What is a green screen and why use one? “Green screening” is a technique of photographing or filming a subject against a green monochrome photo backdrop. The green screen image can then be replaced with a different photography background image processed by utilizing a special color filter. Real world examples include the backdrops used in movies to film action scenes. In addition, you will see newscasts that have a colorful background behind the newscasters but if you were actually in the studio, you would see a green screen behind them and not the colorful background. The good news is that you can find good green screen backdrops for less than $50. Green screen combo kits with equipment including a backdrop stand and some basic photo studio lighting are available for less than $150. If you are on a tight budget, you could construct one using a special Chroma Key paint that has the optimal shade of green. To expedite and assure professional photographic results, the green photography background and photographic accessories are readily available from Amazon.
Many people today are seeing the value of using a green screen backdrop in their YouTube video productions, as well as their “still” photography. Once the photo background obtained, here are the steps you will go through to ensure you are getting the production value you desire:
- Setup your Green Screen – it is important to hang your background screen on a smooth wall or on a backdrop stand that displays evenly and covers the entire background of your photo “shoot”. You want to make sure there are not any wrinkles in your green screen. Many of the green screens you can buy online are wrinkle-free and that is something I l would look for in my search.
- Placement of your Lighting – you typically will want between 2 to 4 studio lights that are powerful enough to illuminate your filming area evenly. Many of the kits today include the lights and I would recommend purchasing a combo kit that includes lighting. If not included, you will want to buy a continuous “Softbox” lighting kit. Test your photography lighting to assure there are no shadows created. Diffusers can help solve any problem areas.
- Start Filming or Taking Photographs – again, make certain there are not any shadows or distorted areas. Be sure and review or “proof” your photos, because sometimes the green background can create distortion, especially on clothing and facial areas. If you are filming, I recommend hooking up a television or monitor to make sure everything looks great. Sometimes, it helps to have a second set of eyes helping you just in case.
- Experiment with Special Effects – photography software will allow experiments with special effects. If you have a Mac, you can use iMovie and it is included in most newer Mac computers. If you have an older Mac, the iMovie app is available for $15. MS Windows Machines include Windows Movie Maker. For Photos, you can use Photoshop. The different video and photography backgrounds you can use with a green screen backdrop is virtually limitless. As you get comfortable with the software tools available, you can really start to experiment and make some high-quality professional videos and photos.
The Green Screen is a very powerful Photo Backdrop and by learning the basics, you can really add some cool special effects to your photos and videos.