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Green Screen

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Thomas HughesGreen Screen
by on Feb 13, 2010 at 2:53:43 am

Is there a quick and easy way to do green screen really well? It seems everywhere I look I see really good examples of it: on youtube, by high school kids, college kids, hobbyists, on local tv stations; yet every time I have a client ask for it, my editors break out in hives telling me it’s really difficult and it’s critical how it’s lit, etc.

Hasn’t it gotten easier over the years? Aren’t there tools for doing it that didn’t exist years ago, that make it easier?

I have a client who asked for a sample. I told her it’s easy to do, we’ve done it many times but because I haven’t done it in over a year, I’ll put a sample together really quick and have it to her next week. I want to make sure I'm showing her a really clean sample.

Any input would be appreciated.

Thomas H

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Stephen SmithRe: Green Screen
by on Feb 15, 2010 at 3:33:01 pm

If you light it well everything else will be easy. Make sure the green backdrop is lit even and you like the way your talent is lit and you are good to go. What software do you have to key it? Final Cut Pro? After Effects?

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

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Mark DannunzioRe: Green Screen
by on Feb 18, 2010 at 8:54:15 pm

Hey there,

Yes, make sure your talent has enough light and that your green backdrop is evenly lit. Also, make sure your talent doesn't produce any shadows on the green screen. I usually suggest that they stand a few feet infront of the screen rather than directly infront of it causing the green to reflect on their clothes! That makes things more complicated.

I use FCP to key.

Best of luck!

Mark Dannunzio

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John BaumchenRe: Green Screen
by on Feb 23, 2010 at 7:19:15 pm

I do talking heads against green screen all the time. I found that using green florescent lights, (kino flow), to light the screen gives a nice even color. I put the talent 10-12 feet in front of the screen, and the camera another 8-12 feet in front of the talent.

I also shoot in progressive mode, 4:2:2 color space, which gives me a really good key to work with. If you don't have 4:2:2, at least shoot progressive, it will make your editing life a bit easier.

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Scott CarnegieRe: Green Screen
by on Mar 29, 2010 at 4:12:29 pm

It's not hard if it's lit properly, I have seen many poorly lit green screens that required a lot of work to pull off. One time I had to re-shoot one that was done by a clients internal people because it wasn't useable.

Light the green screen seperately and evenly, keep the talent away from the bg, put an amber backlight on the talent (or any backlight), it will really help with getting a good key.

Sample I made for clients to undersatnd how we do green screens.

Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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Colter RipleyRe: Green Screen
by on Apr 21, 2010 at 9:10:05 am

Here's an excerpt from one of the tutorials that I've written for doing green screen videos. This is how I do it for some of my clients. Hope this can help.

"First of all, I will assume you have some lights, a green-screen and a camera. The rest of this tutorial will be about arranging them.

Now if you don't already know, chroma green is a certain color that works well with cameras. You ever heard of a 4:2:2 color space? How about RGB? Well without making things complicated, most color information is stored in the Green space of the color channel (G) on your digital camera. So make sure that green-screen is the appropriate color.

1. First off: Lights

Lights are THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of getting great quality separation of your subject from the green-screen - and ultimately - a good key. And when I say key, I mean when you bring the footage into your editing software, your subject separates well from the background.

This is what separates the pros from the amateur.

You can have the best acting, the greatest cameras, and the best crew but if you don't successfully create this separation... Your green-screen will have those nice green edges, reducing realism.

No down to the details.

2. Use a back light

When I say this, I mean a light that illuminates the back of your subject. Sometimes this light is higher in the air, sometimes lower (I recommend about 20% higher than your subject) but it is ALWAYS pointing at the back of your subject (in between your subject and the green-screen). Put that light on a 45 degree angle. Getting one light per side (same angle, same height) is ideal.

So what does this do? Well it creates a subtle white "halo" around the edges of your subject. Like a small white or illuminated edge, it's going to dramatically affect the quality of your key.

3. Light the Green-screen

I want to look at the green-screen and see an even covering of light. No wrinkles, no brighter parts, no shadows, perfect, even and green.

4. Choosing Lights

Ways of lighting that green-screen? A light on either side. Overheads and floor lights. They make Cyc lighting that casts an even light from the floor up (rent these from your local gear rental shop).

I use a four bank KinoFlo on either side of the screen depending on how much you expect the subject to move."



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