The Art of Green Screen Shooting

video production Chicago

Green Screen Tips At Our Video Production Chicago Base

Whether shooting at our video production Chicago base or elsewhere, we have skillfully incorporated green screen shooting technology into a number of our clients’ videos.

The benefits of shooting against a green screen are numerous, allowing for flexibility in handling more than one location, the quick and efficient set up and take down of a set, and maximum control when it comes to branding. Creatively, the possibilities are pretty much endless, with writers and conceptually strong producers able to brainstorm some truly zany ideas and see them brought to life.

Unfortunately, a green screen shoot can go awry if not properly managed. Like shooting in a regular studio or shooting outdoors, each scenario should be treated differently, with a unique set of parameters that can guide the process. The art of effective green screen shooting is much the same.

First off, should you be using a green screen or a blue screen? The former is the most popular for Chroma keying, with video camera sensors being most responsive to this hue. In one or two examples, such as shooting a person with blonde hair, blue is more effective – but across a broad range of shooting scenarios, green is the key.

One of the basics is ensuring an even-colored green screen, free of any bulges or bumps, which can cause shadows. The ‘even’ theme continues when it comes to lighting; here, the right equipment will help to ensure that your screen is free of shadows or distracting hot spots. It’s worth remembering that it will be nearly impossible to pull a decent key from a green screen that is inadequately lit. The green screen should also be lit with two lights, one from each side, and your subject should be lit separately. Ultimately, how you choose to light your screen and subject will also be determined by how much space you have, your equipment and what it is that you are shooting.

Once your subject has taken his or her place in front of your even-colored and lit screen, you’ll want to be sure to avoid any spill, whereby some green is visible around the edges of your subject. You can avoid this by not placing your subject too close to the screen itself – 6 to 10 feet in front of the screen is ideal. A more detailed approach would be to add hue and saturation to your clip, single out the green color you’d like to suppress, and then simply drop its saturation. Chroma key plugins like Keylight also have a variety of tools to counter any spilling.

With all of these guidelines, you’ll notice the importance of attention to detail. The same holds true for camera angles and with green screen, the tendency is to shoot the subject staring straight ahead to camera. However, if your budget and equipment allows, green screen shoots should be treated as any other – your shoot should be preceded by a storyboard, and camera angles chosen carefully to best tell the story at hand. Props can also play a vital role in making your shoot appear as natural as possible, so try to give your model things to interact with.

Green screen shooting can excite, thrill, entertain and engage like few other production techniques. By paying close attention to these basic principles, you’ll get the most out of your shoot.


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