crappy keys – good, bad, or art?

So, I came across this post on putitup through the wham city tag thread. A brief segment:

…talked about what motivates these reasons for using low-grad equipment and fidelity and the possibilities of it being more emotive and effective than strenuous attempts of “professionalism.”

My comment:

When it comes to pulling a key I think you have two choices: make it perfect and seamless or make it bad with obvious jaggies along the edges.

On the one hand a seamless key will imply a higher level of competency with the visual craft and focus the eye on the overall composite and production value. To some extent the goal is making a believable scene which the untrained eye would not assume compositing was involved.

In the case of this video, I believe the rough key evokes a response of “what the hell is this?” in the audience, even the lay person, because they know something isn’t quite right.

I’ve watched this MGMT video dozens of times. The first time I watched it I hated it and stopped watching it after 12 seconds. But the music made me come back and reconsider what I was looking at. The rough keys make the experience more enjoyable for me with an appreciation for the simplicity and truth of the composite. I feel as if the director is saying “Hey, look at this crappy key. Isn’t it awesome? Now watch while I work with it as art and truthiness rather than focus on the lack of production value. Doesn’t it make you kind of warm and fuzzy inside once you get over yourself? Like a child with scissors, a glue stick and a stack of magazines.”

It’s the democratization of the chroma key and the director telling young people out there you don’t need to shoot HDCAM in a studio and digitize as 10bit uncompressed HD with 4:4:4 color space to make art well crafted and realized composites. Grab that 4 year old mini DV camera and a green cloth, shoot in your walk-in closet and use your frickin’ imagination already.

The suspension of disbelief is much more enjoyable when everyone’s in on it and goes with it together as opposed to a “how did they do that?” experience. At least in this case. IMHO

Love it or hate it, pulling a crappy key can be a good thing. Welcome to the new fake.

proactively • setting up a chroma key in my broom closet • peter

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August 2008

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