07 Feb Should I Buy It? Green Screen
This week I’m continuing the Should I Buy It? series with some info on green screens. They’re pretty cool, right?
The entertainment industry has done some amazing things with green (and blue!) screens, and since it’s easy to get your hands on one, maybe you’re itching to try it out yourself. Maybe you’re toying with the idea of using a green screen to create a new, exciting background for your vlog or e-course (like a tropical island or a volcano, maybe?)–or if you’re considering more of a “whiteboard” background to support heavy graphics, editing, or text.
Whatever your vision is, let’s break it down and talk about some pros and cons of using a green screen for your videos.
The Lowdown on Green Screens
Most of the time, green screen effects look awful (unless, of course, you’re in Hollywood with an enormous budget). The thing about a green screen is that a lot of people think they know what they’re doing with one…but unfortunately, even the pros don’t sometimes, as you can see below.
As a general rule outside Hollywood (and sometimes even then), green screens don’t work well for anything other than deliberately artificial backgrounds.
Green screens are great if your background needs to be a solid color or an obvious graphic. Backgrounds that involve geometric shapes or similar effects also work. But green screens are terrible for backgrounds that are meant to look real, like landscapes and home/office interiors. So I highly recommend shooting anything you can shoot with a natural backdrop with…a natural backdrop.
Green screens have some major pitfalls that can really undermine the quality of your videos if you’re not aware of them, and don’t take the steps to get around the issues.
The Biggest Green Screen Issue
The biggest problem with using a green screen is getting the lighting right. There’s no such thing as a good green screen without good lighting. Lighting has to be perfectly even across the entire screen for the effect to work seamlessly. Otherwise, it’ll be painfully obvious you’re using a green screen, like in the image above. You have to make sure that you light the green screen by itself and then light yourself separately (lots of lights).
If you must use one, invest in a smaller one that includes a lighting kit. I also recommend only filming your torso if you’re going to shoot with a green screen, so a screen on the small side should work just fine. (*Remember you’ve gotta light yourself too, though!)
The good news? Any green screen will work like it’s supposed to, as long as you can light it evenly. So if you’re opting to use one with a lighting kit, you can rest easy… until you get in the editing, and that’s a whole ‘nother animal. :/
What do you think about green screens? Tried it? I’d love to see what you get! Drop a note in the comments and let me know!