How to Use Chroma Key, Masks and Overlays

chroma key

How to Use Chroma Key, Masks and Overlays

In this tutorial, you’ll learn all about how to add and customize overlays and masks, and how to use Chroma Key with green screen footage.

What is Chroma Key?

Chroma Key, also called chroma keying or color keying, is an editing technique for combining two video clips or images: an overlay and a background. The technique involves removing a specific color (usually green or blue) from the around the subject in the overlay to allow the background video or image to show through. A common example of the use of chroma key is a weather forecaster (overlay) in front of a weather map (background).

We’ll show you how to easily add multiple overlays to create exciting video montages with VideoStudio. Customize each overlay and add transparency, colored borders, and fun mask frames.  You can even use the Chroma Key tool to work with green screen footage and create custom backdrops and special effects for your video projects.

Download a PDF copy of the written tutorial and free sample mask to follow along.

How to Use Chroma Key, Masks and Overlays in VideoStudio

With VideoStudio, you can easily add multiple overlay tracks to create dynamic video montages and add great effects to your videos.  You can also use Chroma Key with green screen footage to create special effects.

Part One: Adding and Customizing Multiple Overlays

Add the main video you want to work with onto the Timeline.

How to add your first overlay track:

  • From the Library panel, drag the video or picture you would like to use onto Overlay Track 1.

The video will be added on top of your main video:

  • In the preview pane, reposition the video to your desired placement.
  • Resize the video by dragging the orange boxes.

How to add a second or multiple overlay tracks:

  • Right click on the Timeline and select Track Manager.

  • Select the number of overlay tracks you would like to add.

  • Click OK.
  • Drag the image or video from the Library to Overlay Track 2.

How to add transparency or borders to overlays:

  • Double-click on the overlay you want to edit on the timeline to bring up the Options
  • Click on Mask and Chroma Key.

  • To adjust the transparency, press the arrows up or down to your desired transparency level.

  • Add a border and select a border color.
  • Adjust the arrows up or down to change thickness of the overlay border.

How to add mask frames:

  • Double-click on the overlay you want to edit on the Timeline to bring up the Options
  • Click on Mask and Chroma Key.
  • Check the Apply Overlay Options box and select Mask Frame.

  • Scroll down and choose the frame you want to use. To use the free sample mask provided with this tutorial, click the plus sign to the right of the mask library, browse to the location on your computer where you saved the mask file (named masksample.bmp) and click Open.

Part Two: Chroma Key and Working with Green Screen Footage

What is Chroma Key?

Chroma Key, also called chroma keying or color keying, is an editing technique for combining two video clips or images: an overlay and a background. The technique involves removing a specific color (usually green or blue) from the around the subject in the overlay to allow the background video or image to show through. A common example of the use of chroma key is a weather forecaster (overlay) in front of a weather map (background).

How to work with green screen footage:

  • Drag the background you want to use onto the Video track on the Timeline.
  • Drag the green screen footage onto the Overlay Track 1.
  • To adjust the size of the overlay, right click on the overlay on the preview pane and select Original Size or other size option.

  • Double click on the Overlay Track on the Timeline and click on Mask and Chroma Key.
  • Check Apply Overlay Options and make sure Chroma Key is selected.

  • Use the color dropper icon to select the color of the overlay mask in the preview pane.

As you can see by previewing the result, all of the green background has been hidden from the overlay and it appears as though the hikers really are in the mountains!

Thanks for watching! We hope you found this tutorial helpful and we would love to hear your feedback in the Comments section below. And don’t forget to visit our social media pages and show us what you’ve learned by sharing your photos, videos and creative projects with us.

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Comments (4)

  • Beverly Reply

    Thank you for this. I just did my first green screen video and I am mostly happy however the overlay track is too transparent and the transparency is set at 0 and won’t go lower. What should I do? You can see the background through the people in the foreground.

    April 9, 2018 at 7:46 pm
    • Adam Reply

      Hello Bevery,

      Which version of VideoStudio were you using? We can certainly look into this issue with you.

      Discovery Center Team

      April 15, 2018 at 12:04 am
  • Jerzy de Larzac Reply

    Thanks for this fantastic and easy tutorial. As I am new to VS can you tell me/us how to prepare green/blue screen footage to be inserted into overlay track?
    Can I insert more than one overlay Track?

    April 6, 2018 at 11:58 am
    • Adam Reply

      Hello Jerzy,

      We have a tutorial on how to Import or Capture Videos which you might find helpful!

      As for the second question, you can add multiple overlay tracks.

      Discovery Center Team

      April 8, 2018 at 10:41 pm

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