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How to Make Flying Special Effects with Green Screen

Learn how to use a green screen to show your subject launch off the ground and fly through the air.

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Video Transcript

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We’ve already looked at a lot of green screen tips and this time, we’re gonna take a look at some of the more advanced ones when we look at the magic of flight. First off, we’re gonna take a look at how you actually launch and then, we’re gonna take a look at the actual act of flying through the air while using a green screen. I’m Tom Skowronski and this is advanced green screen tricks.

The first step is gonna be to light the green screen and light your subject. You’re gonna wanna make sure that your subject and the props that you’re gonna use are gonna stand at least four to six feet away from the green screen, so, again, the green screen will stay lit evenly and you won’t develop any shadows on the screen so you can pull off a proper effect.

Step number two is to frame up your subject in a manner where you cut off the lower portion of their body. The reason we’re doing this is because we’re not in a Hollywood studio and we don’t have wires, so we can’t shoot the entire body as a whole or else our illusion will be broken because we’ll realize that the subject is actually standing on their tippy toes, which is not the best for this type of effect. We want to make it look like they’re flying, so we’re gonna have to frame up our subject in a manner where we cut away that portion of their body so we’re note distracted when we’re doing our effect.

When we do this effect, what we’re gonna do is have our subject bend down and bounce upwards and, in order to pull this off completely, we need to make sure that we don’t actually see the subject not leaving from the ground, which is why we’re cutting off the lower third and the lower portion of their body.

Step number three is gonna come by way of two options we’re gonna do at the same time. We’re gonna make sure that our subject is selling the effect in time with us off camera, bringing the fan down as she goes through her motion. And when this happens, our effect looks very clean because we made sure to time out the launch with the wind from the fan hitting her face, which makes it look like she’s actually flying through the air at an alarming rate of speed.

Now, the key to pulling off this step is to make sure that when you’re off camera, you bring the fan downwards so that, as the subject’s going up, it looks like she actually is competing with the wind and has some resistance as she’s flying through the air.

The final process to pulling off this effect is to go back into your editing program. In our case, we’re gonna be using After Effects, and make sure that you insert video into the background that’s gonna complement what your subject is doing in front of the camera. In our case, we wanted to make it look very fast. And so, what we did is put fast clouds that are going downwards as our subject moves up into the air.

Now, in order to actually fly on camera, you need to make sure that you have a nice prop that you can have somebody lay on. It can be a stool. It can be a bench. It can be a chair. It could be anything that you could frame out of the shot later on or cover with a green screen. We only have one green screen, so we’re not gonna use it to cover our prop. We’re just gonna frame it out, which is actually step number two.

Now, one of the most important parts of this next step is to make sure that when we frame up our subject, we cut out our prop or else it’s gonna completely destroy the effect. We need to make sure that our props support our subject and stay stable or else our effect isn’t gonna work and this is why we need to make sure we frame out that prop from the shot because then everybody’s gonna know how we set it up.

Now, that we’ve framed up our subject correctly, it makes room for our next step, which is bringing in the fan and putting it directly under our camera to blow wind into the subject’s hair and along their face. This works especially well if they have loose clothing because we can see it flailing in the wind and it sells our effect even better. Now, although it’s good to make sure that your subject is wearing loose clothing, you need to make sure you have a fan that’s powerful enough so that if the subject has a necklace hanging or anything that’s extremely loose, that has a lot of weight to it, that it’s actually blowing in the wind. If it’s not, you need to make sure that those things are either removed or taped down so that they don’t destroy the effect you’re trying to create. Again, as we learned prior, we need to make sure that our subject sells the effect and make sure that they’re reacting to the wind that’s blowing in their direction. If they’re flying, they need to act like they’re flying. So, the next step is selling the effect.

The last part of this process involves matching the location once again. So, we need to make sure that if our subject is moving forward in front of the camera, that the background is actually moving away from the camera. So, this sells the effect that the person is flying through the air and they’re flying in a certain direction. If we don’t do this, our effect will be broken.

Even though you don’t have a motion picture or a big budget to work on at home and you may have a limited amount of resources, you can still apply these tips when creating your own green screen effects.

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