Video production - green screen technique with paper, muslin or paint?

17 replies
Been messing around with green screen lately.. but struggling to get that ultra crisp look from the green screen.

Current set up looks like this:
  • Canon 700d camera with Rode VMP
  • 2 softbox lights on the background.. even distribution of light
  • Key light, fill light and hair light on myself.. (3 point lighting)
  • Filming about 2 meters away from background.
  • Green screen made from 'muslin' cloth
  • Editing with Sony Vegas

The results aren't amazing.. even when pulled tight the fabric has small wrinkles that show up.. ironing it melts it and showering it with a strong jet of water doesn't have much impact afterwards.

I'm considering switching to either paper or paint.

Do any of you guys have any experience with green screen backgrounds?

Thanks in advance.
#green #muslin #paint #paper #production #screen #technique #video
  • Profile picture of the author blackhatting
    Lighting, including backlighting is key. We use 4-5 LED's and a keylight and achieve very satisfactory results. Search Youtube for 3 piece lighting and get the basics then add additional lights for the desired effect.
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  • Profile picture of the author maravilladsouza
    Banned
    Paper's isn't a good idea, Cloths are better for videos , Though I am not much expert in videos, shooting or editing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Use a steam iron to get the wrinkles out. And as blackhatting said, get lots more light. You may want to try backlighting the green screen cloth.
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  • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
    Originally Posted by Michael Meaney View Post

    Been messing around with green screen lately.. but struggling to get that ultra crisp look from the green screen.

    Current set up looks like this:
    • Canon 700d camera with Rode VMP
    • 2 softbox lights on the background.. even distribution of light
    • Key light, fill light and hair light on myself.. (3 point lighting)
    • Filming about 2 meters away from background.
    • Green screen made from 'muslin' cloth
    • Editing with Sony Vegas

    The results aren't amazing.. even when pulled tight the fabric has small wrinkles that show up.. ironing it melts it and showering it with a strong jet of water doesn't have much impact afterwards.

    I'm considering switching to either paper or paint.

    Do any of you guys have any experience with green screen backgrounds?

    Thanks in advance.
    I use muslin cloth and get great results. If you want to get the wrinkles out fully, you need to get the backdrop stand and the tension clips and they will pull it so taut you won't have any wrinkles.

    Also, if you don't want to invest in the stand, you can tack it to the wall and pull it as tight as you can and then set your iron to the lowest setting. Do not make direct contact with the cloth, but hold your iron roughly a half inch away from the cloth and just let the steam run over the cloth. If you put the iron directly on the cloth you will definitely melt it, especially if you have the crepe paper like background cloth behind the muslin cloth.

    Also, you will need more than 2 soft box lights to get an even key. Chances are it looks even to the naked eye but you most likely have hot spots if all you are using is 2 soft boxes.

    I use 2 soft boxes and then two utility lights I bought at Home Dept that I rigged on the ceiling about 4 feet in front of the middle of the screen. This way the soft box lights will light the two outer sides of the screen and the above lighting help evenly light the middle of the screen. I use 2 additional soft boxes to light myself and place them at a 45 degree angle on my left and right side about 4 feet in front of me.

    Also, you will want to stand at least 8-10 feet (3 meters) in front of your screen. This will help to negate any shadowing, which can cause you major headaches when you go to edit.

    Getting an even key is almost impossible using the naked eye. They have some great smartphone apps that can help point out hot spots and allow you to evenly light your green screen. Good even lighting of your screen and eliminating shadows are probably the two most important things you can do if you don't want to have a nightmare editing session.

    I don't even use anything as sophisticated as Sony Vegas and I get pretty good green screen videos. The editing software has to work well, but most important are your lighting and camera.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Sieloff
    Look for Warrior Forum member aseltz (Andrew Seltz). He's pretty good at the green screen and video stuff. He has a free guide in the War Room if you're a member. If he sees your post here, I'm sure he will reply with some ideas/tips.
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    • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
      Originally Posted by Steve Sieloff View Post

      Look for Warrior Forum member aseltz (Andrew Seltz). He's pretty good at the green screen and video stuff. He has a free guide in the War Room if you're a member. If he sees your post here, I'm sure he will reply with some ideas/tips.
      Here's the thread that I actually started when I was first learning how to do chroma key and I asked for advice.

      Andrew helped me out greatly and there is a treasure trove of information that he and a bunch of other Warriors provided for me.

      There are images, diagrams, and lots of advice.

      This should help out a lot:

      http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...en-videos.html
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    • Profile picture of the author aseltz
      I'm a bit late to this discussion, but noticed that several people mentioned me (thanks) and I wanted to share a couple of posts I created on my blog about greenscreen setup and video lighting.

      How To Setup A Home Office Green Screen Studio
      Home Office Lighting Instant Expert Guide

      I've tried to capture the advice I've given on various threads and in individual conversations about lighting and green screen. These posts should get you at least 80%-90% of the way to perfecting your setup. The remaining details are likely to be specific to your unique circumstances and you can either work them out with a bit of experimentation or send me a note and I'll help as best I can.

      Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author aizaku
    everyone seems to be saying its all about the lighting (on this thread and on google)

    here is a guide that I think will definitely help you out:

    How-to Set Up a Professional Green Screen: 7 Top Tips


    have a good one,
    -Ike Paz
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    • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
      Originally Posted by aizaku View Post

      everyone seems to be saying its all about the lighting (on this thread and on google)

      here is a guide that I think will definitely help you out:

      How-to Set Up a Professional Green Screen: 7 Top Tips


      have a good one,
      -Ike Paz
      That's because it definitely is all about the lighting.

