Making Your Own Green Screen

When making a video, a green screen is normally used to replace the background. The flat color makes it easier for the video editor or post production crew to replace the background afterwards. A green screen is commonly found with larger production companies because of the cost. The following steps will help filmmakers create their own green screen effect without the need to spend a large amount on resources.

Step 1: Planning the Stage

Before creating a green screen, it is important to look for a space which has enough room for the background. Consider all of the possible shots that can be done in the space, and determine the amount of background necessary to achieve the shots. The background and green screen should be large enough to accommodate any changes in the setup and position of the camera. There should also be enough space for lights to be placed around the green screen. This will also determine the budget needed for the project.

Step 2: Creating the Screen

There are several options for creating a green screen. As long as the surface is smooth and green, it can be made into a green screen. A number of companies and Internet sites offer specialist materials made for green screens, but these can be expensive. Some of the more popular but cheaper alternatives include cardboard and wood or fabric painted green. Foam can also be used, but can also be expensive. With using solid materials, such as wood or cardboard, the advantage is that the surface is smooth and consistent. However, these can be difficult to move from one place to another.

Select paint which has been designed specifically for green screens to achieve the effect. Fabric can provide more options. Choose a fabric type which is not too reflective as this can create hotspots. A crease-resistant fabric is ideal to create a smooth and consistent surface. Heavy fabric can also provide a good surface and shields elements placed behind the screen from being seen. However, this type can also be more prone to creases. With using fabric, it is important that there are no creases. Iron the fabric if possible. Create a frame using wood or stands with rails mounted in between. Make sure that the fabric is attached tightly to the frames to remove any minor crease and shadowed areas. A screen made from wood is heavier and will require a sturdier frame to stand.

Step 3: Providing Light

The light should be consistent and even throughout the screen to achieve the effect. At least two lights are required, preferably more to achieve a more even shade. Diffusion filters can be useful as these help in providing a greater amount of even lighting while reducing shadows. Experiment with different combinations and positions to achieve the most consistent and even lighting effect. One this is done, the light for the subjects can be added. As the additional lighting fixture may cast shadows on the screen, it will be necessary to adjust the positions of the lights and filters again to achieve the best arrangements.