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We’ve already looked at a few different aspects when it comes to chroma keying. This time, we’re gonna take a look at the green screen pre-production process. First up, is actually setting up the screen and getting it ready for your production. Next up, we’re gonna take a look at the lighting. After that, we’re gonna take a look at some common areas and the simple fixes behind them. And, lastly, we’re gonna take a look at selling the effect. I’m Tom Skowronski and this is green screen set up.
Now, the first aspect to setting up the green screen is to make sure that it’s pulled tight and that you have no holes or ripples in the screen so you don’t damage the effect. Now, one of the main things I wanna be looking for before I begin this process is the amount of space that I have available.
Now, this green screen was brought to us by Rosco and you can see that it’s a very thin fabric, yet it’s very stretchable and this is the type of fabric you’re gonna wanna use, something that’s very flexible, that you can stretch very tight. So, this is a very good green screen that we have today.
I wanna have enough head room and I want to have enough room to my sides and enough room to the floor so that I’m entirely covered with the green screen. Now, if we’re gonna put something above my head, off to the right, below me, behind me, everything’s gonna work because we have enough space in this area. So, now that I have everything set up, a key thing that I’m gonna be looking at in step number two, and that’s the lighting process.
Now, when it comes to setting up the lights, one of the main things that we need to stay consistent with is to make sure that the green screen is lit evenly. So, both of our lights need to stay in the same distance from the screen and hit the screen with the same amount of intensity. Now, we’re gonna pretend that we have an invisible line that lines up both of these lights so that when they do hit this screen, they hit ‘em at the same exact spot and make sure that they’re even.
Now, when you look at our small hallway of a studio, you can see that there’s also two big soft lights right here and what those lights are gonna do is light the talent and these lights are gonna stick to the screen. So, to make sure you pull off this set up properly, you need to have separate lighting when it comes to the subject and the screen.
Step number three involves those errors that all of us are gonna encounter and how to fix them. The first one is the distance a subject should stand from the screen. In most cases, you’re gonna wanna be at least four to six feet away from the screen so that you don’t develop a shadow that hits the screen. If this happens, your effect won’t work because one side of the screen is gonna be darker than the other.
Another common error, believe it or not, is the fact that people wear the same color shirt that they’re trying to key out behind them. So, if I have a green screen, wearing a green shirt is probably not the best option unless that’s the desired effect I’m intending to do.
Another idea you should always consider is the idea of perspective. For example, if I was shooting a subject interviewing people at a distance from the camera, chances are I would need to make sure I frame them up originally when the green screen’s behind them with the same idea in mind. Otherwise, if we use the standard medium shot, they would look too big and wouldn’t match locations with the background.
Now, another part of this process comes with how you light the subject. When you light your talent, you need to make sure that you’re lighting them according to the background that’s gonna be inserted behind them. For example, if you put your subject in the center of a church, chances are you’re gonna have a lot of big lights coming down from big windows. So, you’re gonna want to light them accordingly or else the effect is not gonna work.
The last part of this process is you need to make sure you sell the effect. So, when it comes to what’s behind you, the person in front of that needs to react to it accordingly. For example, to properly sell this effect, you want to interact with the subject that’s behind you.
Once you understand how the simple green screen setup process works, you can finally turn on your imagination and enter the virtual world.
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