Working with Green Screen Software

For filmmakers, green screen and green screen software opens a large number of options to unleash their creativity. The use of a green screen and related software allows them to recreate new worlds and environments without having to travel far or spend a large sum of money to achieve the effect. There are a number of computer programs available on the market which deal with the use of a green screen. Here are a few basic steps in using these types of software.

Step 1: Create a Green Screen

Before a filmmaker can effectively replace the background and achieve the desired effect using green screen software, the subject and green screen must be setup correctly. In order to make it work, the green screen must remain flat. This makes it easier to remove during the post production or video editing process. Green screens are normally used in big productions or projects which have large budget allocations.

For film projects with smaller budgets, there are cheaper alternatives. Some of the more popular materials commonly used in screens include paper, cardboard, fabric, wood and even a painted wall. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Avoid materials and surfaces that are reflective, as these produce white spots. Except in the case of a wall, some form of framing is essential to prop the screen tight.

Step 2: Light the Subject

Similar to flat screen, lighting is important. The light must be flat and consistent, to make the removal of the background much easier during the editing process. Make sure that there are no bright or dark spots. With adding the subject, make sure that the lights do not cast shadows onto the screen. Further adjustments on the lighting and distance may be required to achieve the best compromise.

Step 3: Load the Video

Once the screen has been set up and the scene evenly lit, the scene is ready to be shot and videotaped. Afterwards, the video can be captured or imported onto the computer system. Some video editing tools make the capture process much easier for editors by incorporating it into the features. Place the video on the timeline or storyboard.

Step 4: Replace the Background

The process of removing the background differs depending on the type of program. Professional non-linear video editing programs have a chroma key filter or a similar feature available. The filter or effect can be placed on top of the video. Adjust the settings to ensure that all of the background is removed. In other video editing programs, once the video is loaded, the program looks for the green background and makes it transparent.

The background can then be replaced with any video or image that the filmmaker wishes to achieve the effect. Make sure that the lighting on the background and foreground match with each other.

Step 5: Save the Final Video

After replacing the background, the editor can add other effects and filters to finish the video. Once complete, the edited sequence can be saved and exported onto a different file type which can be played on other computer systems, devices or online.