Screen Key", but does have Difference Matte, which the Amazon description for APE11 shows as a green screen tool. I have never needed to green screen before, but perhaps Mac folk that want this feature will still be able to do it.

As a result of that comment, I decided to explore the question "Can the Difference Matte be used as a substitute for Green or Blue Screen Key in Premiere Elements 11".

I have seen Amazon description for Videomerge in its listing for Premiere Elements 11 Mac, but I have not seen Amazon mention the keying effect "Difference Matte" as a Green Screen Key tool substitute. Assuming that there were no fundamental differences between the Difference Matte in the Mac and Windows version, I decided to look at the question using Premiere Elements 11 Windows which I have. If the assumption is correct, then my findings would be of benefit to users of the program on either operating system.


The answer to the question appears to be Yes, as confirmed by the Mac user asking the question and working through the How To that I offered at the time.The bottom lines to the story are:

(a) The Premiere Elements 11 fx Effects/Keying/Difference Matte is a marked change in dialog and setup as compared to Premiere Elements 10's Video Effects/Keying/Difference Matte.

(b) In Premiere Elements 11 Windows, it was possible to use Difference Matte as a substitute for Blue or Green Screen Key under the conditions to be described. By comparison, it was only possible to do the same only for Blue Screen Key model when using the Difference Matte in a Premiere Elements 10 project.


Premiere Elements 11 Windows 7 64 bit 
Replacing Background of Green or Blue Screen Photo Using Difference Matte
Default Project Preset Used...NTSC AVCHD Full 1080i30
1. Expert View

(a) Add Media/Files and Folders

 just green screen.jpeg (1920 x 1080)

 angel on green screen.jpeg (1920 x 1080)

 replacement background.jpeg (1920 x 1080)

(b) From the Project Assets

Drag replacement background.jpeg to Video 1
Drag angel on green screen.jpeg to Video 2 and place it directly above the content of Video 1
Drag just green screen.jpeg to Video 3 and place it directly above the content of Video 2

(c) Individually select and apply a Difference Matte to each of Video 2 (angel on green screen.jpeg) and Video 3 (just green screen.jpeg)

(d) Highlight the Video 2 (angel on green screen.jpeg), click Applied Effects, and open the Difference Matte Panel there. The Difference Matte Panel options are:

  • View: Final Out
  •  Difference Layer Video 2 IMPORTANT CHANGE THAT TO VIDEO 3
  •  The Matching Tolerance may or may not require very little adjustment (in this specific exercise being described setting was changed from 15.0 to 27.3%), and Match Softness and Blur Before Difference were left at 0.0%.
No changes in the Difference Matte dialog settings that were associated with the just green screen.jpeg on Video 3 were needed. The required "Difference Layer Video 3" was already in place in the dialog. If Video 2, 3, and 4 had been used in this exercise instead of Video 1, 2, and 3, then Difference Matte dialog for Video 4 and Video 3 Difference Layer needed to read the same, in that case "Difference Layer Video 4".

(e) Seen below is the result of this exercise (angel with new background.jpeg) which is the export of the Timeline, using Premiere Elements 11/Publish+Share/Computer/Image/JPEG - HD 1920 x 1080.

angel with new background.jpeg

Using the Difference Matte in Premiere Elements 10 Windows was successful as a replacement for the Blue, but not the Green, Screen Key for this exercise and all such exercises with other source media. Because the significant differences in the "how to use" details of the Difference Matte of Premiere Elements 10 versus 11, the Premiere Elements 10 How To for this is presented below.


Premiere Elements 10 Windows 7 64 bit
Replacing Background for Blue Screen Photo Using Difference Matte
Project Preset set at...NTSC AVCHD Full HD1080i30

1. Timeline View

(a) Get Media/Files and Folders
                                   angel with blue screen.jpeg (1920 x 1080)
                                   replacement background.jpeg (1920 x 1080)

(b) From Project Media

Drag replacement background.jpeg to Video 1
Drag angel with blue screen.jpeg to Video 2

(c) Apply Difference Matte via Edit Header/Video Effects/Keying/Difference Matte to the selected angel with blue screen.jpeg on Video 2. Via Edit Effects, go to the Difference Matte Panel in the angel with blue screen.jpeg Property Palette and click on its Setup button to bring up the "Select a Difference Matte Image" dialog from which to browse to and select the just blue screen.jpeg from a hard drive save location. The just blue screen.jpeg image goes directly into the Video 2 image, no Video 3 involved in version 10.

(d) At this point, the Edit Mode Monitor display probably is white here with the Difference Matte dialog settings for any adjustments being:
Similarity at 49.5%
Smoothing at Low
Reverse, with check mark next to it
Drop Shadow, with check mark next to it
Mask Only, with check mark next to it

Removal of the check mark next to Mask only and increasing the Similarity % results in the angel on the replacement background.

January 14, 2015 Update. Quick look....Difference Matte is working for Premiere Elements 13 on Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 64 bit the same as described for Premiere Elements 11 in this 2013 blog post.