Virtual News Studio

As an aspiring broadcast journalist, I am in the process of putting together a semi-virtual news studio.  It is not all green screen based, but will have different screens of different shapes and sizes.  Some of which, I would like to be in the same shot.  And that is where my question is.  Is it possible to have different screens with different backgrounds all in the same shot?  I would also like to track them, too, but I know how to do that.  I don't know if that would screw anything up, though.  I have a feeling I read somewhere that masking gets this done, but I'm not sure. 



  • I would say import the clips you want to be in your video, use the quad warp effect to warp them to fit the screens and change the blending mode to fit the screen!

  • @Film_Empire could you go into more detail as to how to do that?  Are there tutorials online?  When I make the graphics for backgrounds in HitFilm, would I have to make the composistion a different size so it would look good or would the quad warp take care of that?

  • @JacobBrooks

    You want your video (or composite shot) that you add to the screen be the same aspect ratio as ot. If the screen has a 16:9 ratio and your clips doesn't have that, it will look distorted when you warp it.


    1. Make composite shot with the actual footage
    2. Add the clips (or comps) you want to add
    3. Add the quad warp effect to the clips and warp them to fit the screen

    Regards, Jamie - Film Empire

  • @JacobBrooks ; Not to kibbutz (too much) here, but you might get some guidance from this tutorial:

  • @Film_Empire ; Would I apply the keying effect first?

  • edited April 2018

    @Film_Empire ; @tddavis 

    Okay.  I'm gonna need everyone's help with this.  I put some of the studio together, shot some test shots and keyed them.  There is white/brown around my screens.  When I put the Color Difference Key and especially the Spill Removal in, it screws around with the colors.  How do I fix this?

  • Without seeing what you have, it's hard to say, but you might play with the expansion settings just a tad on any masks around the screen area to see if that gives any changes.  That's just a guess though.

  • edited April 2018

    @tddavis  How do you do that?  I don't have any masks set up.  Was I supposed to?

  • The Spill Removal is known to futz with other colours that are close (or not even very...) to your key colour, so what you might need to do is create a duplicate of the layer, without the Spill Removal on it, above your keyed Layer. Just duplicate it all and turn off Spill Removal on the top one. Apply the Matte Cleaner effect to the top layer and have it eat into the edge a little with the Choke, and feather that with the Smooth.

    You'll have to go carefully because although the range on the sliders is 1-100, the useful range is something like 0.01 to 0.5.

    Then your "spill removed" edge layer from the layer below will show around the sides. Everything will be a lot slower with duplicated layers, but...I haven't found a better solution.

  • edited April 2018

    @JaconBrooks ; No, not supposed to, I was guessing at what you might have used by way of something to work with.  That's the great thing about Hitfilm; there are numerous ways to create an effect and all are valid...if they look good to the creator.

  • @tddavis  How should I set them up?  What are expansion settings?  I have never worked with masks before.

  • @JacobBrooks ; it's an automatic setting when you create a mask.  I can't say for certain how you need to set it up without at least screenshot of your project yo see what you are going for.  Palacono detailed probably the best way to approach it though.

  • edited April 2018

    @tddavis ;

    I know how to create a mask.  But what do I do once I create it?   Doesn't it hid some of the layer?  

     Also, here is a quick video demo if that helps.


    I think I also ran into problems because of the lighting.  I shot the video when it was dark out so there was only the light from the ceiling and a harsh studio light.  Everything reflected kind of weird.  I need more daylight.

  • @JacobBrooks ; I made a little screen cap showing what I was meaning about expansion settings and a mask, but I did not track the footage to apply the data to the mask or do the keyframing of the mask path by hand (very tedious).  Hopefully this will let you see what I meant though.  My tracking game is absolutely abysmal, but others have so much better luck at it. media.PNG?dl=0

  • @tddavis ;

    Did you upload the right picture?  It says something about Missing Media.  What do I do once I create the mask?   Doesn't it hid some of the layer?   What effects do I apply?  I'm still lost.

