Basics Techniques for Perfect Green Screen Effects

A common, popular effect used by professional filmmakers is the green screen, but it’s something that has become accessible for filmmakers at all levels. The things you’ll need to get started with green screen filmmaking are:

  • A good camera & tripod
  • A green screen
  • Lights
  • A computer with editing and green screen software

Once you’ve assembled these, there are a few things to be aware of that will help you make the most of a green screen.

Become Familiar with the Software

What is the software capable of? You’ll want to know this before you embark on using the green screen. This will help you, as what you decide to attempt will probably be colored by what is possible. Are you able to shoot an epic battle scene? Maybe you can, but maybe you can’t. Nonetheless, you may find areas where you can experiment. Push the boundaries. You’ll learn what the software will do and what it won’t.

The Screen

You can use a green screen or a blue screen. It may be determined by the software. Some software works better with different colors. You can make your own screen with fabric or sheets – just make certain that you get the right shades (check them online), as it can make a difference. Remember that your talent cannot wear the same color as the background screen.

Plan It Carefully

If you want to place your talent in a foreign country, think about all that goes with it. Do you want your talent to move through the other background? Realize that you have to plan not only their action, but the lighting that goes with it. If you’re planning a camera movement, the movement of the background you’re adding will have to move at the same pace (this can be tricky, but do multiple takes at different speeds.)

Light Evenly

The best lighting for blue or green screens is sunlight. Other than that, with studio lights, make sure your background screen is lit evenly. Shadows will show up on your composited background. Your talent needs to be well lit from the front, and lightly lit from with a backlight to distinguish talent from the background screen. If the backlight is too strong, your talent will have a halo around them. If you want motion (particularly motion across the screen), you’ll need to make sure you light it so that it doesn’t cast shadows and is evenly lit throughout the frame.

Once you’ve done it, make sure it’s what you want. Think about whether you’re really willing to settle for something less than what you wanted. Don’t be afraid to do it again. In Hollywood, they’re willing to do it till they get it right. You don’t see all the shots that didn’t work. You only see the one that did. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.