Price When Reviewed: 195 . 1295
Pros: Simple, fast and effective – as close to one-click keying as you’re likely to find at any price.
Cons: Needs Reflecmedia’s own Chromatte hardware for best results. Licensing is a little complex.
Anyone who’s recently used green-screen hardware professionally will be aware of Reflecmedia’s Chromatte products. Given the company’s track record, creating its own optimized keying plug-in was a natural development – though the actual coding was done by The Pixel Farm. Mattenee is a keying product that features the now standard pun on ‘matte’ in the name. Surely, DoorMatte is the only one left.
Unlike other plug-ins, which will gamely attempt to pull a key from in front of a badly lit green tablecloth, Mattenee is designed to work with Chromatte hardware – specifically with the highly reflective screen and on-camera ring lighting system that has started to make some waves in the industry recently. It can attempt a key with other hardware screens, but given that the Chromatte pigment shade is hardwired into the plug-in, for the best possible results you’ll need to work with a Chromatte screen.
This isn’t a bad thing. The Chromatte system makes high-quality keying for small projects much easier than it used to be, with fast and even control of lighting and great portability. At £1,295 plus VAT for an 8-x-8 foot screen with lighting, the price is low enough to make the system available for cost-conscious productions. Those less worried about budgets can still benefit from its superior ease of use – it’s a lot more portable than a greenscreen studio – and the ease with which it handles the traditionally tricky business of setting up key-friendly illumination.
Once you have your hardware in place, and your footage captured, keying is almost a one-click process. There are the usual compensation controls for in/out fill and masking, blur, and hue correction, but in use Reflecmedia’s claims that Mattenee will get to within 90 per cent of the right key with a single click turn out to be accurate.
Comparing it with Keylight and Ultimatte shows that the other products may be more flexible when it comes to source material, but they need more setting up, more patience, and sometimes more skill before they produce a clean key. Mattenee is more of a click-bang solution, with less of the unreal fringing and shimmer that marks a less than perfect key. The only real drawback is the registration process, which is a touch complex.
Otherwise, this is a simple and effective keyer, at a very good price.