Edited by Natalia Bogorad
July 2, 2019
How to Use a Green Screen – Tips for Green Screen Backgrounds
Green screening also called chroma keying has been in vogue for a long time. It gained its vast popularity from its ability to create virtual illusions and unique effects to a picture or video clip by replacing a green background with another during the post-production process. Users can make war or funny scene look realistic with little finance in their room without having to act the whole process.
There are other chroma keying methods, but none is as useful as the green screen, camera sensors are sensitive to green more than different colors and produce a well high quality rendered image. Nevertheless, caution should not be thrown in the wind to begin production without understanding the rudiment because just like fire, when not properly managed it can destroy the whole output and you will have to shoot all over again.
Do not be bothered because this guide explains all you need to know about chroma keying; you can also check this article for additional information.
These listed fundamentals are necessary to know before attempting to dabble into green screen recording without having a prior or insufficient knowledge of how to make an excellent production.
- Have a blueprint of what you want to achieve after adopting this cool illusion method. Weathermen, analysts, photographers, and filmmakers to mention a few use the process to represent information's they will like to pass across so you should have a tangible reason and a laid up plan about how to create your goal.
- Get your equipment kits ready on websites like Amazon before the day that you start production so that you can test and replace bad ones. The type of equipment at your disposal should be in consideration before choosing the complexity of chroma keying.
- Learn how to DIY (“do it yourself”). Why wait till the day you want to use the equipment before learning about them? Learn the uses of all the materials and procedures required for pre and post production.
- Use the acquired tools to perfect your art for photography by creating samples for self-evaluation. If it comes out good enough and you can independently complete the task without supervision from another person, then you are good enough to maneuver your way and start setting up for recording.
Some Tips on How to Use a Green Screen Effectively
Light up the scene
There is a general belief that green screen activities become more comfortable when you have awesome lighting equipment, this is partially true, but there can be a production setback if the lighting is in a wrong position or you pick the wrong type of illuminating material. When dealing with lighting, every little detail matters, even the location of the lights.
Light the backdrop from two angles – pick a distance of 15 degrees from the backdrop to set up the lighting equipment to reduce the effect of shadows from uneven grasping, wrinkles, and non-horizontality of the sheet.
Light the subject separately – the purpose of separate lighting for the character is due to the distinction of an appropriate amount of lighting for each scene, actors should also stand at a reasonable distance away from the backdrop to remove shadows between the backdrop and character.
Even lighting – the hardest but profitable task for a good shot with a backdrop is to have even lighting to rid all shadows. Producers sometimes use shadow as a special effect to increasing the darkness of background to seem like casting a shadow in a video.
Pay attention to the backdrop
A backdrop is a piece of essential equipment for green screen backgrounds; therefore, only a smooth surface industrial standard sheets are good enough. The material should be big enough to contain the character, demonstrations outside the green screen cause post-production problems, so using a more significant layer is a good move. Always ensure that the sheet is smooth and rightly positioned, and if you choose to use a wall rather than the portable cheaper alternative, the surface should have reasonable layers of Chrome Paint green backgrounds.
Ensure to use quality material – there are some very cost-friendly and efficient options at your disposal. You can choose to use a plain sheet or download high-quality alternatives online. Painting a wall green also works perfectly, but it might be a bit expensive but very effective.
Cloth color matters – the color of clothing does have an effect on the visual result of the production, just like trees and other green colored things, clothes with green color will match the transparency of the background so opt for different color except done intentionally.
Use clamps and iron to straighten the sheet – clamps can be very helpful in the elimination of wrinkles caused by moving equipment to a different location. You can also iron the backdrop on a low temperature before commencing the session.
Set up the camera
Cameras can only perform according to its specifications and the expertise of the user, check that everything is set by doing a little recording and previewing it to recognize some needed adjustments before the proper recording starts, doing these will help avert ruining hours of recordings and unnecessary spending and time for a re-shoot.
Exposure – set up the lighting properly and bright enough to enable the camera to capture saturated images of high quality. Too much exposure or underexposure of the camera to the backdrop can have an adverse effect by causing low saturated photos.
Camera angle and settings – do not use a high ISO for recording, to achieve a perfect rendered image on a green screen you can set the aperture to an f/4 or f.5.6 also set your camera shutter speed to about 1/80 – 100 to achieve a reduced motion blur.
The camera quality – use high-tech compatible cameras that captures indoor recording excellently for the best result. Check for the ones that are perfect for the lightened environment and produce high-quality images for chroma keying.
Starting the production
Actors should be at least 3 feet's away from the screen to reduce the effect of shadow and green spill on the image. Due to the changes in scenes, you might be required to change the position of the lighting or camera, ensure that all the requirement necessary for the new position is in place and relevant to the particular scene before starting the camera. Preview your shots at intervals before ending the task.
Selecting background images – it is advisable to already have an idea of the background image to use before commencing shooting, it helps and makes it easier to set up the perfect scene and equipment needed for the production. Choosing a background image after shooting might not be a good plan.
Use a tripod – the camera should be on a tripod to ensure that it focuses mainly on the backdrop. Regular moving the camera can capture unwanted portions. The tripod is highly effective when you are the character and also the one handling the equipment. You have to set up the camera, stand in front of the green screen, and use a shutter remote to capture.
Transfer the file to your computer – do not forget to transfer the data to a desktop for safekeeping and editing. You may lose files or require higher disk space to complete a session so files should be in different folders with a name that will suggest the necessary finishing touches.
Edit with good software
You would not want to spoil the hard work at the post-production stage by using an app that is substandard or not good enough for the type of chroma keying production. Use software that is compatible with your laptop and gives the best visual and HD quality, not forgetting to consider the technicality and simplicity of usage. Another thing to consider is its numerous features and output formats.
Add background images – before using a background image on a picture or digital video, the purpose of the video is the most crucial factor to consider. A promotional YouTube clip will require a more decent background than a regular personal photo. Surf the internet to get free green screen backgrounds sample images.
Conduct a general check – conduct a general check the display quality, sound, and the background blends appropriately, and there is no terrible part of the picture or video. The overall production should be in line with the purpose of the shoot, you can keep editing till you feel it is perfect.
Save and publish – you can proceed to save the recording for online distribution or personal use, whatever you choose to use it for, you can be at rest and confident that the quality of the production is topnotch and meets the latest standards.
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