Green screen studios are an amazing way to create environments that are not there when filming. With a green screen, you can create new backgrounds, add effects, or even include animation in your scene. Best of all, green screens are easy to create, even if you’re on a budget! By getting the right materials, setting it up carefully, choosing your shots, and mastering the digital element of green screen productions, you can transport your actors, and your audience, anywhere in the world!
Part 1 – getting the equipment
Choose a room with a bare wall. Your green screen studio needs one flat, a spare wall and a clear space around it. Choose a spare room and remove all furniture and clutter. You’ll be hanging your green screen on the bare wall, so make sure the room is long enough that you can film. If possible, choose a larger room, so you have more space for acting and camera work.
Purchase green screen paper for a cheaper option. The cheapest way to set up a temporary green screen is to buy neon-coloured construction paper. You can tape, tack, or glue your construction paper to a wall, and set your scene in front of it. If you need to cover a whole wall, you can tape multiple poster boards together using clear packing tape.
Use green cloth for irregularly-shaped spaces. Iron the cloth before setting it up, in order to remove any wrinkles that might cast shadows on your space. Then, drape your cloth from the wall. If necessary, pin it to the floor, in order to prevent wrinkling or distortion as your actors move around.
Paint your studio if you have a permanent space. If you plan on using your green screen frequently, and you’re filming in a space you can paint, consider purchasing green screen paint. You can purchase speciality-made green screen paint online, or purchase regular paint that is the same tone. The following shades work well for green screen studios:
- BEHR Sparkling Apple, Deep Base #13
- Sikkens RAP 6018, Chromakey
Purchase a professional-grade video camera for the best effect. Use whatever camera you already own if you are on a budget, or purchase a new camera online or at an electronics store. Your camera will dictate the quality of the project but choose a camera that is within your budget. Find a camera with digital recording so that you can bring the content onto a computer and edit the video in post-production.
- If you use a professional-grade camera the image quality will be better and the green screen effect will be more realistic.
Part 2 – setting up the space
Hang the green screen material on a wall. Use tacks or pins to anchor the green screen material to the wall. Smooth out any wrinkles on the cloth or paper keeping the material taut when hanging it, pulling it as tight as possible. Make a distinct crease where the green screen meets the bottom of the wall, pinning it down with tacks, too.
- If the green screen is not pulled tightly there will be shadows throughout the screen and the image you use in post-production will be distorted.
- If you do not plan to record or photograph your subject’s lower body, you will not need to let the green screen fall to the floor.
Set up your three-point lighting. The best way to make sure your lighting is even, and make green screen filming easier down the road is to set up three-point lighting. To do that, have one light facing the subject, and then organize the other two lights so they form a triangle. This enables you to provide illumination from the sides and reduces the number of shadows your lights create!
Match your lighting to your scenario. Your entire green screen should be one consistent shade of green. However, make sure you also match your foreground lighting to the background image you’ll be adding to the frame in post-production. This will help your green-screened image look more natural.
- If your background image is on a bright beach, create a bright, even light setting.
- If your background image is set in a dark cave, try matching your foreground lighting to this environment by diffusing the light more.
- If you are using more than two lights, be sure to distribute the other lights equally apart as well, avoiding particularly bright spots or inconsistencies.
- Consider using an extra light source to light the subject of your project, setting the light source far away to maintain consistent, even lighting.
Avoid green clothing or jewellery. Make sure your actors aren’t wearing anything green since the video editing software might try to replace that colour as well. Additionally, avoid reflective jewellery or glasses, since they might cause issues in post-production.