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Magarnacle
small green screen set up
on Oct 25, 2006 at 12:13:10 am

Hello All, I hope this is the right place to put this post as this is my first one - if its not I apologise in advance....

I run a Design Company and we are doing more and more motion graphic type contracts. People are starting to ask us to do a few entire productions like commericals and the like. My background is more in design so my knowledge is fairly limited of the production realm but we really want to make the jump. We now have a fairly large room set aside for a greenscreen set up but I need some advice as to where to start.

I need to know things like the best places to buy lights, which brands (ari, kenoflo), types of greenscreens (foam back, curtains) and just any resources or good sites to visit for info.

I wanted to start with a 4inch fill light and a few fresnel spots and a foam back screen but I am not an expert. Also about cameras (hdv)and keyers. We have been using DV matte pro for the little bit of keying we do but I am not sure this is the best.

We have a small budget (probably around $10k) does this seem realistic?

Anyway if anyone has any insight into this broad topic that would be awsome! Cheers...

Jeremy Kenning
Lead Designer
Juicy Studios
http://www.juicystudios.com


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Bob Woodhead
Re: small green screen set up
on Oct 25, 2006 at 9:16:10 pm

$10k... without taking the time to add a bunch of stuff up, may I suggest buying the lighting (and perhaps greenscreen foam - not sure what they cost), and NOT a camera yet? Reason being - without experience in different cameras & formats, knowing what's good for what, and not so good for something else, you could easily spend thousands on something not correct for your needs. But lighting doesn't care what format, CCDs, or lens you're using. It's useful on ANY camera. And since it doesn't sound like you're out shooting frequently, why not rent for your initial work? You don't mention if it's HD or SD, but assuming it's SD, I'd rent a format with good colorspace for your greenscreen - BetaSP, DVCPro50, maybe a HVX200 using the P2 card (NOT the HDV tape). You really want 4:2:2 colorspace for good keying.
For lighting, a great setup is a Kino/Chimera for main light, some low intensity soft light as fill, a small fresnel doored tight as a backlight or "kicker", and whatever it takes to create a nice **EVEN** light over the screen. We usually use Arri 600, 300, Lowel Tota and Omni's on the screen, depending on size. Don't try to throw too much backlight (or color it heavily) on the talent in an effort to make the key better or easier - just light it for the best look; the chromakey will take care of itself, assuming the screen is EVENLY lit. A hard backlight will make the talent "pop" too much, instead of blending nicely in the composite. (Did I mention to make sure the screen is evenly lit?)
Used the foam once for a medium shot, didn't have any issues with it. Don't know if using it "under foot" would be any different.
Try to get as much separation as possible between the talent and the screen.
Beware the same color on both talent & screen (duh), and also reflective thingys.
Keep in mind the edges of the raster and what's being cut off as you shoot.
Keying software - Primatte & Keylight in Shake, Advantedge & Keylight in AFX. Love both Keylight & Advantedge.


Bob Woodhead / Atlanta
Quantel-Avid-FCP-3D-Crayola
G5/DP, 10.4.7, 3.5GB RAM, FCP 5.1.something, Aja IO, Huge 320R/raid3


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Magarnacle
Re: small green screen set up
on Oct 26, 2006 at 5:58:52 pm

Thanks for you input Bob. Are there any lights in particular that you would recommend for a small set up like this? I was looking at the kinoflo 4 bank for a fill light but am unsure as to the rest. Judging by Arri's prices I dont think they are going to be an option ($2k plus per light it seems) so I might have to stick with kenoflo. Is it possible to just use kinoflo lights effectivly?

Jeremy Kenning
Lead Designer
Juicy Studios
http://www.juicystudios.com


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Bob Woodhead
Re: small green screen set up
on Oct 27, 2006 at 2:25:53 am

A full Arri kit (5 lights) is $2900: 2 Fresnel 150, 1 Fresnel 300, 2 Fresnel 650 Lights, Barndoors, Filter Frames, Scrims, Super Clamp, Accessory Pack, Bulbs, Light Stands, Heavy Duty Case.

A combo Kino 4-bank (lamps for 3200 & 5600) is $1300. (Diva-Lite 400 Universal)

You'll need more C-stands, clamps, arms, sandbags, etc etc, call that $500. Maybe a 1k Lowel Tota (open face, not expensive). A Chimera (soft box for the Tota) and SpeedRing would be a great 2nd soft - around $500 I think.

So $5000 or so gets you a basic professional, flexible light kit. Add greenscreen and you've got budget left over. Maybe buy a nice tripod ($1700 or so) for your camera rentals.


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tony salgado
Re: small green screen set up
on Oct 29, 2006 at 11:30:20 pm


Hire a freelance gaffer who own the truck and lighting/grip gear on a per need basis as job require it.

Save your money and hire those who do this for a living.

The practice of hiring freelancers on a per need basis is standard practice for alot of production companies.

Tony Salgado


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Bob Woodhead
Re: small green screen set up
on Oct 30, 2006 at 2:16:29 am

Awwww Tony, that ain't no fun!! ;)


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Magarnacle
Re: small green screen set up
on Oct 30, 2006 at 10:03:57 pm

Half the reason we want to get this equipment is for our own learning and enjoyment (hopefully). We have a fairly large studio with lots of space and most importantly low overhead. So we have some extra time and space to play around with it and do some personal projects.

Jeremy Kenning
Lead Designer
Juicy Studios
http://www.juicystudios.com


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Bob Woodhead
Re: small green screen set up
on Oct 31, 2006 at 1:29:54 am

My only caution would be to have plenty of time to work out the kinks of your setup. Shoot tests using the same model of camera you'll use for the "real thing". Make sure you've got the greenscreen and talent lighting nailed BEFORE the day comes. Once you've done a few, you can relax.


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tony salgado
Re: small green screen set up
on Oct 31, 2006 at 4:10:58 pm



Bob,


I don't know what you mean no fun by as working with solid experienced professionals who can hyperdrive a production to obtain stellar lighting results is well worth it for productions which need not invest in capital equipment and expenses.


The no fun part is being stuck with the inproper gear, tool sets and experience level under a pending deadline.

You can either plan to fail or plan to succeed. So regardless of what you do allow enough time to research and develop the right workflow and gear for your future productions.


Tony Salgado


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Bob Woodhead
Re: small green screen set up
on Oct 31, 2006 at 4:31:06 pm

You took my "no fun" the wrong way - I meant it's fun to learn & experiment, thus expanding your capabilities. There's also the budget aspect of some productions, where if you can't DIY, it can't be done at all. Sure, I've hired other pros when needed, but I'm also a well-rounded production pro myself due to always watching, learning and trying it myself. Grin... I quit from one of the top networks years ago, since the management wanted their people to fit neatly into the niches they'd created for them. Not wanting to be another cog in the machine then has me now working independantly, and very satisfied (with the exception of health insurance costs here in the U.S.). But you are absolutely correct in that failure is not an option for keeping any client!


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