Professional Chroma Key Equipment at Amateur Prices
A chroma key equipment can be used for green screen or blue screen effects depending on its type. Chroma key is known as green screen effects because the green background is completely replaced. Green is best because it is the most different from the color of human skin. It is possible to get professional equipment and create professional green screen effects without breaking the bank.
Step 1: Shop Around
As with any type of shopping, it is important to do a little research and shop around. Compare what different shops and individuals are offering and how the prices vary. See if any discounts or sales can be applied. Also look into used equipment, as it is possible to get great pieces of equipment for low prices.
Step 2: Key Pieces
When on a budget, start with the few key pieces that are absolutely necessary. As your filmmaking progresses and more money can be used for equipment, then replace and augment what you currently have. Having a decent camera and a few key lighting pieces will quickly eat up a small budget.
Step 3: The Green Screen
This backdrop is one of the most important parts and can be found in several ways. These screens can be rented or bought for as little as $25. However, the larger the green screen, the greater the cost. It is also possible to make your own professional green screen by purchasing fabric or using green paint. Get creative with your budget, as there are many low cost options for the actual green screen for very affordable prices. If the budget can stretch far enough, converting an entire room to chroma key is best. Seal up all the doors and other joints and paint the entire room green.
Step 4: Lighting
Lighting is possibly the most expensive part of chroma key. Different lights are needed and a full professional set can cost thousands. However, the minimum amount of lights that are needed are 2; one from the backlight and one for screen illumination. To keep costs down, look into purchasing used lights or renting them. If you are planning on doing a large amount of green screen and shooting, then investing in good quality lights is an excellent choice. A lighting tree is excellent, as it is easy to add additional lights further on in the future.
Step 5: Bulbs
There are 2 main things to think of with the bulbs; the power and heat that is generated. Having several different watt options is a good idea. Normally, the fill and key light should be 1000 watts. If diffusion materials and filters will be used, then a less powerful light is best, as the bulb may melt the filter material. Good quality light bulbs are inexpensive, and it is best to have several spares on hand. Bulbs can be purchased at your local hardware store.
Step 6: Software
Good video editing software can take care of a lot of problems with green screen. There are even some programs that can do chroma key that are free. Chroma key is available in almost all video editing software, so your existing program may already contain the features needed.