A common misconception is that chroma key is a high cost background only used by big professional studios. But actually, it is definitely possible to create a green screen on a budget. Here we offer 6 tips on how to minimize the spending for your green screen production.
1. Do Comparison ShoppingLike with any other product, taking the time to search for the best deal has big financial rewards. Look for discounts, or check out resale websites for used equipment.
2. Do Not Compromise on Certain EquipmentNormally you do not want to cut corners on buying quality equipment. However, when working on budget, some limitations do exist. Nonetheless, you need to make sure you invest in a good camera, and a few key lights to ensure you get the best possible quality picture.
3. Rent a Screen or Find AlternativesTo shoot on a green screen, the most obvious thing you need is a green screen. Many times these are available to rent for a low price, so if chroma key photography is something you have not committed to this may be a good option. Using green fabric or even green paint on a flat, smooth wall will also give you a functional green screen. Those who are fully committed to multiple chroma key shoots may even want to paint an entire room green.
4. Buy Used or Rent LightingLighting is one of the most expensive parts of working with chroma key. Professional sets can cost thousands, but it is possible to get by with as little as two lights: a key light and a back light. You should also have a large screen that can be lit fully. By purchasing used lights or even renting them, costs can be further reduced. Many find using a lighting tree is a good option because you can use just what your budget allows.
5. Check Your Local Hardware Store for Cheap BulbsIn addition to the lights, you also want plenty of bulbs. Fortunately, these are inexpensive and can be bought at a local hardware store. A fill and key light are usually around 1000 watts; however, too much heat in a bulb can melt filter material like umbrellas and shadow boxes, so you may want to purchase a lower wattage to diffuse the light.
6. Find a Free Video Editing ProgramLastly, software is one of the most important components to your green screen production, because it is the video editing that puts the whole thing together. While there are expensive programs that do this, there are many programs that can perform this function for free. You may even own one already!
-Backdrop Express Photography Team
Interested in reading more about green screens and other backdrops? Check out Choosing the Right Photography Backdrop
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