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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worked surprising well, software can be used for pictures not video however
Initially, I thought that the software would allow you to process video against a green screen, but it turns out that the included software edits photos only. That being said, I put up the green screen (without ironing first) for a quick test, snapped a couple of pictures and was really impressed at how the software removed out the green. It was a pretty clean...
Published on January 13, 2010 by R2

versus
85 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use, but not as useful as it should be
The full name of this product is the FXhome PhotoKey 2 Lite. That should have given me a clue.

Right off the bat, FXhome PhotoKey2 Lite and I got off on the wrong foot. I've never before encountered a licensed version of a $70.00 program (not a free or trial version) that is so insistent in trying to force me to upgrade to a more expensive version. It begins...
Published on December 27, 2009 by tachi1


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85 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use, but not as useful as it should be, December 27, 2009
By 
This review is from: Westcott Green Screen Digital Photography Kit (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The full name of this product is the FXhome PhotoKey 2 Lite. That should have given me a clue.

Right off the bat, FXhome PhotoKey2 Lite and I got off on the wrong foot. I've never before encountered a licensed version of a $70.00 program (not a free or trial version) that is so insistent in trying to force me to upgrade to a more expensive version. It begins from within the installation wizard; continues on the introductory video; "upgrade now" is actually one of the tools in the toolbox; and every grayed-out control has a pop up window indicating that you should upgrade now if you want that feature. When you consider just how many options are grayed out (half the filters, for example) that is a lot of irritating prompts.

First, the positive: the program does an outstanding job removing the chroma green. Even the green that shows up between hair and inside any nick and cranny of your subject is removed. Not only that, but there is no green spill or fringe left on the subject which, on other extraction filters I have used require going in and editing a slight green edge or a slight green color cast or reflection. I have used Photoshop and third-party extraction plug ins that don't work as well or as fast. It is a dead-on extraction and it happens instantly. When your image comes into the software interface, every trace of green is already gone. Absolutely amazing.

There is a problem, though, if you want to fully benefit from this wonderful extraction:

**Every wrinkle, crease, and fold in the green cloth has to be ironed out.

**The light has to be perfectly balanced so that your subject doesn't cast a shadow (as would happen if you used a camera flash). In some cases, a cast shadow is actually a plus when you later put it on a background, but usually it's not.

**If you have draped the cloth in such a way as to place your subject on the cloth with cloth behind it (such as placing your child or product on the cloth on the floor and continuing the cloth up the wall), the draping has to be smooth with no fold or bend mark, so squirming is forbidden.

**No part of the background outside of the 5' x7' green cloth can show in the image & if it does, it shows and it stays--it has to be green top/bottom & side/side. (5' x 7' is fine for small products and small children who stand still.)

**If any of these requirements is not met, the extraction won't work well.

Your shadows, folds, etc. will be left behind after the green is removed as gray areas--and the "lite" version offers no options for removing these spots post-capture (other than re-photographing!). Maybe the not-available Masks feature in the more expensive versions does but I'd have to spend another $75 to find out. I see no sign of a clone tool or an eraser tool to address these problems either among the available tools or among the grayed out tools--and all of these imperfections will appear as gray semi-transparent stains on top of the background when you insert it behind the image.

I am not as bothered as other reviewers by the selection of included backgrounds. There are very few I'd use for my purposes and the strange collection leaves me wondering who their target market might be. There is a limit to how many times you can place people in front of the pyramids or the leaning tower of Pisa, or a fairy forest or wild west saloon. Luckily, you do have the option of using your own high resolution backgrounds or solid-color backgrounds, or any background you create or buy. What you can't do is save these alternate backgrounds to the same folder. (That, too, is off limits).

Before I leave you with the idea that there are no useful tools whatsoever, let me correct that impression: there are scaling, position, and rotation tools for both the background and foreground; you can adjust brightness (so the lighting on both will match) as well as some color adjustment controls. You can also adjust transparency, contrast, saturation, and even apply some blur to both the foreground and background independently. On the whole, that is a lot of tools, they work well though not intuitively and the interface itself is a little confusing at first. There is also a convoluted crop tool where you subtract percentages of the image from the different sides.

