Shooting on a green screen background gives you the freedom to transport your video to the limits of your imagination – even if you, like the rest of us, are working remotely! Basically, a green screen allows you to superimpose or “key-in” any type of video, photo, or animated video in the background of your video (frequent Zoom users may already be aware of its “Virtual Background” feature, which utilizes the same principle). Your video can travel through time and space. Be whisked away to Times Square, Hawaii, a Texan ranch, or even Delaware!
But how do you choose what to put in the background? How do you ensure that the green screen video looks seamless and not fake? Excellent questions!
A good green screen video starts with a laser focus on lighting. Light your set evenly so that there is balanced light across the frame. Space your subject and the green screen as far apart as possible to avoid shadows – around 6 ft would be ideal. Keep a matte box handy to keep out any unwanted light. Light your subject and the green screen separately to avoid any mixing.
If you want to make the most realistic green screen effect, you’ll have to adjust your camera settings accordingly. The ISO setting should be low, and set it to the highest quality recording format. Set your aperture to f4 or similar to increase your depth of field. Also, ensure that there is minimal motion blur in the shot. All these steps will ensure an ideal chromakey.
The final tip for green screen shooting is a simple one: be aware of any shadows or shiny objects in your footage. Check the gate, once, twice, and three times before calling it a cut. Leave reflectors out of your shoot and make sure your actors don’t wear anything shiny. Tell the makeup department to leave the glitter at home that day.
Filming on green screen gives you the luxury of introducing fantasy into an otherwise ordinary shoot. The results, if done right following the above 3 steps, can be absolutely mind blowing.