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Green Screen Tips

By shooting your next project on a green or blue screen, you have the ability to create a clean and stylish video production. Having the ability to change your subject’s background in post production will give you limitless options when it comes to your final product. There is a wide variety of chroma key backgrounds to choose from that will give your video production a polished look similar to larger video productions.

Using a green or blue screen in your production pipeline is simple: get a solid color background, film your subject in front of the background, then remove the chroma key in the background using your video editing software and replace it with something else. However, getting a precise key from your video can be a trial and error process that could cause frustration if the original video is not shot correctly.

Here are some techniques that you can use to make your green screen background production as trouble free as possible:

CHOOSING YOUR BACKDROP
– A chroma key background can be any color as long as it is not contained within the foreground elements you would like to keep in the scene. Most video productions utilize either a green or blue screen. A clean key can be achieved with either color, but you will want to take into account the color of clothing your talent will be wearing and also make sure nothing in your scene closely matches the color of the background color you are trying to remove.

– Use paint or a drop cloth and try to remove as many wrinkles or variations in the color of your background as you can. The more consistent your background color, the easier time you will have been removing it in post production.

ILLUMINATION
– The most important element of a good green screen video production is the lighting. A well lit scene will allow you to tell the software what color to knock out and what elements to keep in the scene.

– Set up a series of lights who illuminate your backdrop consistently and try to reduce the number of hotspots on the backdrop. Outdoor or fluorescent lighting is a good option because it is a diffused light who spreads evenly across your backdrop.

– Light your subject well using diffuse lighting as well. Furthermore, a back light that illuminate the back of the subject will help to create a clean edge for your video software to work with.

SETTING UP YOUR SCENE
– Place your subject a minimum of four steps from your backdrop. This will eliminate shadows from falling onto the green screen and will also help to minimize the color spills. Color spill occurs when the reflected green from your backdrop “spills” onto your subject and causes the color of clothing or skin to change the hue to match the backdrop. This can cause problems for your color key software and results in rough edges on the final production.

CAMERA SETUP
– Try to shoot your video with the best HD camera you have been available. If possible, use a camera that allows you to make manual adjustments to the ISO/Gain, shutter speed and white balance. The ISO/Gain controls should be set to a low setting. This will require lighter, but will give you cleaner video with less noise and artifacts.

If you follow these simple rules, you can create high quality green screen footage that will allow you to remove the background in your video editing software. Now you can replace the green screen with a virtual background or other video background. Have fun!

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