The green screen is an incredibly useful tool for video producers and streamers. It is a post-production technique involving chroma key that allows for the green background image to be removed during post-processing, replacing it with an image or video of the filmmaker’s choosing. It is commonly used in photography and movies to create impossible situations. Using a green screen to remove the background of a video is doable, but you must be on the lookout for the most common green screen mistakes beginners make.
Shadows and Uneven Lighting
Shadows can put a kink in your plans to effectively remove green screens during postproduction. Darker areas can become a problem. This is often a concern when the subject is either too close to the fabric in the background or the lighting is too powerful. The best way to avoid this is to have the subject further away from the green background while using multiple lights to prevent dark shadows. It is also possible for unevenly lit screens to make chroma key difficult due to the combination of both light and dark areas in the background.
Too Much Lighting
When there is too much light on the green screen, green edges can appear around whatever subject you place before it. This can cause a greenish reflection on the subject’s skin. Unless you intend for your subject to look like they’re about to be sick, you should avoid this altogether, as the green reflection is very difficult to edit out during post-production.
Damaged Green Screen
If the screen gets damaged, it will create shadows, which creates the problem of uneven lighting. If you are using fabric for your green screen background, you may need to keep an iron or steamer around to help smooth out the surface.
Give more thought to your talent’s clothing when producing with a green screen. If your subject has green clothing, makeup, jewelry, accessories, or anything else, it will leave a lot to edit out during the process. Ensure you don’t have any green items in front of the screen for the best results. If you need green, you can switch to a white or blue screen instead.
Shutter Speed Blur
One of the most common green screen mistakes beginners make is motion blurring. Moving objects or talent leave trails that look awful and amateurish. If you use a slow shutter speed, this can be a problem, and it is difficult to fix in post-production due to blurred areas mixing with the background. Tell your talent to take it slow—literally.
Keep the above in mind as you begin your first, or even your fifth or tenth, production. Even experts can make the same mistakes as beginners!