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Hack 22. Shoot a Green Screen Image
Successfully shooting a green screen (or blue screen) requires attention to detail.
Creating a believable composite image requires you to capture a usable green screen image. Although most software applications are capable of dealing with poorly
2.7.1. Locating a Green Screen
If you're lucky, you'll be able to find and rent a stage with a complete green screen cyclorama. A cyclorama is often referred to as a cyc (pronounced "syke"), so if you are going to call around for a stage, you should use that terminology. Most of us, however, aren't lucky enough to either live near a stage or afford one.
Fortunately, there are a number of
2.7.2. Lighting a Green Screen
The primary key to capturing a good green screen image is the lighting. If you light your green screen poorly, you'll
126.96.36.199. Lighting the background.
When lighting, concentrate on lighting the green screen first. This means you should not have any of your actors or props within the area of the green screen. You will want to light the green screen evenly, meaning you should light to remove any shadows, light or dark spots, or glare. You might also find it useful to use green gels over your lights to help even the hue across your green screen. Figure 2-14 shows a poorly lit green screen, opposed with a well-lit one. The goal is to have an even color across the screen.
Figure 2-14. A poorly lit green screen (left) and a well-lit one (right)
188.8.131.52. Lighting the subject.
Only after lighting your green screen should you bring in your actors and props. Light your subject just as you would normally, keeping in mind the background you intend to use in the composition. While lighting your subject, make sure no shadows are cast onto your green screen, and if they are, remove them (by adjusting or adding lighting).
Also be aware of any spill occurring from the green screen onto your subject. Spill refers to the reflection of green off of an object. You can remove spill by, yes, more lighting. So, if you notice a green hue coming off of your lead actor, attempt to reduce it by lighting your lead actor from behind. Additionally, gels can be helpful when trying to reduce the occurrence of spill, as they can counteract the reflection.
2.7.3. Shooting a Green Screen
Although shooting a green screen seems easy enough, I recommend practicing a few times before taking other people's time to shoot your scenes. There is a lot you can learn by recording just a prop in front of a green screen and then attempting to composite it onto a background. You might even want to practice on a smaller scale, just to get a feel for what it takes to light and composite a scene successfully.
When shooting, you should keep your camera in a static position. If you plan on having a moving background, it will be extremely difficult to match the camera movement to the movement of your background (if not
If you have lit your green screen and your subject well, then actually recording the footage will be as easy as recording anything else. When you're finished and you go to composite your footage, it should be almost effortless. The less time you spend working with your composite, the more time you'll have to make it look believable by adding shadows [Hack #71] and editing your scene.
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