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Green screen tips for a first timer


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#1 Adam White

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 03:58 AM

Hi,
Ive done a few basic greenscreen shots in the past where the view out of a window was replaced but have not attepted anything challenging as I havent had a suitable project.

Ive been asked to shoot a promo that involves a shrunk band charging around a home in a Borrowers-style story. This would mean extensive use of screens with both fixed and, shudder, moving shots. All of this, of course, on zero budget. I am currently checking the largest screen size I can get to give the the most flexibility when framing moving people. I am using a Z1 for the shoot.

Currently going through manuals and asking everyone I know for tips, I want to provide my producer with as few suprises as possible, come shooting time.

Could anyone provide any tips or experiences using screens and shooting seperate backgrounds for use on them.

many thanks

Adam
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 08:37 AM

Hi,
Ive done a few basic greenscreen shots in the past where the view out of a window was replaced but have not attepted anything challenging as I havent had a suitable project.

Ive been asked to shoot a promo that involves a shrunk band charging around a home in a Borrowers-style story. This would mean extensive use of screens with both fixed and, shudder, moving shots. All of this, of course, on zero budget. I am currently checking the largest screen size I can get to give the the most flexibility when framing moving people. I am using a Z1 for the shoot.

Currently going through manuals and asking everyone I know for tips, I want to provide my producer with as few suprises as possible, come shooting time.

Could anyone provide any tips or experiences using screens and shooting separate backgrounds for use on them.

many thanks

Adam



My first thought when you said zero budget was to suggest shooting outside. That cuts out your need to light the green on your own and you might be able to get away with just silking off the talent a bit.

Of course that leaves the screen itself. "Group" and "moving" of course means "large greenscreen." On zero budget, what you need sounds out of reach. I'd talk about it with whoever is doing the post and find out how good their software is. Maybe they can key out some other color, say, if you could find a large white building that you could place the talent against. Something like that?
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#3 Bob Hayes

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 09:15 AM

I?ve shot green screen outside and it worked. It was a fast cheap way to get a large enough space. Silked the screen and the actors. Put the screen up against the grip truck.

If you do your project indoors, which will give you more control of the lighting, here are some other tips. Keep the talent as far away from the green screen as you can. You only need the green screen to cover the areas where the talent is. The composite folks can garbage matte out the non-green screen areas. If you are on the cheap lock off the camera when ever you can to help the composite guys. Tracking is tougher and requires more skill. Put tracking marks on you green screen to give the post guys a guide if you are moving the camera. It helps if you have examples of what the areas will look like so you can get a feeling for how you talent will integrate with it. Also think about putting green screen elements in front of the cast to a demtionality. It sounds like you need a minimum of 12' x 12'.
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#4 Paul Wizikowski

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 09:50 AM

A shoot like this fails miserably without a lot of prep. As best you can, shoot the greenscreen of the actors and the corrisponding Background plate at the same places on the lens (Same focal length, same focus, same Iris). Shot to shot they can certainly differ but make sure each corrisponding plate and GS shot match. Without any budget, I'm assuming a motion control rig is out of the question as your moving shots would really benifit from one. I would reccommend limiting your moving shots to those that are very repeatable and on a smooth support system (dolly, jib). Limit the moves to smaller and timed movements. The more ambitious you get the greater the chance of not being able to match the plate with the GS shots. Write out what each shots lens information is. Include height from floor, the tilt angle to floor. If you can think through all these things and keep up with all this info through out the shoot you stand a better chance of success.

Above all do some tests. DO NOT let the shoot itself be your learning curve.
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#5 Adam White

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 12:29 PM

Above all do some tests. DO NOT let the shoot itself be your learning curve.


No fears, Paul. I am starting the first of many tests this w/e.

bjdzyak/Bob, Outside with the screen, makes sense. Screen-wise at least, we have a lot of material. I might see if we can fix it to the side of a building to limit hassle on windy days.

Ive seen a lot of people try and get creative with this stuff and then panic in post. I am gonna keep it simple, but solid.

thanks for the responses :)
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Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

Glidecam

Visual Products

The Slider

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Opal

Rig Wheels Passport

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Aerial Filmworks