But what you can't do, and usually will need to do, is correct mistakes caused by a less than perfect initial photograph. You can't even export just the extraction to Photoshop or Elements so you can correct the non-perfect areas there. Of all the grayed-out premium options we can't access, the inability to export just the extraction is the most unfair and irritating. If you export it to Photoshop, 'Lite' re-fills the formerly-green areas with white (complete with gray shadows, etc) and you have to re-extract it manually. Of course, extracting manually is exactly what I was trying to avoid by getting this product! It seems to me that, if I paid for software to make my extractions, I am entitled to these extractions--with or without their backgrounds.

On the whole, I'm going to give the product a 3-star rating simply because it is so incredibly accurate at extracting and I'm painfully aware of just how difficult that can be. Also, for my purposes of simple product photography for online auctions and web stores, this does the job. People with small children might find this fun despite the limitations as long as they don't expect perfection. Beyond that, it's questionable.

If some of the features that I can see (but not use) were available, I think this would be a first-class, 5-star product. As it is, it most certainly is not.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worked surprising well, software can be used for pictures not video however, January 13, 2010
This review is from: Westcott Green Screen Digital Photography Kit (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Initially, I thought that the software would allow you to process video against a green screen, but it turns out that the included software edits photos only. That being said, I put up the green screen (without ironing first) for a quick test, snapped a couple of pictures and was really impressed at how the software removed out the green. It was a pretty clean edit.

I have Adobe Premeire Elements for video editing and I tried the green screen with some simple video shots, and it worked well. Definitely iron out the wrinkles if you have a video editing program that you want to try out the chroma key feature to get the best results.

Pros:
+ Software is fairly easy to use
+ Adjusting the size and rotation of the foreground (usually the people in your picture) was really easily and worked well.
+ The screen is large enough that an adult can stand in front of it and be covered head to toe.
+ The software lets you export your photos to Tiff, Jpeg, and Png.
+ The green screen worked well when using it for video chroma key with a separate video editing program

Cons:
- It seemed like the program didn't like it much if someone was wearing something blue against the green screen. The blue colors stuck out like neon in the pictures.
- This is the Lite version, so yes, they are trying to get you to upgrade to the pro
- The included backgrounds weren't all that appealing. We've had more fun using out own.
- The included software is for editing pictures only, not video. You'll need something like Adobe Premiere Elements for video chroma key
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars When they say "lite"...they mean it..., December 26, 2009
This review is from: Westcott Green Screen Digital Photography Kit (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This product is one that begs for a "half star" option, as it sits between 2 and 3 stars. It gets two stars primarily for the limited features in the included software (and the pricey upgrade path to the full-featured version which is pushed hard in the "Lite" package).

This package contains a 5' x 7' chroma key green screen fabric backdrop and an editing application (PhotoKey 2 Lite by FXHome).

The green screen cloth was simple to prepare and hang(the vendor recommends either ironing or tumbling in the dryer, as wrinkles in the cloth can create shadows in the image). I expected much lighter/thinner material, and was pleasantly surprised at how substantial it was.

In the world of "lite", "express", "compact" and other limited-feature software packages seeking to induce consumers to upgrade to their full-featured companions, PhotoKey 2 Lite should win a prize for amount of functions it limits.

Among the limitations in this "Lite" version:
-while basic cropping is available, it accomplished by a rather unintuitive set of slider bars; every other image editor I've ever used allowed you to mouse over the cropping area with a selection tool. Very odd,
-NONE of the "Mask" functions area available.
-four of the eight "Filter" functions are unavailable.
-three of the four "Effects" functions are unavailable.
-"Overlay" functionality (whatever it is) is available via download, but only after you've purchased something else from FXHome.

