The RIGHT green screen.

PLANB Website User Posts: 105
edited October 2011 in General
I've been using cheap $10 table cloths as green screens for my vfx tests. With the Hitfilm Ultimate demo, no matter how much time I spent on keying out the green, it mostly got rid of my body figure. Not complaining towards Hitfilm at all, it is great software! Just asking you guys how I can improve the way I carry out these things. Attached is an image of one of my green screen shots. I had to scale down and convert to MPEG as AVCHD footage currently appears as offline material in Hitfilm. This used to work out well (evident on my youtube videos), what am I doing wrong?
Anyway, suggestions on cheap ways to get green screens that are better than this?


  • SaiTurtlesninjaNX
    SaiTurtlesninjaNX Website User Posts: 76
    edited October 2011
    How is your lighting setup? By the look of your pic you do have uneven lighting.
    90% of green screening is all about the lighting.
    PLANB Website User Posts: 105
    I don't set up lighting at all :D Just relied on the lights in my house :P Thanks for the quick reply and useful tip SaiTurtlesninjaNX! I guess I should get some household lights and shine them towards the green background acting as spot and flood lights?
  • Nuwanda
    Nuwanda Website User Posts: 174 Enthusiast
    edited October 2011
    As SaiTurtlesninjaNX said: Good greenscreen lighting does the trick. Go for Youtube and search for e.g. "green screen lighting", there are many good tutorials. Another topic to search for is "greenscreen three point lighting".
  • VikingFilm65
    VikingFilm65 Website User Posts: 261
    The problem is your greenscreen cloth! I also had a homemade greenscreen, a white sheet I colored green. But all the crincles made it almost impossible to key out properly. And I also had a too dark green color. You have just the same amount of crinckles in your greenscreen cloth as mine had, so I suggest you purchase a better one.
    I took an offer from and got a new and better greenscreen. This cloth I will avoid to crincle so much!
    Using a better greenscreen cloth I had to problem keying it out in HitFilm!
    PLANB Website User Posts: 105
    Thanks for the quick replies guys! I'll look into three point lighting as lighting is evidently very important in this case. About getting a green screen, is there any chance I could get some sort of material from Spotlight that is more opaque than the usual muslin?
  • Jernau
    Jernau Website User Posts: 71
    edited October 2011
    I think VikingFilm65 is right, the problem is your green screen cloth. It needs to be greener (yours has far too much yellow), it needs to be less reflective (your tablecloths have a plastic look), and it needs to be smoother (the crinkles cause shadows and highlights).
    If you can't afford to buy a professional quality green screen, then your local hobby or department store will likely have a fabric section, which if you're lucky will have bright green fabric for cheap.
    However, while you're waiting to get a better green screen, it's still possible for you to play around with Chroma Keying your footage in HitFilm. Just don't expect miracles! :)
    Here's the best matte I could come up with from your screen-grab:
  • JediMaster33
    JediMaster33 Website User Posts: 62
    edited October 2011
    You want to find regular fabric with the color in the photo below. Then you really need to light it with flood lights from the sides so you have even lighting across the screen. Also, the fabric can't be shinny or else you will have hotspots that will be difficult to key out. Another thing you could do is get cheap sheets of plywood (1/4" thick) and have Home Depot or Lowe's mix you some flat paint in the color above. Three sheets of plywood would be set side by side would create a back ground 12' wide by 8' tall.You should also check Youtube for green screen and lighting tutorials.
    Your photo above has too much shine, wrinkles and not enough lighting.
    This would be difficult for anyone to key properly. I really hope this helps.
    John B-)
    P.S. The software is most awesome I have ever used, try to get it ASAP.
  • guitar74
    guitar74 Website User Posts: 506
    Just paint a room at your house with a bright green paint, they sell flourinst green paint at tubetape and hardware stores. I just bought a few green screens from tubetape and spent about 50 dollars.
  • Kinetic
    Kinetic Website User Posts: 17
    when green screening make sure your green screen is ironed out no wrinkles or crinkles. The wrinkles add shadows which are a darker green. Tension your green screen make it tight and flat. Light it evenly even if you are lighting for atmospherics a taut wrinkle free green screen will go along way to giving superior results
  • MasterWolf
    MasterWolf Website User Posts: 369
    Well the first green screen I purchased is huge. Its 24 feet by 14 feet. Why so big? Welll to be honest, when I bought it I was very new and inexperienced. Luckily I got a killer deal on it, so I wasn't out much money. Its a great screen, pro quality. The down side? Try setting up a massive green screen on an out door shoot with a 4 to 6 man crew on a very windy day. We have lovingly nicknamed it the Improvised Hang Glider.
    A couple notes for newbies wanting to get into green screen filming.
    1) a general rule of thumb, if it aint moving you don't need a green screen. You can get away with smaller screens than you think because when you get into post you can crop your footage down in editing. This seems like simple common sense but I have seen pros that didn't seem to grasp the concept. There are some exceptions, but usually this works.
    2) You don't really need to spend lots of money on fancy chroma key paint or screens. Modern digital compositing has made the process of keying shots far more forgiving than it used to be. The important thing to remember is you want an even colored mat surface, nothing glossy. As has been mentioned above you can go to any hardware store and have them mix up some ultra flat green paint.
    3) Why are green screens green? Green is used because it is the furthest from human skin color ( note green works better when shooting digital, when shooting on actual film blue is more common ). But remember you can key out any color. I get laughed at a lot because I tend to use hot pink screens a lot. They look silly as heck but the thing is, I tend to film green subjects, I film various reptiles, green lizards, or actors in green make up playing aliens etc and for this a green screen just wont work. So for this I drag out my flaming hot pink screens and they work great. I also use black screens quite often. HitFilm is great for adding digital fire and smoke etc, but some times I like to film a real element as well. Filming fire and smoke in front of black makes it easy to key out the black screen. So while green and blue screens will always be the most common, don't forget that occasionally another color may be a better choice.
    4) lighting, as was mentioned above, even lighting on your green screen is vital, there are tons of tutorials on how to light you green screen properly. Honestly I think lighting is more important than the screen to some extent.
    5) Don't be afraid to go cheap. After many fiascos with the great green improvised hang glider I have developed a trick for quick cheap green screens. I honestly use green poster board a lot. I usually have about 10 sheets of the stuff in my regular gear. Green poster board, tape and thumb tacks has been my improvised screen on many a shoot. Especially when I can't afford a crew or the location is small. I can tape together a poster board screen in minutes by my self. I have also used them as "extensions" when the screen I was using was just not quite big enough ( my 6 x 8 screen, not the green glider) Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the other fun use of green poster board. I often cut it in to shapes to blow holes through actors, I add in the gore later. I just cut the poster board into the shape i want the hole and tape it to my actor. In post the green gets keyed out and the gore elements are added. I've done similar things when I couldn't actually damage a prop or location. I use the green as a marker for where the damage will be added digitally.
    Thats all I can think of for now. I rarely film anything with out some chroma key elements. Every shoot has some color screen in the shot. If I think of any more tricks or tips, i'll add them.
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