Three Chroma Key Solutions For The DIY Photographer

May 28, 2010

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Three Chroma Key Solutions For The DIY Photographer

May 28, 2010

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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chroma Key FrogThe following post about 3 ways to DIY your Chroma Key was made by Ben Eadie of DVRebelGear.com.

There are several ways to get a decent chroma background for a photo for the DIYer and the results are just as good as any pro system I have encountered. We will cover 3 solutions I have used with great success and all cost less than $15. You can use a green sheet, you can paint a wall and you can make a pop out chroma key like a pop out reflector. I use green for my key but you can also use blue if you choose.

Chroma Key Solutions For The Diy Photographer

First here is some advice on getting a good shot on a chroma key. Never use an on camera flash. Make sure your object is far enough from the screen to not pick up any green reflection off of the fabric. Your object/subject should not cast a shadow on the key. Avoid shiny things (note the top of the table in the examples below, they all have a green reflection in them because it is a slightly shiny surface) I make sure that I have things a minimum of 3 feet in front of the key. Last make sure you have an EVEN soft light on the chroma color. The more even the light on the key the easier it is to edit later on in your photo editor.

First, the green sheet. You can get fabric sheets at your local WalMart. Get a green that looks close to the green in the pictures below. Or you can even get the fabric off of internet stores such as http://www.joann.com (get the Symphony Broadcloth in green here) Now this is as simple as hanging it on a wall with tacks.

Advantages: Super simple, easy to move and store, can be draped over things to key out later, cheap and easy to replace

Disadvantages: Wrinkles easy, sometimes hard to hang

Chroma Key Solutions For The Diy Photographer

Chroma Key Solutions For The Diy Photographer

Chroma Key Solutions For The Diy Photographer

Second, if you have a wall available to paint then go to your local paint store and get some flat latex paint. The cheap stuff is fine and here is the color code you will need to give them to get the right tint of green (note this is for a small 872ml or 29.5 fl.oz container) B-1 KX-11 AX-1Y31.5 D-1Y4

Advantages: Once a wall is painted there is no setup, smooth even surface

Disadvantages: Not portable, you have to have a wall to paint.

Chroma Key Solutions For The Diy Photographer

Chroma Key Solutions For The Diy Photographer

Chroma Key Solutions For The Diy Photographer

Last is to make a portable pop out chroma key much like a pop out reflector. Now these normally cost a fair amount of money to purchase but you can make one for really cheap by following the instructable I made a few months back. http://www.instructables.com/id/Pop-out-photography-reflector-or-chroma-key/

Advantages: Portable, less prone to wrinkles, looks pro, easy to hang or prop up

Disadvantages: Size limitations, sometimes wrinkles

Chroma Key Solutions For The Diy Photographer

Chroma Key Solutions For The Diy Photographer

Chroma Key Solutions For The Diy Photographer

Now this was short and sweet but really all you need to do is get yourself one or more of the options above and start experimenting. Have fun!

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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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One response to “Three Chroma Key Solutions For The DIY Photographer”

  1. Mark Avatar
    Mark

    I’m not “in the know” here on any level.
    I would certainly not argue any of your points. From the little I have researched everything you are saying is correct. But may miss the point to some level.
    This person did point out that there was the flaw of the green cast on a shiny surface, etc. and doesn’t claim expertise.

    The point for me is that “IF” this were a video it would work similar. If it were a video you could put any video in the background in place of the white.

    It is a bit unsettling that they do not show the correct way to get away from the green cast.

    From what I have read.. this can be done by angling your chroma key backdrop and, where this person mentions at least three feet, what I have read recommends no less then 7 feet.
    In addition the lighting has to be on the chroma first and then secondary lighting for the subject.

    I, as a nube, do appreciate this post.. cause it does make what can seem a possibly daunting task to be rather easily achievable (with time, research, and general fidgeting til you get a workable understanding/technique.