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green screen

Happy National Star Wars Day! We’re big fans of the franchise around here— see evidence below. One thing Key West Video and Star Wars has in common is a love of green screen. Lucasfilm uses the technology to create other-worldly scenery, while we use it to create top-notch corporate videos.

green screen
The boss makes friends with a Stormtrooper

How Does Green Screen Work?

Green screen, also known as chromakey, has been around since the 1930s. It works by isolating and removing a single colour, typically bright green. This area can then be replaced with another image without affecting the rest of the video or film. This replacement can be done live or in editing.

green screen
The surface should be smooth for best results

Typically, backgrounds are painted green in a studio setting. However, objects can also be green-screened. Paper or fabric can be used, as long as the surface is smooth and wrinkle-free for the best effect. Although this may seem obvious, it’s important to make sure nobody is wearing the same green on set to avoid disappearing pants and dancing shirts. Or a pepperoni pizza-covered Queen.

Green screen provides a blank canvass and the green areas can be replaced with video, graphics or still images. Backgrounds can be generated in-house or purchased. There are even some free resources that can be found online. If you’re going for a realistic background, try to include some movement. For example, if your replacement image includes a window, a tree that’s moving a little in the wind makes the whole picture more believable.

Dos and Dont’s

Shooting green screen is a little different from shooting regular video. Lighting is the most important component of green screen. Good, even lighting across the entire area resulting in one consistent colour is essential. Shadows are verboten. Most set-ups light the background and then the actor.

There are some things to avoid when using this technique. We already talked about keeping green out of the talent’s wardrobe, but they should also avoid wearing anything reflective or sparkly. Hair can sometimes be an issue, too. Yellow is close to green, and that means blonde hair can cause problems on-set. Lighting may need to be adjusted if this happens.

Why is Green Screen Green?

America Luigi shoots in our studio

Green isn’t the only colour used to create green screen. Blue is also used and even grey can be an option. Both green and blue are good choices because no skin tone has that element. Still, green remains the most popular choice to avoid possibly keying out blue eyes.

Making Magic

If you’re curious about using green screen for a project, give us a call for a free quote. Our studio is always green screen ready and we love to have a hand in video transformations.

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