How To Plan for Greenscreen

Greenscreen has become a popular tool in film making today. Though it may seem to be a simple thing to come by, there are many things to consider before jumping into such a project.

Step 1: Post Production

Though it may seem backwards, consider post production first when planning for greenscreen. You need to make sure that you have the resources to pay an effects person to fill in the greenscreen that you will be shooting. This may affect not only the quality of the effect, but also how much you use it as a tool. Though there are many ways to incorporate a greenscreen into your shots; think about how complex each situation will be when it is given to the effects person.

Step 2: Greenscreen Size

You now need to consider how big your greenscreen environment needs to be. If you have a set and all you need to greenscreen is the windows that would normally show the street outside, then you could probably use some 12'x12' fabric greenscreens draped on the other side. However, if you will be doing a lot of dolly moves with these windows in play, you will need bigger greenscreens to cover the change in perspective. If you are going to have your effects person build an entire environment, then you will need to rent a space with a smooth transition from wall to floor. This can then be painted green. You now have an entire room of greenscreen. These studio spaces come in different sizes, so use your shot list to find out exactly how much space you really need.

Step 3: Crew

If you are indeed going to be using a lot of greenscreen in complex ways, then you will probably want to hire a VFX person to supervise the shooting. Cinematographers have a basic knowledge of how to light greenscreens and keep them effective, but a VFX person will be constantly aware of how each shot will translate into the computer. They can also advise you with tools such as tracking markers when you have camera movement that will need to be matched later.

Step 4 : Maintenance

The effectiveness of a greenscreen depends on it being completely monochromatic. So, you will need to take care of your greenscreens, as they will be affected by wear and tear as the days go by. For fabric greenscreens, keep people from walking on them and keep them neatly folded in a bag during transportation. If you are on a studio greenscreen, you cannot keep everyone off of the vast space. So, bring layout board to cover the floor between shots. Also bring some extra paint to paint over the inevitable scuffing that will happen.

Greenscreen shooting will require some forward thinking on your part. Plan ahead and keep your mind on the end results to get full use of this tool.

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