What Is Keying in Video Editing?

Keying is a technique in video editing that involves removing a specific color or range of colors from a video clip. This process is also known as chroma keying, greenscreen, or bluescreen. The purpose of keying in video editing is to replace the removed color with another image or video clip.

How does keying work?

Keying works by separating the subject from the background using color difference. In most cases, green or blue screens are used as they are furthest from skin tones and clothing colors. The subject is filmed against the green or blue screen, and during post-production, the editor removes that specific color using specialized software.

Types of Keying

There are several types of keying techniques used in video editing:

1. Chroma Keying

Chroma Keying is a technique that involves removing the green or blue background and replacing it with another image or video clip.

2. Luma Keying

Luma Keying involves replacing a specific brightness level in an image with transparency. It works best when you have a high-contrast image.

3. Difference Keying

Difference Keying involves comparing two images and creating transparency where they differ.

4. Matte Keying

Matte Keying involves creating a mask around the subject to separate it from the background manually.

The Process of Chroma Keying

Here’s how chroma key works:

Step 1:

Record your footage against a uniform green or blue screen.

Step 2:

Import your footage into your chosen video editing software.

Step 3:

Apply the chroma key effect to your footage.

Step 4:

Select the key color (green or blue), and adjust the settings until the background is completely removed.

Step 5:

Add your desired background image or video clip behind the keyed footage.

  • Make sure that your footage is well lit and evenly exposed, with no shadows on the green/blue screen.
  • Using a high-quality camera will improve the overall quality of your footage and make keying easier.
  • It’s important to have a clear understanding of color theory to ensure that you choose the best keying color for your project.


Keying is an essential technique in video editing that can help you create professional-looking videos. Whether you’re shooting a music video, movie, or corporate video, keying can help you take your project to the next level. With practice, you’ll be able to master this technique and create stunning visual effects that will leave your audience impressed.