How to Make Chroma Key Videos in Final Cut on Mac

What is a chroma for?

Before we get into telling you how you can use a chroma key in Final Cut Pro, we want you to know exactly what a chroma key is and, above all, why it is such a widely used resource or technique, mainly in the world of cinema, television and photography. Surely, when mentioning the word chroma, those enormous green screens or curtains that usually come out behind a person.

Well, that’s just part of the chroma, since this It is a technique which is used for power modify the background of the image being recorded or photographed. The process consists of being able to eliminate a certain color from the image, be it video or photography, for a completely different one. The most common is to use it to be able to place a completely different background to “place” the protagonist in the desired place. Of course, although it seems easy to implement and carry out, now you will see that it is not so easy.

Necessary requirements

As we have mentioned before, the chroma key technique seems very easy to apply and use. However, all that glitters is not gold and you always have to take into account certain points that will determine if the final result is really usable or not, that is, if the technique is applied correctly.

The first requirement you have to take into account is the background color that you are going to use, and based on this, try not to be present in the rest of the image that you are going to want to keep later. The most common is to use a green or blue screen or background, since they are very striking and easily identifiable colors.


The second requirement is the lighting, and it is that both in video and in photography, this is truly vital. Having good lighting is key for the image to have the quality that is being sought, but in this case we can say that it is even more important, since you can’t afford shadows that can make it difficult to edit the chroma later. Also, the lighting you use has to make the whole background is a completely uniform color. You also have to take into account and pay close attention that the color of the background does not bounce off the main person or subject.

Lastly, and although it seems basic, you have to keep in mind that this single-color background, whether green or blue, has to occupy the entire background image, so that later in Final Cut Pro, it can be completely removed and replaced with the image you want to occupy the space currently occupied by this green screen.

Steps to use it in Final Cut

You already know what a chroma is and the requirements that you have to take into account when using it. Well, once you’ve correctly recorded the clips to which you want to apply this effect or technique, it’s time to get down to work and, thanks to Final Cut Pro, replace that monochrome background with what you really want appear in the background of your video.

As you well know, Final Cut Pro is a professional video editing program, and therefore it has all the tools that video editors need to be able to carry out their profession. In addition, one of the characteristics of both Final Cut and the Cupertino company itself is to make users carry out tasks as simply as possible and, as you can see below, the steps you have to follow to apply this technique they are very simple.

  1. import your clip with the green background to a Final Cut Pro project.
  2. Drag the clip to the timeline.
  3. Open the effects panel located at the bottom right of the screen.
  4. Select the section of Incrustation.keyer
  5. Click on the element «keyer” Y drag it on top of the clip that you entered on the timeline earlier.

Drag the embedderwith keyer

With these simple steps you will have completely eliminated the green or blue background, as you have chosen and used, and you will be able to have a completely transparent background to be able to place another image on a lower layer so that this one occupies the background of your video. However, this does not end here, since if you want to achieve a completely professional result you will surely have to modify some parameters that Final Cut Pro allows you, and which are the following.

  • The intensity. This parameter will allow you to modify the degree to which the background will be removed from the image. If you want to delete it completely, always keep it at 100.
  • fill in gaps. It allows you to further fine-tune background removal in those parts of the image where multiple colors conflict and Final Cut Pro has a hard time accessing fully automatically. It usually happens at the edges, where you have to be aware of how well or poorly that transition has been handled.
  • edge distance. Allows you to increase or decrease the distance between edges.
  • Dispersion level. It allows you to reduce even more those green tones that may have been reflected in the subject that we want to isolate from the background.

Modifiable parameters

Finally, most of the time the professionals who use this technique seek to be able to replace the monocolor background with another in which they want to locate the person or subject that they have completely isolated from the background. Well, once you’ve managed to remove that green or blue color from your clip, all you have to do is place a layer below the background you want the final image to have. The steps are the following.

  1. matter in your project the bottom what do you want to use
  2. Drag to the timeline said image.
  3. place on top from this the clip from which you previously removed the background.

image with new background

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