PhotoKey 2 Lite includes 100 digital background images to use with the pictures you take in front of the green screen. They are relatively high resolution .jpg images of various thematic, seasonal, regional and conceptual subjects. Note: since they are .jpg, you can also use any of your own .jpg images for backgrounds (or a nearly endless supply of royalty-free images available online).

Overall use is fairly simple:
(1) Import a foreground image (that you have photographed using the green screen). -Add a background image.
(2) Use the available features --and there aren't many!-- to modify the properties of both to create the final look of the image.
(3) Export the image to either .tif, .png or .jpg format.

The online support forums and knowledge base for this product are not particularly helpful; they did not yield results for either an error message I received (described below)or materials available for download.

I ran into a surprising technical issue with this software. Because of this version's limitations on cropping, I first used an external editor (Hypersnap version 6) to crop out portions of the image outside of the green screen. PhotoKey 2 Lite would not recognize .jpg images edited with Hypersnap. When attempting to use these pictures the software yielded this error message:
"this is not a valid image, or its type is not supported". However, images using Photoshop Elements version 8, and Picase version 3 they were recognized by PhotoKey 2 Lite without a problem. This is surprising since I've never had another image editing application have a problem working with images edited in Hypersnap.

So why two stars instead of three?
The included software pushes you aggressively to upgrade to the full-featured version, an upgrade that will cost you an *additional* $75. Instead, purchase a larger piece (9' x 15')of Chromakey Green Muslin for less than $50 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 PSE 8 for less than the upgrade path to PhotoKey 2. PSE 8 is quite capable of handling chroma key backgrounds as layers. If you are already a PSE 8 user, and want to add chroma key to your arsenal, you can do so for the cost of the green screen alone. If you are not a PSE 8 user: it will do everything this application does --and much more-- without the hard sell to upgrade to a "full featured" version.

This product will provide satisfactory, basic chroma key editing: but it's a one-trick pony. The limitations in the included software make that trick an unsophisticated one for its price.

I placed some images created using this product on the product page:
Westcott Green Screen Digital Photography Kit
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Misleading Should be Trial Software, April 26, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Westcott Green Screen Digital Photography Kit (Electronics)
I agree with Tachi1.

The software should be a trial instead of a full blown sale item. Like Tachi1 said if there is a shadow cast on the background from a wrinkle you can use a brush to erase it. The option is grayed out. You have to upgrade to a more expensive version to be able to edit out shadows left behind.

I was so disappointed. I ended up buying the Photoshop plug-in at another $100 bucks. If I had known, I would have saved myself $70.00. I won't even use the original software. I just threw away $70.00

I think that is bad business practice but I guess they do get people to upgrade because the software does remove the green very well. If you're thinking of buying this, I would just pass it and buy the more expensive product. They will not keep me as a loyal customer because I think this is almost a bait product, which to me is borderline dishonest.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You get what you pay for!, December 24, 2009
This review is from: Westcott Green Screen Digital Photography Kit (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This kit includes only basic bare essential items needed for Green Screen digital Photography. The software included in this package is a "stripped down" version which prompts you to buy a "PRO" version for any type of additional editing options one chooses to perform other than basic processing of the digital image and remove the subject from the green screen background.

The software has some cool editing functions for the price and can get the basic job done but honestly speaking I found most editing options are somewhat cumbersome to use. It allows you to import ONE photo at a time, and painfully select ONE background at a time - This is a major drawback in the software. When you are experimenting with your photos and *only* 100 available backgrounds, the software does not list all the backgrounds or imported photos in one place for selection but forces you to select each background or import photos painfully using Windows Explorer Menus!.

If you accidently close the software it does not ask if you want to save your project - it just disappears and whatever hard work you might have done with your photos and backgrounds are gone forever and you will have to start all over again.

PROS:

[+] Chromakey Green cloth Included!

