5 Best software to key out green screen [2020 Guide]

Teodor Nechita
by Teodor Nechita
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  • Green screen keying or Chroma keying is a common VFX feature used in all manner of videos, from Hollywood blockbusters to TV shows and music videos.
  • The process involves the isolation of an image based on the high-contrast that it has compared to the other elements within the frame. This later makes for easy introduction of special effects.
  • One of the best tools when it comes to video editing in Adobe After Effects, as it has proven itself to be an industry-standard throughout the years.
  • For more great articles on the matter, check out or dedicated Graphics and Design page.
green screen keying

We live in a time when movies that feature special effects are now becoming a common thing. In fact, technology evolved to the point where special effects are something that can now be done in your common household, as long as you have the right software.

For example, green screen keying is a method through which you can film something in front of a green backdrop, and then replace it with whatever background you desire.

As we said before, this is something that you can now do in your own home, and we will be looking over 5 different products that you should use when green screen keying a video.

We’ve created this list based on how easy the program is to use, how many tools does it offer, how widespread it is and plenty of other relevant criteria.

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What are the best green screen keying software?

In a world of special effects, thegreen screen is probably the most common and well-known. While the method is relatively simple compared to other types of special effects, you will need a professional tool if you want the video to end up looking stunning.

As such, it goes without saying that for the best results you should go for a program that has been dubbed the Photoshop of videos, Adobe After Effects.

Ever since it was first designed, this program was specially created for digital visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing. It is so used that eventually, it became a must-have in the post-production process of film making, video games, and television production.

Those of you that are familiar with the Adobe software family will get used to the UI fairly simple, and you’ll be glad to know that the files that it handles can also be opened and the process by the other Adobe tools, within certain limitations.

More so, getting this product opens up a whole world of new opportunities, since it is highly customizable thanks to the plugin support.

Here are some of Adobe After Effects’ main features:

  • Full compatibility with other Adobe products
  • Their website is full of great guides
  • Professional-level toolset
  • Can easily handle tasks such as green screen keying
  • Extensive plugin support

 Download Adobe After Effects

There is a reason why Adobe is such a leading company when it comes to digital media, and the fact that our second place is occupied by another one of their products is a great example.

Adobe Premiere Pro is a leading product in the video-editing business, and in a world of immersiveness and crystal-clear imagery, its 360 VR and 4K support make it almost a must-have.

Like all other Adobe products, Premiere Pro is constantly updated, and this latest version comes with a more polished user interface and adds more tools to its already huge arsenal.

As such, if you used to use it on a daily basis but abandoned it because of the non-linear UI, then now is a good time to go back to it.

As far as green screen keying is concerned, this process is something that Adobe Premiere Pro can easily handle, so don’t think twice about buying it or not.

Here are some of Adobe Premiere Pro’s main features:

  • Full compatibility with other Adobe products
  • Their website is full of great guides
  • 360 VR and 4K support
  • Green Screen keying is made easy since it has a dedicated section for it in the UI
  • Full Customer Support

⇒ Download Adobe Premiere Pro

Those of you that have been editing videos for a long time are probably familiar with Sony Vegas Pro. Well, the latest iterations of the program are now called Magix Vegas Pro, but they maintain the same quality standards as the predecessors.

Of course, the newer version didn’t just come with a new name, since now it comes with a toolset that set it right there with other giants of the industry, such as Adobe Premiere Pro and other premium video editing software.

Those of you that are looking for even more complex special effects and not just simple ones like green screen keying can go for this tool, since ot also offers support for things like It also comes with support for motion tracking, video stabilization, HDR and 360-degree videos.

You can also customize your experience using Magix Vegas Pro since it now supports Bézier masking OFX plug-in and Boris FX Continuum Lights Unit for applying masks to multimedia files.

Here are some of Magix Vegas Pro’s main features:

  • Professional-level product
  • Its toolset makes it perfectly equipped to handle big-budget movies and TV shows
  • Supports motion tracking, video stabilization, HDR and 360-degree videos
  • An expanded media library
  • High-quality end results with proper use of tools

⇒ Download Magix Vegas Pro

Taking its namesake from one of the greatest artists the world has ever seen, DaVinci Resolve 16 has always proven itself to be quite a capable video editing tool.

While not as well-known to the common user as the other two entries on our list, DaVinci Resolve is definitely a name that professionals will recognize immediately.

This powerful tool can handle professional 8K editing, color correction, visual effects, and audio post-production all in one software tool.

As far as PC resources are concerned, this tool is a bit more resource-intensive, but if your projects involve 4K or 8K filming, then you will need some really powerful hardware.

As far as the targeted demographic is concerned, DaVinci Resolve is more like the type of software that professionals will use, so if you have no prior experience using such tools, then you will have a hard time adapting to it.

Here are some of DaVinci Resolve 16’s main features:

  • Professional-level product
  • Its toolset makes it perfectly equipped to handle big-budget movies and TV shows
  • Great for professionals
  • Can support 8K filming
  • Quick project upload and publishing features

⇒ Download DaVinci Resolve 16

5

Lightworks

If you are looking for a video editing tool but are on a tight budget, the Lightworks is one product that you should seriously take into consideration.

This product comes in both a free and a paid version, and the great part is that the free version isn’t all that restrictive compared to the full one.

One limitation that is worth mentioning is that using the free version one can export videos in 720 HD (max) and only in MPEG4/H.264 format. But, content creators should know that he videos can be directly uploaded to the streaming platform including Vimeo.

Lightworks also offers Chroma keying to edit green screen videos on Windows computers. The keying process in Lightworks is a little more tedious than other video editors mentioned earlier, but it can be done.

Here are some of Lightworks’s main features:

  • Professional-level product
  • Its toolset makes it perfectly equipped to handle big-budget movies and TV shows
  • Great for professionals
  • Can support 8K filming
  • Quick project upload and publishing features

 Download Lightworks

Green screen keying is now a common-household feature that anyone can now pull off in order to create fantastic videos. However, the fine balance between imagination and a good software tool is always something that you need to work on.

That being said, having a good and reliable video editor will greatly increase your chance of creating great Hollywood-grade videos to increase your friends, family, and maybe even open up a whole world of opportunities for you.


FAQ: Learn more about green screen keying

  • How does green screen keying work?

In rough terms, green screen keying is when you isolate an image based on the high-contrast that it has compared to the other elements within the frame. This later makes for easy introduction of special effects.

  • What software do you need to use a green screen?

Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects provide advanced features for creating quality green screen work, and this made them industry-standard products. In fact, the same software that is used in green screens is also used in green screen keying.

  • Why is green used as the color for Chroma keying?

Green is used because it is far from skin color in the color spectrum, so the high contrast makes it easier for later color isolation and selection.