There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to get green screen shots right. However, it still sometimes looks terrible, even in big-budget movies and TV shows. What’s the problem? Why is it that we can sometimes clearly tell when something was shot in front of a green screen? In this video, Tom Scott addresses these problems in an informative, yet highly amusing way. So, if you just can’t seem to get your green screen shots right – maybe you’re making one of these mistakes.
Tom shows plenty of examples while listing the things that may go wrong. The scenes he selected look dreadful: you can tell that they were shot on a green screen, but you can’t clearly tell what’s wrong. I mean, you probably can if you’re a pro, but I am obviously not.
Anyways, the first problem here is the incorrect key. If you don’t tweak all the key settings correctly, you’ll end up with weird looking shots. And even if you do, there might be another issue: your camera. The thing is, the camera you use to shoot the subject should more or less match the one that was used to film the background.
But before everything else, you should match the lighting of the subject and the background. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people fail to do it correctly. The direction and type of lighting should match in the background and foreground. Also, don’t forget to match the color balance.
The next thing you might miss is shutter speed. If the background scene was filmed in bright sunlight with fast shutter speed, there will be no motion blur. On the other hand, if you shoot the indoor scene at the usual 24fps and 1/50s shutter speed, you’ll have a huge mismatch with the background.
Now, think of the framing. If the camera is pointed straight at your subject, and the background looks as if it’s tilted down or up, it’s gonna look strange. But there are subtler things such as the lenses you use and the proximity of the camera. You can’t film the background from afar with a longer lens and film the subject from up close with a wider lens. We know how different lenses affect the subject and the background, so make sure to match them.
Finally, Tom gives you a piece of advice contradictory to all of the above: don’t try to be convincing. In some cases, this will work too, depending on what you want to achieve. Sometimes you should just acknowledge the green screen and put something unusual in the background. “At least it’s honest,” as Tom puts it.
What I particularly like about this video is that Tom lists those situations when you know something is off, but you just can’t your finger on it. As an average viewer, I can totally relate to this feeling, so I really enjoyed his clarifications. For those of you who create videos and are still learning how to use a green screen, I believe this video will be very useful to learn from.
[via Laughing Squid]