Learning how to use green screen in video production is actually a very simple process. At SchoolTube University we offer several resources videos from VideoMaker.com and our sponsor Padcaster, that can make learning how to use green screens a much easier task.
Green screen is the process of removing the background of a video image and digitally replacing it with another. This process originated in the early 1900’s and a great example is found in the 1933 thriller The Invisible Man directed by James Whale. In the movie Whale used a blue screen process to remove parts of the main character, Dr. Jack Griffin. Blue screen is still used today, but green screen is more widely used.
Using green screen involves setting up a drape of cloth or a wall painted in “Chroma Key Green” behind your subjects/actors. Green is not a color that shows up in human skin tone, so it can be easily removed with post-production editing software. The background image is called the “plate” and the images that are not removed are called the “keyed image or key.” Your evening news shows make heavy use of keying, where the weather person stands in front of a green screen which is replaced with weather maps or images in the live feed.
During the editing process, the chroma key green background color is targeted for removal and replaced with a new image.
Some basic tips for learning how to use green screen:
- Do not have wrinkles, cracks, gaps or glare/reflection in your green chroma key background.
- Subjects should not wear clothes that match that background color.
- Subjects should stand about 2 meters from the background, to eliminate casting shadows
- It is important to light the subject (the “key”) separate from the chroma key background. Two front lights and a back light is recommended.
- The chroma key background should be lit evenly from at least two directions.
- If you can get the shot without green screen, do so. The real thing is always better and less work in post production.
If you are just getting started, our SchoolTube U partner, Padcaster offers the Padcaster Studio which is wonderful starter kit that includes a tripod, green screen background, tripod, ipad holder, mic and light. This kit is perfect for school news productions, including on-set use and in the field for interviews or event recording.
Lastly, almost any good video editing software will support green screen editing. Just check the capabilities before you buy. Often the video editing software will also provide resources to help you learn how to use green screen.
The use of green screen can make starting a school TV news show look like your home-town nightly news. As discussed above, learning how to use green screen is not a daunting task. Take advantage of the free video production resources found on SchoolTube University and you will be well on your way.