How to get the most out of your green screen.
Shooting a green screen scene can be simple, but it’s important to pay attention to some key details to ensure that the chroma key effect can work as intended.
“My number-one tip for using a green screen is to make sure you’ve got a very large one,” Dougan recommends. “You want to make sure it’s covering everything in the background, because if not, you’re going to have to mask out little corners of your screen. And you want to make sure it’s very evenly lit, or else it’s going to look really bad.”
While any surface that’s the right green color will work for chroma key, some are more cooperative than others. “You can use a blanket; you can use any sort of green material,” Dougan says. “But please make sure that you remove any wrinkles if you are using a foldable material. Because if there are wrinkles, they will create deep shadows, which you’ll have to spend time trying to mask out.”
If actors are standing too close to the green screen during filming, green-tinged light reflecting onto them from the screen can lead to an error in the chroma key process called spilling, when the composited background image begins to bleed onto the actor’s body. “For that, I use a tool in Premiere Pro called Spill Suppression,” Dougan says. “It’s able to desaturate the color range and help you with spill cleanup.”
Whether you’re using it to change the time of day or transport your actors to another world, chroma key is a dynamic and affordable piece of movie magic.