An Introduction to Effective Green Screen Production

Written by Backdrop Express Photography Team on . Posted in Digital Photography, Green Screens, Photography Backdrops

green screen girl

Sometimes a photographer is unable to find the perfect background to achieve a desired look for a portrait shoot. Thanks to digital photography, photographers can now remove the background and insert the perfect one for their needs. Green screen technology allows photographers to produce digitally enhanced photos also known as “Chroma keying.” Chroma keying is used by both professional and amateur photographers as a way to eliminate any on-site background challenges.

When you first think about the prospect of being able to set your photos to any location you want, it can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t consider yourself a computer whiz or a graphic design expert. But relax. Developing some basic skills of green screen photography is not rocket science. It simply requires that you take a little time to learn the techniques and practice with different backgrounds to see what you can do. Not only does a green screen make a great photo backdrop for still photos, but once you are used to the process, even videos will be possible using chroma key methods.

Why Should You Use a Green Screen?

There are different reasons why photographers choose to use green screen backdrops. Here are a few examples:

1. Saves Time

There is no packing up backdrops and equipment to move on location. There is also no worry about what the weather is going to be like or if your desired location will be available for your photo shoot.

2.  Less Costly

There is no need to travel to a location, nor the need to purchase multiple photography backdrops. One green backdrop is all you will need.

3. Unlimited Amount of Backgrounds

There are thousands of digital backdrops to choose from. High resolution JPEG images of beaches, mountains, cityscapes or whatever image you choose can be used as a digital background. These images are inserted in the photo in place of the green screen backdrop.

4. Versatile and Flexible

Green screens can be used for both video and digital photography and make the impossible become possible.

5. Post-Production

The more you use and become comfortable with a green screen, the better you will become using post-production programs.

model on green screen set

Photo Courtesy of Alli Jiang

Easy Tips to Improve Your Chroma Key Productions

1. Separation

Aim for a shallow depth of field. Keep the actors and the backdrop separated. Turn off any camera features that adjust skin tones. This will produce some blurring, which is good in this case.

2. High Resolution

Ignore the safety zone, extra space makes keying more efficient. Shoot standing people at a 90 degree angle. Shoot with a high resolution, aim for 24fps. During editing you can reverse the people in the composition.

3. Chroma Key Backgrounds

Whether you use a green screen or a blue screen depends on your subjects. Blue works better for light haired models and if your film shows a lot of skin.

4. Dressing Your Actors

Simple rule: If you are using green screens, avoid greens, browns and variations of green/brown. Same thing for blue screen-avoid blues in clothing.

5. Props

Avoid using reflective shiny props for chroma key photography.

6. View Then Click

Check your image before you shoot. Preview, Preview, Preview.

family on green screen background

Photo Credit: Steve Gerecke via Flickr

7. Progressive vs. Interlaced

Shoot progressive or de-interlace before keying to get a smoother streaming video.

8. DV Adjustments

For digital video applications, blur the U and V channels before you start keying, manually or with software.

9. Lighting

If you do not have a handle on how to light your studio you may need to hire someone. Lighting is very important in chroma key photography.

If you are looking to keep up with technology and discover a whole new world of photographic backgrounds, try using a green screen. The possibilities are endless.

Interested in reading more about green screens? Check out 8 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Digital Backgrounds!

-Backdrop Express Photography Team

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Comments (1)

  • Romaine


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