Tuesday, July 9, 2013

5 Tips for Shooting Green Screen

1. Lighting

  • Try to light the green screen as evenly as possible, and avoid dark shadows whenever you can.

  • Light the backdrop and subject separately. When lighting the backdrop, it is common to use diffused softbox lights. And when lighting the subject, it is recommended that you use a three-point lighting system – a key light, fill light, and a back light – along with the necessary reflectors.

Take a look at this 5 Point Lighting Set up from “GreenMan Blogs!

The most basic way is to keep the key, fill, and backlight in relatively the same position as you would have them in a 3 point lighting set up. With the key being the brightest light, position it at about a 45 degree angle from the camera, facing the subject. The fill should be on the opposite side, at a lower intensity, and still at that 45 degree angle from the camera. The backlight can be positioned behind and slightly to one side of the subject, so it frames the subject and is out of the camera’s view. The other two lights you can use to light the backdrop. Place one on either side, but let the beams cross each other so that the light seems to just flood the background.

2. Maintain correct distance between backdrop and subject

  • There are different opinions on what the correct distance between the backdrop and subject should be. According to several sources, the ideal distance between the green screen backdrop and subject is 10 feet.

  • B&H Photo Video suggests: “While there’s general agreement about at least 4-6ft background to subject distance, the reality is, further is better to control the spill of chroma light bounced onto the subject which would result in a dark matte-line around them once it’s keyed.”

3. Keep it blurry in camera

  • Turn off in-camera sharpening as it makes it difficult to get a clean edge between your foreground and your green screen.

  • Although it improves the image quality, in-camera sharpening can also bring out noise and imperfections in the green screen, making it even more difficult to obtain a clean edge.

  • Turning of in-camera sharpening may be unsettling for your Director of Photography as it will definitely make it harder for him/her to focus. However, in terms of the chroma keying process, it’s best to shoot without sharpening and add it in post-production.

4. Resolution and Framing

  • You’ll want to shoot your green screen production in the highest resolution that you can possibly afford. This is because the more detail you are able to capture, cleaner your footage will look after keying.

  • It’s best to get the tightest shot possible. Since you’ll be dealing with the footage in post-production, you don’t need to concern yourself with the typical “safe areas” that are normally cut off by monitors and televisions.

  • To maximize resolution, a good trick is to tilt the camera 90 degrees when shooting standing people.

5. Blue or Green?

  • Although we generally use green screen, some are faced with the challenge of deciding between a blue and a green background.

  • Green screens are more popular because green provides a brighter channel and tends to have less noise than its blue counterpart. However, green screen can pose a challenge when shooting a subject with blonde hair as the hair reflects the green and can be a nightmare in post-production.

  • Blue screen can be used in a small space where the subject has to be very close to the background and you can’t avoid a lot of spill. This is because we tend to find that casting a blue hue isn’t as unsettling as a green one, especially when shooting for outdoors.

At Keywest, we know green screen. Our in-house green screen studio is built for clean and effective chroma keying. We can also pack it up and set up wherever you are. You can also use our high-definition post suite to key footage or create stunning graphics to deliver the final product.

5 Tips for Shooting Green Screen