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Best Green Screen Solution

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christina rule
Best Green Screen Solution
on Nov 29, 2010 at 6:44:03 pm

Hey everyone,
I was debating if this was the correct forum for this post so I apologize if its not.

The company I am working for is looking to improve their green screen studio and I'm looking for any suggestions.

They are currently using green cloth, which has its obvious down falls, the biggest being the wrinkles. I've always worked with solid hard stages like painted wood etc. What would be best? This does not have to be portable.

Lighting
If anyone could recommend any good resources and types of lights that would be appreciated.

A majority of the videos we do are full body, walks ons stuff like that. The current space we have is on the smaller side, however we have very high ceilings.

Thanks in advance!!

http://www.christinarule.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Best Green Screen Solution
on Nov 29, 2010 at 9:07:24 pm

You can stretch the existing cloth with a frame and tensioning system. Flat and even lighting is the biggest step after that. I like using Large Lowel Rifalight softboxes for this, but a more energy-efficient and cost-effective method would be long fluorescent tube fixtures with diffusers on them.

The other thing I often suggest if the location is permanent or semi-permanent is, instead of cloth, use the back side of a roll of discounted vinyl kitchen and bathroom flooring. The so-called "felt" side which normally takes the glue, really takes paint pretty well, and stands up to people walking on it and etc. And it can be washed or repainted, where cloth or paper backdrops cannot. You can get the vinly for cheap at home improvement and flooring stores because it is an odd number of feet at the end of the roll that went unused, or there is always some flooring where the color and pattern on top are completely hideous and so it is marked WAY down. You won't care, as long as it is not that kind of flooring with the puffy embossing on it that shows thru on the backing. You want an ugly and thus cheap roll of flooring with a plain flat felt finish backing. Hang a long piece of this from one edge, (trapped between some 2x4's with screws or bolts, and then hang the 2x4 sandwich from stands or chains) let it drape down to the floor and curve naturally out onto the floor towards the camera, and you get a perfect cove-type setup for limbo shots. You can paint this all white or chromakey blue ro green. I suggest you first prime it using Kilz brand latex white primer, before you paint anything else over it.

This can be rolled up and stored, but is a little awkward and heavy to transport. But it sure is rugged yet cheap to do, and the results are very good.


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christina rule
Re: Best Green Screen Solution
on Dec 1, 2010 at 7:50:25 pm

WOW THIS IS SO GREAT! Thank you so much! What a brilliant idea! I'm curious have you done this before? If so, do you have any pictures? I'd love to see! The room I'm dealing with is roughly 14ft x 14ft and has 15 ft ceilings...

I'm a bit confused of how you're describing how to hang it...do you have any visuals?

Again thank you so much!!! Cant wait to get started!

http://www.christinarule.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Best Green Screen Solution
on Dec 2, 2010 at 4:34:29 am

Mark's solution works really well.

The other part of the equation is lighting. The best way to light a green screen is with a broad, diffuse light source. long tubes work better than short tubes. So the best solution is to use color balanced fluorescent fixtures.

If you're going to be using them with traditional tungsten video lighting for the people appearing in your videos, you want the tubes that are color balanced the same as your other lights.

Look at http://www.coollights.biz. Richard A sells some really nice affordable fluorescent color balanced lights that work well for greenscreen. I recommend the 4light fixtures. With your ceiling height, you can mount one of these directly above a single person subject - lowered to about 9' to provide 3 feet clearance over their head - aimed back at the green surface and get a smooth key behind someone. If you want to key more than one person - you'd mount more than one fixture - spreading them out so that as the light from one falls off, the spill from it's neighbor reinforces the fall off. Your goal is a smooth, even field of green.

Then light the people as you would for any decent interview keeping them at least eight feet out from the wall to avoid too much green reflected spill off your key wall.

That should get you started.

Good luck, and let us know how things work out.



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christina rule
Re: Best Green Screen Solution
on Dec 3, 2010 at 5:48:16 pm

Thanks! I actually was looking at the material last night I think it will def work the best... Im still having some trouble understanding how to hand it.... any ideas? It would have to cover 3 walls.

http://www.christinarule.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Best Green Screen Solution
on Dec 4, 2010 at 6:38:22 am

Christina,

Successful keys are often about geometry.

And the geometry is about limits. You have a limit as to room height, width and depth.
You have more limits depending on the kind of shots you need. A full length single person stand-op shot requires a much different geometry than a sit down two shot.

This might help you understand some of the issues that aren't particularly obvious when someone comes to green screen design for the first time.

Imagine that you've set up a camera 5 feet above the ground. You take a string and you run it from the camera lens to the head of a person standing six feet from the camera. If you extend that string to the wall behind them, it's going to be MORE than six feet above the ground. And if you allow an extra foot of headroom at the SUBJECT, that string will hit the wall EVEN HIGHER. The GEOMETRY of the "shot cone" expands such that elements like how close or how far you position the camera from the green screen AND how much room there is between the camera and the subject ALL change shot geometry.

And that's just height. Think of depth as well. If the talent is standing six feet IN FRONT of the GS and you want a HEAD TO TOE shot - you'll likely have to extend the green area ON THE FLOOR for 8 or even 10 feet out to allow you to light and key the space in front of your talent.

And the more you pull you camera back to get the floor in frame, the more green screen space you need on top AND on the sides of your key screen.

The truth is that green screen areas get big FAST when you're designing them. So if you're smart, you'll get the camera and lens combination you'll want to use for your work. Take it outside - point it at a big wall, and measure how much width, height, and floorspace you'll need to prep to get the kind of shots you want in your set. That will help you understand how to design your GS area more than anything else.

Better to get surprised by marking distances and angles on paper, than to find out that you've put your ceiling lights too low and they're cutting off the useful geometry of your key.

Hope this helps.

Good luck.



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