Zmatte is dead, long live DVmatte Pro!

For those with long memories of the UK FCP User Group, you may recall my rants about chromakey and DV. How in theory it should not be done, but in reality it can be done with external plug-ins.

Two offerings lead the field in terms of quality and affordability.

I chose Zmatte over DVmatte Pro a long time ago because, while DVmatte Pro was actually better in the long run, it was too slow and fiddly for the extra 20% of quality you got, and I quickly found out that clients didn’t notice.

So I championed Zmatte. Four clicks and you’d be pretty much there.

Then in September 2007, as a member of the Pixel Corps, I tried version 3 of DVmatte Pro.

The interface has been slimmed and yet it’s more powerful.

The speed is astonishing – due to the fact that rather than burdening your Mac’s main processor with arty stuff, it uses your Graphics Processor to do the work, which is exactly what it was designed for. ‘Hardware Accelerated’ is always an exciting term for graphics geeks.

It does the usual magic of using the ‘shredded’ colour information in DV and HDV and supplementing that with extra detail information gleaned from the brightness (luminance) part of the image.

It now does all the graceful things we like in good chromakeys such as edge wrapping. Still not as gracefully as Zmatte, but the quality is superb and the speed…

… DVmatte Pro is bloody quick. You can actually watch a live preview. You can actually watch a live preview of HDV material being keyed on a MacBook Pro. An 8 minute edit of talking heads against green renders ‘better than hardware’ in about 40 minutes on such a machine – from 1080p EX1 footage. That’s fast.
You will need to watch the on-line tutorials as there are some things to understand, but if you’re needing to do chromakey with FCP from DV, HDV or XDCAM-HD, you really should check out DVmatte Pro.