CONS:
[-] Allows you to import one photo at a time
[-] Additional backgrounds are cumbersome to select
[-] Only 100 Backgrounds are included for the price.
[-] Most of the menus are disabled and or prompts to buy their software upgrade
[-] *MUST* be connected to internet to activate the software
[-] Does not allow you to save your project

Please do yourself a favor by purchasing Photo Basics 402 uLite Video Lighting Kit which obviously is slightly expensive but has all the items one needs to get into Green Screen Digital Photography also buy a full version and latest Adobe Photoshop & Premiere Elements 8 - Remember! you get what you pay for!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as "SIMPLE" as the ad says, September 16, 2010
This review is from: Westcott Green Screen Digital Photography Kit (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This software let's you photograph a person or objects with the (included) green screen behind it and then place a different background in place of the green screen. It's the still version of a TV newscast showing a storm behind the weatherman (whose is actually in the studio).

Let's face it, professional software that does what this does comes with a cost that runs into the thousands of dollars. This software does a great job of extracting a subject from the green screen and putting another backgound behind it with one caveat: the green screen needs to be lit evenly... no shadows. One hint here is to iron the background, then roll it instead of folding when it's stored.

The reason for the low rating is because of the frustrations in using this software:

Lighting is the first one. This will be an issue with any of these programs, so you just need to experiment until you get
it right. Make good notes, so you can recreate the setup.

This review is on the "Lite" version. There are a lot of things that this software can do, but a good bit of them are
locked out until you upgrade. Because of this, I always ended up in another program (like Photoshop) to clean up the
images.

You're constantly nagged about upgrading. Anytime you select a tool that isn't available, a pop up box comes up trying to
get you to upgrade.

All in all, for the price, it works. If you're using it professionally or in a production environment, you'll need to upgrade or consider a better product. If you have kids, they'll love it until the novelty wears off.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many corners cut all-around, July 31, 2010
This review is from: Westcott Green Screen Digital Photography Kit (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I wasn't expecting miracles out of this green screen kit but it's pretty bad.

The biggest issue I have is with the green screen itself, because it's basically a cheap piece of green fabric you could pick up for a few dollars at a fabric store. Although it's not that difficult to get the wrinkles out of the fabric, there are several fabric choices they could have made to avoid wrinkles in the first place. That would've made this kit a bit more expensive, most likely, but good green screens aren't all that expensive to begin with. I think a few extra dollars put towards including a green screen of better would've been worthwhile. I mean, it's really just a cut piece of low-grade fabric. You have to wonder why you're paying about $70 for something of such low quality.

The software would be why, basically, but it's not that great either. It keys out the green screen surprisingly well, which is the important thing, but there's not a whole lot you can do beyond there besides place your image on a background and adjust the color/lighting a little bit. To be fair, that's really all you're going to need to do, but the problems come in when you need to make corrections. Everything works wonderful when you have a shadowless, wrinkle-free green screen and a well-lit subject. All of that's easier said than done, and while I wouldn't expect this green screen package to take care of everything it's supposed to be very easy. You shouldn't have to know how to light a green screen to use it. Lighting a green screen and keying a photo isn't the easiest thing to do, so if it's going to be marketed towards people who don't know how to do it as any easy-to-use product it should be pretty freakin' easy (I think). Saving that, the software should at least allow the cleanup of imperfections. Since neither of those things are present in this package it's hard to recommend it as an easy solution. What's especially frustrating is that the software could include more functionality, but you're given a lite version that hides a bunch of features.

All-around this package is pretty cheap. I like the idea of it but it's not executed well. Rather than giving you a green screen of reasonable quality you get a fabric scrap. Rather than giving you the features you need to actually get a good green screen key, the software is crippled. This could be a much better product and I have to believe there are better options out there.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Simple Little Tool For SPFX Photography, January 14, 2010
This review is from: Westcott Green Screen Digital Photography Kit (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I think for anyone starting in this kind of editing and photography - it's a good BASIC tool to use, but once you get the hang of it. It might grow old real fast for the ambitious photographer.

