How does a green screen work?
If you aren’t familiar with a green screen, also known as a blue screen or chroma key, it is a video editing trick used to create special effects. The primary purpose of using a green screen is to overlay a video or still image behind an actor in a video.
By using a green screen, you can videotape yourself in your living room, but make it appear in the video that you are standing on a desert island, or in a busy city street. Most movies and television shows make heavy use of greens creen technology. Weathermen also use it to display the weather map behind them as they give their forecast. Green screens can also be used in still photography, and are quite often used during professional portraits and photo shoots.
There are a few restrictions to greenscreen technology, mainly that you cannot have anything in the image on you or your clothing that is similar in color to the screen being used, or else it will turn invisible. This is why the screen is green (or blue if you have green clothing on), since it is a color very far removed from human skin.
Technically any color can be used as a green screen. The effect within a video editing program is called chroma key. Basically, you tell the program to sample one color (usually green or blue), and from then on it considers every shade of that color transparent in the video. This makes any layers behind recorded layer show through.
You can experiment with chromakey using a free trial of Adobe After effects. Many tutorials are available on how to use it on YouTube.
How to make a cheap homemade green screen
The video below shows how to make a cheap and easy to use green screen in your home. Don’t expect to fool anyone into thinking you’re actually flying like Superman with this kit, it will not have the same quality as a motion picture due to lack of proper lighting. This is a great starter kit if you just want to play around, impress your friends, or make YouTube videos. I have provided links below to the materials needed to recreated a similar setup to the one shown in the video.
How to make a professional green screen
If you want your videos to have the quality of a movie or TV show, this professional lighting kit is a better option. It runs around $200, but includes a three point lighting kit. Three point lighting is important to naturally blend the person being filmed with the background. If you have ever seen a crudely photoshopped picture, you will have an idea of what bad lighting can do to a green screen video. The video below explains three point lighting in a little better detail.
Here is a three point lighting kit you can buy, it’s a little more expensive but will produce a much better effect than the cheaper option above.
Advanced Green Screen Techniques
If you really want to have fun with your green screen, go completely invisible, or use telekinesis to make objects levitate, consider using a green screen body suit. Check out this video of an invisible skateboarder:
Green Screen Body Suit
(By DIY Editor)
Note: These videos were not produced by or for Library of Logic. We selected them off of YouTube based on our research and determined they were produced by subject matter experts and gave sound advice.