      With great lighting you can even use a cheap camera and get good results.

      I've seen some people using cheap web cams and getting a pretty good result because they are lighting their screen properly.

      Personally, I feel you need at least a digital camcorder to if you want to do it even close to right, and a DSLR camera would be even better.

      In the end, it all depends on what you want to do. If you really want people to believe you are actually in a different location, you need high quality equipment all around.

      If you don't mind people knowing that you are in front of a green screen, you can use lesser quality equipment.

      Another thing you need to have is creativity if you want to make good green screen videos. You also need a little bit of ingenuity.
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  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    Hi Mike,

    I got obsessed with green screen when I started out.

    Spent months getting the lighting perfect, tried all the different backgrounds.

    Then realised....there's nothing in internet marketing that has any great benefit by using green screen.

    I was just doing it because I wanted to know and because i could.
    Never used it in anger [to make money] to this day.

    it's great fun but, unless your on a big film set, not too useful

    How'ya keeping anyway?
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Meaney
      Originally Posted by helisell View Post

      How'ya keeping anyway?
      WOW! Great to see you again.

      I'm doing good thanks, very pleased to know you're still on WF.

      Hope you're doing ok?
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

    Use a steam iron to get the wrinkles out. And as blackhatting said, get lots more light. You may want to try backlighting the green screen cloth.
    Backlighting the screen was my first thought.

    Second was making sure you backlight with flood bulbs rather than spotlight bulbs.
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    • Profile picture of the author aseltz
      Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

      Backlighting the screen was my first thought.

      Second was making sure you backlight with flood bulbs rather than spotlight bulbs.
      Backlighting a green screen is not a good idea. You greatly increase the odds of overlighting the screen and casting green spill onto your subject which will make pulling a key significantly harder.

      Large soft sources from the front will give you the best results.

      If everything else is good in your lighting, a few small wrinkles should not be a big issue when keying out the background. The answer to keying problems may be in the post production workflow more than the production setup.

      Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by aseltz View Post

    I'm a bit late to this discussion, but noticed that several people mentioned me (thanks) and I wanted to share a couple of posts I created on my blog about greenscreen setup and video lighting.

    How To Setup A Home Office Green Screen Studio
    Home Office Lighting Instant Expert Guide

    I've tried to capture the advice I've given on various threads and in individual conversations about lighting and green screen. These posts should get you at least 80%-90% of the way to perfecting your setup. The remaining details are likely to be specific to your unique circumstances and you can either work them out with a bit of experimentation or send me a note and I'll help as best I can.

    Andrew
    Now this is the right way to revive an old thread! Thanks.

    Originally Posted by aseltz View Post

    Backlighting a green screen is not a good idea. You greatly increase the odds of overlighting the screen and casting green spill onto your subject which will make pulling a key significantly harder.

    Large soft sources from the front will give you the best results.

    If everything else is good in your lighting, a few small wrinkles should not be a big issue when keying out the background. The answer to keying problems may be in the post production workflow more than the production setup.

    Andrew
    Thanks again. I was basing my answer on a visit to a TV studio and getting a look at their weather set up. They actually used a blue screen stretched over a frame and positioned in front of a smooth white wall. The floods were pointed at the wall, using it as a reflector rather than at the screen itself. The lighting in front of the screen was many times brighter than the backlights. The result, to my eye, was a very flat blue surface.

    However, I defer to your expertise.
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    • Profile picture of the author aseltz
      Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

      Now this is the right way to revive an old thread! Thanks.



      Thanks again. I was basing my answer on a visit to a TV studio and getting a look at their weather set up. They actually used a blue screen stretched over a frame and positioned in front of a smooth white wall. The floods were pointed at the wall, using it as a reflector rather than at the screen itself. The lighting in front of the screen was many times brighter than the backlights. The result, to my eye, was a very flat blue surface.

      However, I defer to your expertise.
      If you are bouncing off a white wall you probably won't have issues with excessive spill from the screen (the wall will diffuse the light), but you will loose significant light intensity from the wall in addition to the light absorbed by the screen itself - so you'll need brighter lights.

      They probably weren't using a muslin screen. They generally use a nylon spandex material that doesn't hold wrinkles like the muslin screens most of us have.

      Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    What if all you're wanting to do is drop in images into the background, which are obviously not for the purpose of trying to make it seem like your in a different location?

    Also, in this case, can you use a white background instead of green?
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    • Profile picture of the author aseltz
      Originally Posted by DIABL0 View Post

      What if all you're wanting to do is drop in images into the background, which are obviously not for the purpose of trying to make it seem like your in a different location?

      Also, in this case, can you use a white background instead of green?
      Absolutely. Instead of keying off color (chromakey) you key of the brightness (lumakey). The major benefit of this approach is that light spill from the background will not create color shifts on the foreground.

      As with greenscreen, good preparation will make things easier in the editing. Wear darker colors, avoid reflective jewelry, make sure the background is well lit, plan your shots, test the full workflow in advance, etc.

      If your camera has manual exposure settings, use them. Auto-exposure works by averaging out the brightness of the whole frame and then adjusting it to make sure nothing is too bright. If you light the largest part of the frame to the maximum level (pure white) then it will try to lower the exposure to bring that closer to a light gray. No matter how much light you add, it'll keep adjusting down to get that light gray.

      You won't be able to key out hair or translucent fabrics like you can with a greenscreen, But, it'll be pretty easy to throw some PowerPoint slides next to you and allow for some overlapping of your shoulders and arms etc.

      Andrew
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