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Filming small animals with green screen

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Mark Romanov
Filming small animals with green screen
on Jul 31, 2017 at 1:40:40 am

Hi everyone,

I have an assignment where I have to film small animals (2-5") and key them out. I'm having horrible trouble with this as I haven't found a way to get a good green screen since I can't pull them out far enough to backlight them and they create shadows under themselves (I need the full animals in frame). I'm not sure if I should post this in Premiere, AE, or a more shooting geared forum. Any thoughts or suggestions of where to head are greatly appreciated. I have very limited experience with chroma keys and green screens.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Filming small animals with green screen
on Jul 31, 2017 at 2:56:30 am

If you can't light/shoot differently, then you'll have to get better at pulling keys. Typically, situations like yours stem from thinking that one key will magically make everything perfect, when in fact, that only happens when the subject(s) are perfectly lit. So, in your case you'll need to apply multiple instances of the key to your shots, with each instance tweaked to remove very finite ranges of color, like only the dark green shadow areas, etc. Believe me, many of the keys in many of the top FX driven movies are not shot perfectly, yet experienced VFX artists who know all the tricks can easily key them quite nicely, especially when they combine keying and rotoscoping techniques.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles

David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.

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Todd Perchert
Re: Filming small animals with green screen
on Jul 31, 2017 at 2:21:03 pm
Last Edited By Todd Perchert on Jul 31, 2017 at 2:22:04 pm

One thought. How about using a monitor, such as TV. Put green or blue in the monitor. I'd place the animal on glass or plexi up off the monitor to help minimize impact on the animal and spill from the green/blue. You might have to work around reflections, but that's easier than shadows. Definitely key with AE.
Good Luck!

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