Tips On Building Lighting And Shooting On A DIY Green Screen

It’s been a long time since we had a good green screen tutorial here on DIYP, and Lars Lindstrom over at The Slanted Lens just came up with a pretty sweet tutorial on how to build a DIY green screen (also known as Chroma Key).

Tips On Building Lighting And Shooting On A DIY Green Screen

Aside the awesome car defying video, they also shared a few tips with the blog about lighting and shooting against a chroma key – DIY or not. More after the jump.

Building A Green Screen & a Makeshift Backdrop Kit

So, first if you wander what a green screen is, it is basically a big. green. screen. The nice thing about a green screen is that most video editing software can separate the green screen from whatever is standing in front of it and overlaying the screen with burning ships, aliens, giant cakes chasing a mob or just whatever they can think of.

Green screens are sold at photo stores, and while they are not generally when they are small, getting a big kit may set you back pretty nicely. The solution, a Robin-hood-hideous green gabardine fabric from Jo-Ann + a 1″ PVC pipe and some A clamps form Home Depot.

While the screen can be mounted to two light stands, Lars actually ties it up to two spare microphone polls. (If you love PVC, you can build this kit too)

About lighting a Green Screen

The green screen in this specific set was lit with three Lowell 250W video lights – see the diagram below.

  • One Lowell 250W coming from up & behind to create separation.
  • Another Lowell as key on camera left, shot through a white silk umbrella. Fill was provided with a white bounce card.
  • A third Lowell shot through another umbrella on camera right, just behind Lars was pointing at the screen to light it evenly.

Tips On Building Lighting And Shooting On A DIY Green Screen

There are a couple of things that you should make sure you do to ensure the cleanest key:

  • You are going to want to make sure that you separate yourself from the fabric. you will do this by both making sure you are far enough away from the green screen and also by using a backlight because…
  • … The backlight will give your hair/skin/clothes a very distinct, easy to separate, color from that hideous green!
  • The distance will also help you to keep your shadow from your key light off of the green screen.
  • Some of you will notice quickly that you may have to put on a longer lens in order to wrap the fabric behind you more.
  • When lighting a green screen, make sure that the light is as even as possible. Any soft light source is good because it spreads the light more evenly (kino flos, silks, bounce lights, etc.)

If you’ve done anything fun with green screens we’d love to know, share with us in the comments.

  • Salt Lake City Studio

    Nice tips, With green screen and special effects, filmmakers can create realistic scenarios that would otherwise be unbelievable. If it were not for these tools, most Holywood blockbuster fantasy, epic, or sci-fi movies would not be as successful as they were.

  • Androdoz

    I have some green color on the talent, please how to correct this ?

  • Salma SalSal

    I have a baby who crawls on the floor (green background) I have sooooo much problem in lighting her in a way that I can get rid of the shadows of her on the floor, and also the reflection of green on her body! What should I do in this matter?