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Great Green Screen Video

Great Green Screen Video

May 15, 2017

The 5 Key Elements for Great Green Screen Video

Written by: L. Scott Harrell

Using a green screen to create great video content when you you need a better background is a skill that requires practice and patience.

With a solid understanding of the most fundamental aspects of film-making and video editing you can learn how to get a good shot out of even just so-so footage.

Here is a summary of the 5 key elements for producing great green screen video and getting professional quality results:


Because using a green or blue screen entails using a physical object behind your subject, you’ll want to pay attention to how much distance to place between the two.

  • Make sure your subject is far enough away to prevent casting a shadow on the screen behind him.
  • When shooting a talking head shot (just head and shoulders) your subject can be closer to the green screen.
  • For a full-body shot, not only must your subject be farther away from the screen, but you’ll also want to shoot from a distance as well for a natural look and to prevent distortion.

Screen Color and Quality

The decision as to whether to use a blue or green screen will be determined by two factors.

  • A blue screen is the best option use when shooting with film.
  • A green screen is the best choice when you’re using digital equipment because of this equipment’s particular sensitivity to the green color spectrum. A green screen requires less light as well.
  • You will also want to consider the color of clothing or costume the subject is wearing. For example, if your subject is wearing green, you’ll want to use a blue screen so that his clothing doesn’t disappear into the background.

Once you’ve chosen a color, you have some options as to what quality and type of screen to use.

  • You can paint your background using Chroma Key paint. This option requires the most physical labor but is the most permanent option. It’s also all but necessary if you intend to create a cyclorama.
  • Another option is to hang your green screen. You’ll need stands and clamps.
  • Material options include paper, muslin cloth or foam-backed cloth. The latter prevents wrinkling while in use.
  • There are also smaller fold-up screens available, which are handy for outdoor shots and tend to withstand wrinkling well.

Light It Right

When lighting your scene, you must focus on lighting your screen and your subject independently. You can combine your lighting but that may lead to the issue of casting shadows on your screen and less than desirable green screen video.

  • First focus on evenly lighting your screen without your subject in the shot.
  • For light sources you could use LED lighting systems, fluorescent tube lights, Hollywood strip lighting fixtures.
  • You can use your camera’s zebra settings to check if your screen is evenly lit.
  • Then light your subject. Focus on lighting him in such a way that matches how the background scene will appear in post-production.



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