  • @JacobBrooks ; Color me embarrassed.  I copied the link to the file just below the one I intended to post for you. And didn't pay enough attention when I pasted.  Sorry to confuse you with my faux pas.  Maybe this will help... example.mp4?dl=0  

  • edited May 2018

    @tddavis @Film_Empire

    Would I be able to track a mask when I put one on the green screen like the video above?  When I move the camera around, would I be able to change the angle of the mask, too?

  • @JacobBrooks ;  Jamie at Film Empire will know far more than I about this, but I think you might be able to apply a bit of Quad Warp to the points and give it a receding into the distance perspective, but wait for Jamie to pop in and confirm that before wasting time trying something that won't work after all.

  • @JacobBrooks and @tddavis

    What I would do is track the four corners of the green screen (ever so slightly outside of the border). Then apply the tracking data to four points. Add the chroma key to key out the green, and add the video under that layer. Now use the quad warp effect and the tracked points to track the video to the green screen.

    3D tracking in mocha would make this easier.

    This effect basically is a screen replacement, so finsing tutorials for that would help as well.

    Cheers, Jamie - Film Empire

  • @Film_Empire

    Do you mean adding physical points on the screens themselves on the 4 corners and then tracking it in HitFilm?

  • @JacobBrooks

    You can track the four corners of the green screen, and add the tracking data to four point layers.

  • @Film_Empire

    I guess I worded my question wrong.  Would I have to physically put trackers on the screen itself in order for the tracking to work?  I think that's the case because the computer needs something of a different color to track.  I just want to make sure.

  • @JacobBrooks HitFilm doesn't necessarily need a different color to track.  It just needs an area of detail with enough contrast that it can follow its movement between frames.  Search YouTube for "HitFilm tracking" and you'll find lots of tutorials that describe this.  This one on the HitFilm channel is a good reference for tracking footage that will later have quad-warped content replacing existing material:

    In your case, because the brightness of your green doesn't contrast enough against the surrounding white background, using the corners of the green panels as tracking points probably won't work very well. The darker tape markers that you put on each green panel provide better contrast, but with only two of them you're not going to be able to get enough info.   You need four points per panel.  In that case, I recommend that you put some darker marks directly on the corners of each panel you wish to track.  Tape will do the job, but so will a black marker.

  • @Film_Empire

    What if I have multiple green screens in one shot and I just want to key out one?  How would I do that?  I have a feeling masks are involved, but I can't figure out how to apply the green screen to just the mask.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @JacobBrooks you'll need two layers. 

    ONE: addd a Grade layer on top and mask the grade layer and then the keyer to the grade. This requires you to bring this comp into another comp as an embed over your BG layer.

    TWO: two copies of the greenscreen footage. Bottom copy is keyed, top copy is masked to draw back in the parts you want to keep. If an actor overlays something you want to keep, you'll have to roto. 

    Hope this helps! :D

  • @Triem23

    What do you mean by roto?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited June 2018

    Rotoscoping. Manually creating a matte or mask, frame by frame to define transparency.

  • edited June 2018


    Okay, thanks for the explanation.  So in my video, when there is an anchor in front of the screen, could I just do a regular square mask the encompasses their body, or does it have to be custom?


    UPDATE: I tried what you suggested to key one screen at a time and I'm very confused.  Could you go into more detail?

  • @JacobBrooks It might help us if we had some more detail from your end as well. Could you post a photo of your setup, with a description of exactly what you're trying to accomplish with it?

  • edited June 2018


    Here is the picture.  Basically I am trying for this to be a traditional news studio and the green screen is in replacement of what would be regular monitors.  I would like to be able to put different backgrounds on different screens at the same time and have an anchor move around the studio.  Yes, it is made out of paper, but still looks good on camera.  This is for hobby.


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