Make (and Use) Your Own Green Screen

Make (and Use) Your Own Green Screen

4. Lights, Camera, Action


The set construction portion of this project is complete. Now to put it to good use: filming with it. Before you start shooting, some notes on lighting your screen correctly. Try to light your green screen as evenly as possible - consistency in the green color will make for a better end result. Also make sure your actors aren’t wearing any green, as those areas will disappear after you’ve removed all of the green when you edit the footage.


Before you shoot, consider what you’ll be replacing the green background with and do your best to match those lighting conditions. For example, light your subject from the right if you plan to add in a background from a late summer’s day with the sun shining from the right. Place your subject a couple of feet in front of the screen and begin filming. Because motion tracking with a green screen is extremely involved (and explaining how to do it requires a separate article), start with stationary shots in front of the screen. Don’t pan or zoom while you shoot, or your subjects will appear to float around and shrink and grow. But if that’s the effect you’re trying to accomplish, don’t let us stop you!


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5. It's Not Easy Being Green


After capturing and importing your footage into Final Cut Express or Final Cut Pro, trim and place your clips in the correct order in the Timeline - but instead of placing them in the V1/A1A2 layer, drag them a bit higher and place them in the V2/A3A4 layer. You need that first layer for your added background.


Find the clips you captured using your green screen, select them, go to the Effects window, and open up Video Filters. Find the Blue And Green Screen effect in the Key folder, and drag it onto the video clips that you shot in front of the screen. Most likely, the default settings won’t be exact enough and will require tweaking. In the Timeline, double-click the clips you dragged the effect onto, and in the Viewer window, set your Key Mode to Green. Now adjust the Color Level and Tolerance to better match the color green you used. Adjust the Feather option accordingly to make sure green lines don’t appear on the edges of your subjects.


Once all of your green screen clips show your subjects perfectly isolated over a black background, you can move on to the next step.


Removing your background can be tricky, but with a bit of tweaking and elbow grease, you can perfect it.






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Jim Lewis

Cheaper still, buy a couple of green dollar store tablecloths.



Or a Lybian flag.


Geek lover

Great how-to, Brian -- and (blushblushblush) you geeks are sexy (check out Roman sometime, eh).

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