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Green Screen Studio

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Don BalchGreen Screen Studio
by on Apr 17, 2013 at 6:39:31 pm

I have an extremely small studio that makes taping greenscreen footage challenging.

Studio Size 12' by 22'

The following provides a decent key

- eight 10w efficiency bulbs (equivalent to regular 40w incandescent) to light the screen (actors lit separately)
- 35mm 1.8 lens
- 200 ISO
- Smoothen Key to even out the green screen dark patches
- Sony A57

However, because of the size of the room, since the A57 is not full frame, I can't get a decent full-body shot with a 35mm lens (for this sensor size, is a 35mm actually something more like a 50mm?). Anyway, the kit lens will not operate in these conditions unless I ramp up the ISO to 800. At this point, the resulting noise makes the footage unusable. Even if I use AE's noise removal tool, I don't see much of an improvement.

Because I'm on a budget, to bet better wide shots, I am thinking about getting a 28mm 2.8 lens.

Questions I have

1. Would the 28mm 2.8 handle the low light conditions well enough? If I use more light, there is WAY too much spill.
2. Any general pieces of advice (rather than get a larger studio) that might help me work within the confines of what I have?
3. Anything listed above I might tweak for better results? I guess I could get a 35mm 1.4, but again, I'm on a budget.


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Joseph W. BourkeRe: Green Screen Studio
by on Apr 17, 2013 at 7:31:37 pm

You're sort of in the middle of a trap between small studio size, and a wide angle lens causing distortion (which you can fix in AE). You also need good separation from the background so you can light the green screen and the talent separately.

Do you have the luxury of time to rent a wide angle lens? There are plenty of facilities who will rent and ship lenses, or for that matter, a camera better suited to your predicament/situation. You want two stops difference between your green screen lighting and the subject. You might want to try some denoising software with your current setup to see if that can save the day:

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media

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Don BalchRe: Green Screen Studio
by on Apr 19, 2013 at 2:55:25 pm


To get a better key and achieve the two F-stop difference, I dropped the brightness of the eight bulbs, increased the subject lighting a bit and am toying with 200 vs 400 ISO.

For the full-body shots, I bought a .40 wide-angle lens converter that will fit my 1.8 lenses. Am planning on purchasing a Minolta 28mm 2.8 lens.

To maximize space, I'm thinking about lining the side walls with something magenta. As both side walls are outside of the set, my thinking is that the diffusion might create a more neutral spill that wouldn't be removed in the keying process and would basically allow actors more room to move. Would this work? Some people advise using a magenta gel filter on the back light to adjust the spill tone--not the same, perhaps, but similar. Would that work?

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Darby EdelenRe: Green Screen Studio
by on Apr 17, 2013 at 8:07:57 pm

Not sure if this will help but it's a trick one of my professors shared with me way back when to maximize resolution on a green screen shoot (we didn't have HD cameras at the time). Have you tried canting your camera 90 degrees so that the longer portion of the frame is vertical? If you're close to getting a full body shot normally that might be enough to manage it. Then you can rotate the footage back in After Effects.

Darby Edelen

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Don BalchRe: Green Screen Studio
by on Apr 19, 2013 at 2:57:32 pm

Thanks! I hadn't thought of that, and for shots that do not require actors to move much, I think it's a quick, useful solution.

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Andrew JamesRe: Green Screen Studio
by on Apr 26, 2013 at 7:29:40 am

Yes, I would agree with them. Also lighting is very important in the green screen technique. If the lighting is bad, everything turns out bad as well.

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