There are some interesting editing tools for the price and can get the basic job done but honestly speaking I found most editing options are somewhat cumbersome to use. It allows you to import ONE photo at a time, and painfully select ONE background at a time. This makes everything take a little longer to do anything. When you are experimenting with any photos the 100 available simple backgrounds, the software does not list all the backgrounds or imported photos in one place for selection - it should have used the one screen capture concept. One at a time. A simple screen or menu in the software that allows a preview window would have been nice.

A little weak in the features department, this kit includes only the basic items needed for Green Screen digital Photography. The software included in this package is a beginners version which actually prompts you to buy the "PRO" version. A little cheesy if you ask me when companies do that with software.

The Good:
Chromakey Green cloth is included with hooks!
Well Packed product

The Not-So Good:
Only allows you to import one photo at a time
Only Limited Number of Backgrounds are included.
It's a launching pad to get you to buy and upgrade
Internet connection is required to activate the software
I had problems saving projects.

Be careful, if you accidentally close the software it does not ask if you want to save your project. The software just deletes it. This causes you to start all over again. Overall - for the beginner in green screen photography it's a good tool to learn but it certainly is not what the professionals are using. 1-14-10
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just About What I Expected, September 25, 2010
This review is from: Westcott Green Screen Digital Photography Kit (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Some reviewers of this package were apparently disappointed that it didn't have sophisticated image manipulation tools such as those in Adobe Photoshop or Corel Photo-Paint. Anyone who has used those software packages will know that they have a lot of versatility, but a long learning curve. That's why community colleges offer courses on how to use them. You won't need to take college courses to master this software.

What I was expecting from this package was something that is easy-to-use and that produces fun, sometimes amusing results. That's exactly what I got. Less than ten minutes after I installed this software on my computer, I was dropping images into exotic and cartoon backgrounds and I was producing amusing prints for those who had been brave enough to pose for my camera, a few minutes earlier, in front of the green background cloth.

Unlike the experience of some reviewers, the creases and wrinkles in the background fabric didn't show in any of my images. The green background was completely dropped out. Shadows cast on the background will show up, however, which may or may not be desirable depending upon what new background you choose. Think: "Shadow on a building or other object in the new background image makes sense, a shadow with the sky in the background does not."

Like other reviewers, I found the incessant "encouragements," while using the software, to purchase expensive upgrades to be annoying. Be forewarned that this software requires an Internet connection, user-registration and a working email address to complete the installation. Otherwise it's unusable. Then the company will send advertisements for upgrades to your email address.

A similar-size 5' X 7' green fabric background is advertised on the Web for about $35. This package includes the background, a couple of self-adhesive hooks for hanging the background fabric on a wall and the software itself. A brief video which plays when the software is launched should get most people up-to-speed within a minute or two. The software's limited features do not give you much to learn. However, what it does do, it does well and it's simple and fun to use. I might add that this software also drops out chroma-key blue as well as chroma-key green. You can use either color background.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like this more., January 28, 2010
This review is from: Westcott Green Screen Digital Photography Kit (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I thought this would be fun for parties, and taking fun photos of my friends. While this does work well functionally other aspects of the software really deter me from really saying I like taking fun photos like this. My first comment is the green screen, it is of ample size, but you have to get it completely flat, or ironed out before first using. A crease in the sheet will mean that the background may not come through.

My next area of frustration came through working with the photo editor. I normally use Adobe's Photoshop Elements, which works well. The Westcott program has very few editing features. Want to make the colors more vivid, nope. Want to make something more sharp, no can do. You will have to do that in another program. I thought it was annoying that you were asked to upgrade to the more advanced software edition for more money.

I would have liked this better if this was priced differently and you were allowed to do the advanced setting. This has limited use, how many times can you do this and for it to be fun. So, for me, this should have had some editing software I could have used on other photos that would have been decent.
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Westcott Green Screen Digital Photography Kit
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