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Create Top Special Effects with Outdoor Green Screen

How to use a green screen outdoors for chromakey. Learn about the lighting, obstacles and proper usage of the elements outdoors to add to the effect.

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Video Transcript

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Sometimes, you end up confined to a very small area and you need to work with the elements that you have available to you. That’s why, this time, we’re gonna take a look at outdoor green screen. The first thing we’re gonna look at is the actual advantages and disadvantages to this process. The next thing we’re gonna take a look at is the materials you need to pull off this effect. After that, we’re gonna take a look at setting up the screen and, finally, we’re gonna take a look at the actual lighting process when it comes to a green screen. I’m Tom Skowronski and this is outdoor green screen.

Now, when it comes to the amount of space you use when shooting a green screen, nothing compares to being outdoors. Not all of us have access to a big studio. Most of us are shooting these videos in our living rooms, right? Well, now, if we go outdoors, we’re not longer limited to all that space and we have all the space we could possibly need.

Now, another advantage when it comes to using a green screen outdoors is the fact that you can actually light the screen, especially around noon, very easily. The light is directly overhead and there’s no shadows behind you, and you actually have a hair light. And if you just take two reflectors, it’s actually much cheaper on your wallet. The disadvantage to the fact is that you can’t control the sun.

Now, the biggest disadvantage when it comes to outdoor video, in general, is the fact that there’s elements you can’t control. With our audio, we have birds, we have kids running around. There’s a lot of craziness that is just not in our control, where if we were in the studio environment, we would be able to completely control.

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Now, the next step in pulling off a green screen effect outdoors is to make sure that you have the right material to do so and that the materials you have fit each individual, unique situation you might run into outdoors.

Now, the first material we’re gonna talk about is paper. One of the main benefits to paper is the fact that it’s cheap and it’s relatively easy to find. On the other hand, when you’re shooting outdoors, you run into wind and this becomes a problem when it comes to paper because it tends to crinkle up and when that happens, you end up with your shadows on your screen, which is, again, gonna break the illusion.

Now, another material that you can use is gonna be cloth. It’s very similar to paper, except the price range is gonna go up a little bit and the main advantage here is that it’s not gonna crinkle as easily as paper would.

There’s two more materials we’re gonna look at. One is the actual use of a wall, so making sure you’re taping either your cloth or your paper to the back of the wall, or if you have a wall you could paint green, that’s even better. Now, on the other hand, you could always use a board and a board is very stiff, which makes it very useful outdoors because it doesn’t’ compete with the wind.

Now, the next thing we’re gonna talk about is actually setting up the screen. You could use C stands. You could use a frame built out of PVC pipe and you can even use the wall. But, to dive more in depth real quick, when it comes to the C stands, the good part is when you’re outdoors, you have enough space, so it doesn’t matter how big your screen is, you could always use the C stands and set ‘em as far apart as you need to be. Now, when it comes to building your own frame, you could also use PCV pipe. Now, the main disadvantage here is that it’s gonna take a lot more time and patience on your behalf when it comes to creating your own frame. And lastly, you could always use the addition of a wall to save on expenses. Basically, when you use a wall, all you really need to do is tape the green screen to it and it’s gonna, obviously, block the wind that’s coming from behind it.

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Now, the last step to this process is to make sure you light your screen accurately outdoors, so this is gonna follow the same rules we’ve already applied. Basically, we’re gonna need to make sure that we separate our subject from the background. We need to separate them and give them the distance from the screen so we don’t end up with shadows behind them. The other thing we’re gonna need to do is make sure that we light everybody up and we light our green screen up with the use of some reflectors, just like we’re inside a studio. We’re gonna replicate that same environment.

So, as you can see, it doesn’t matter if you’re indoors or outdoors, as long as you follow these simple tips, you, yourself, can change the environment in any way you like.

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Robert Pancake's picture

Awesome tutorial, I have found that lighting a green screen outdoors is much more forgiving than indoors. There is a great video around that shows how outdoor green screens are used in TV and film for amazing effects. Thanks for making this tut, Robert

Robert ----------------------------------------------------------- - Animated backgrounds for green screen video productions