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Light a Perfect Green Screen With 6 Hot Tips!

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

man kicking forwards on green screen

Getting the lighting correct when using green screens is imperative for optimum results during editing. Understanding the various aspects of this special lighting helps photographers using chroma key photography the tools to produce high-quality results.

1. Is Back Lighting On The Actor Necessary?

Definitely. Having a distinct separation between the actor and the green screen backdrop is one of the primary factors in achieving a clean key. Regardless of the other lighting or the types of green screen backdrops used, it is always necessary to add back light to the actors. It does not have to be really drastic, but use enough to provide a definite separation between the actor and the background. In most situations, soft lighting works very well. If necessary, you can add some extra lighting to adjust for dark pants and similar things.

2. How Do I Light The Actors?

Use a normal key photo lighting set-up; just do not light the background. You may need to add some fill using a soft light source.

man speaking on green screen set

3. Do You Overexpose or Underexpose With Green Screens?

There are varying options. You can play around with underexposing the chroma key green screen. Trial and error may reveal the best underexposure level to use for your equipment. As a general rule, you can overexpose the background by 2 to 4 stops. If you chose to use the higher setting, be careful to watch for bounce back effects. Anything over 4 is probably going to be too high for good results.

4. Should I Use Tracing Markers?

Tracing markers are recommended any time you are going to be moving the camera around. This allows the editors to pinpoint the correct location for background movements and camera movements. You can create markers using green screen camera tape. Best advice is to check with the editor for his or her own requirements.

Chroma key studio

5. What Are Some Useful Camera Tips?

When shooting with chroma key green screen it is best to increase your shutter speed. Increasing the speed reduces the motion blur, which leads to better keying results. You can increase between 1/100 and 1/150. You could go a little lower, but do not go over 1/150 or your results will be choppy and less natural in the final product.

6. Can I Shoot Green Items Using A Green Screen Backdrop?

It is better to use a blue screen and avoid problems if you want to add green items to your shots. When you start keying your project you will find that the green colors in your shot, like clothing or accessories, disappear or are distorted in other ways.

Have you shot photos or video on a green screen? What difficulties did you face initially?

-Backdrop Express Photography Team

Interested in reading more about green screens? Check out An Introduction to Effective Green Screen Production!

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