The beauty of the green screen is that it can allow you to create dramatic adventure movies full of mythical creatures indoors.
But you don’t have to go that far…
Or you can whip out your screen during a regular skype meeting and simply transport yourself to the beach.
Green screen revolutionized the film and video industry because it allows viewers and creators alike to travel to unimaginable places.
Today, you can create amazing video content from the comfort of your home. All you need is good lighting, a camera, some video editing skills, and a solid background.
Professional background designers are the unsung heroes of art, and you would benefit from having one of these experts on your team.
In this article, you will learn about the history of the green screen and a list of applications that support this feature.
What is Green Screen?
The technical name for green screen is chroma key (chroma being the Greek name for color). This visual technique has existed since 1940 when Larry Butler used it to create the fantasy film The Thief of Baghdad.
The green screen then made a debut in a 1988 animation called Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Both of these films won awards for best special effects.
Chroma key enabled filmmakers to completely remove the background of a subject and replace the area with different clips.
Even corporate video production agencies are aboard the ship, using the green screen to create stunning visuals for their clients. Video ads have come a long way since the invention of this technology.
Let’s break this down into several questions:
The very first time chroma key was used, the background was blue instead of green.
Bright green is the furthest color from the human skin tone, making it easy to remove in post-production.
With time, producers and filmmakers realized that the color blended with the blue eyes and blue jeans of the actors, making them disappear into the background.
The solution; to use the color green because people are less likely to wear this color.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say an actor has to dye their hair green, or they really just like this particular green jacket.
The actual solution: The background should be of a different color than that of the subject.
Chroma key is often called ‘green screen’ or ‘blue screen’ because these are the most widely used colors used to eliminate video background. However, you can use any solid background that contrasts with the subject.
So if you are still asking why the color green? It all comes back to the argument that green is not used as much as other colors. Besides, bright green is the furthest color from the human skin tone, making it easy to remove in post-production.
Side note: Blue screens tend to be ideal for night scenes.
Advantages of Chroma Key
There are various reasons why video marketers and filmmakers are joining the green screen wave. The technology is widely accessible, and it is growing more sophisticated by the day.
Here are more reasons to use chroma key:
It allows for the creation of impossible scenes with limitless possibilities.
If you want to shoot a superhero movie and you are wondering how to make them fly, chroma key is the answer. Want to transport your actors or subject to outer space or to another place in time? You already know!
Getting two different shots together
You can also use chroma key to blend two different frames and make it look like it is the same shot. This comes in handy when one actor isn’t able to come to set. The show must go on, and with green screen technology, this is actually possible.
Seeing an actor crawling into a toxic tour or going into a den of lions is thrilling, but there is no way to do these things without consequence, hence the green screen.
You can simulate explosions and other dangerous scenarios without much effort. You just need to have really good actors who can sell the story.
Having a solid and contrasting background allows you to increase or reduce images as you please without affecting their quality. Remember, you don’t need a green screen to extract the background from your videos, having one simply makes it easier.
Essentials of Green Screens
It used to be that the green screen was ‘reserved’ for high budget films and multi-million-dollar blockbusters.
Today, even an amateur video creator with a smartphone can use this effect to create a social media video.
Here is how:
You can buy a green screen kit or use a DIY kit.
There are various types of green screen kits that you can get online, and they range from $40 to the most expensive being around $420.
These green screen kits include:
You Tube Kits
These kits come with a green screen cloth backdrop, lights with stands, light diffusion, backdrop stands, clamps, support bars, and a carrying case.
This particular green screen won’t match up to the ones used for professional shoots, but it is a good place to start.
Pop-Up Green Screen
The pop-up design is collapsible. The backdrop becomes taut when expanded, leaving no room for wrinkles. You don’t want wrinkles on your green screen.
If you are going to make a green screen kit yourself, you will need a solid background, lights, and stands.
Can Any Regular Green Cloth Work?
You can get fabric from a craft store, but pay attention to the material.
- A heavy fabric will give good coverage and hang nicely, but it is prone to wrinkles.
- Lighter and stretchy fabrics will be wrinkle-free, but will not have nice coverage like the heavier materials. You can use clothespins, thumbtacks, and wire nails to mount your green screen.
- And then there are the shiny materials like satin which reflect light and create unwanted spots on your background.
The perfect color for a solid background is a bright green, almost neon green.
You could also use a foam poster board
They are smaller but they do the work, especially if you are working within a small space. Don’t get the glossy ones, they reflect too much light.
If you have a spare room, you can paint one of the walls green and use it as your green screen. Matte paint is perfect since it doesn’t reflect much light, but it is harder to clean.
Pay Attention to Lighting
When it comes to DIY lighting, the best light to use is the natural light – the sun. Shoot during mid-day when the light is plenty.
And don’t let a cloudy day discourage you from using your green screen because that’s when the shadows are less.
Setting up Green Screen
Here are some helpful tips for setting up a green or blue screen room:
- Always have some makeup on standby in case you need to add color on the subject.
The green background tends to make actors look pale on camera.
- This might be obvious, but no green clothing should be on the set.
You don’t want your subjects to blend into the background. Big jewelry items also tend to reflect the green color of the background. You can minimize this by controlling the lighting angles.
- You might want to go for a well-sized green screen that covers the wall running down all the way to the floor.
This allows you to cover your subject from head to toe. Remember to always clean your green screen and smoothen it out so as to maintain a consistent color gradient.
When it comes to lighting, there are more than few rules to observe:
The green screen background should be lit on its own. Having a six feet distance between the subject and the green screen background is advised to avoid the subject casting shadows on the background. The more the lighting is, the easier it is to manipulate the subject.
Try to achieve even, soft, and consistent lighting.
Keep the camera still.
Having a tripod might help with this. Using the zoom feature with the green screen can be a little tricky as the subject will look like they are growing or shrinking in relation to the background.
Finally, use green screen software that is familiar to you and works for you in terms of budget, editing skills, and user experience.
Replacing Video Background on Your Phone
If you don’t want to set up a background manually, there are apps that come with a preinstalled chroma key feature.
In this app, you can choose from a variety of backgrounds like homogenous blue or green. You can customize these backgrounds by changing their hardness, brightness or transparency.
The only disadvantage of using this app is that it does not have a special green palette for the green screen background, and if you are using the free version, your videos will have the Kinemaster watermark.
Chroma Key Studio Pro
The downside is that this app is only available for iOS devices and that its features are limited which can be frustrating for professionals. Other than that, it’s quite easy and fast to use the green screen feature.
Green Screen Studio
This app is also for iOS. It allows you to interchange monochromatic backgrounds with a different background of your choice. You can get this app for $5.
With all these tips you are now ready to create that alien, or adventure movie, or out of space music video that you have been talking about. It might seem very complicated at first, but the green screen opens a door to unlimited realities.
Green screen brings a personalized touch to your videos because it allows you to transport your viewers to another world.
From PowerPoint presentations to instructional videos, the green screen dominates.
If you feel stuck, reach out to the expert video editors on Bunny Studio.