Patching Black

TRT: 00:12:06
Color, no sound, 1080p24

The Image-Based Keyer (IBK) is a plug-in for The Foundry's Nuke, a high-end compositing software. The IBK's processing of chroma key footage is rather unconventional, and essentially the inverse of how the vast majority of keying applications work: rather than selecting the actual keying color to be removed, the method involves extracting and replacing the matte with matching chroma. In other words, the goal of the IBK is to achieve a purely green and foreground-vacant matte as an input. As such, the process of removal involves observing a fine-tuned disappearance of one's talent and foreground set in one viewer, and its arrival into a second viewer with the correct background. Once the sufficient amount of color information has passed from one plate to the next, the final step is called "patching black," or the suppression of transparent areas within the innermost part of the core matte.

Compositing software is capable of easier removal with each release update. By exposing the IBK's process, the ethical concerns around and possible abuses of removal in high resolution footage become more apparent.