Green Screen: everybody has heard of it, but why should you bother using it for video production?
In short, green screen is a simple and inexpensive way of making your video content stand out from the crowd. There are so many original and creative ways of utilising this technique – it’s a fantastic way to do something a little different and produce something original. The only limit is your imagination! This blog will remind you of what a fantastic tool green screen can be, particularly when you’re working within tight budgets.
One of the major advantages of using green screen is the ability to shoot where you want, when you want. Sure, it can be nice to take a couple of days out of the office to shoot on location- but with busy schedules and the logistical challenge of filming away, sometimes it’s just not convenient. With green screen you can achieve exactly the same results in a London based studio, as you would on location, in a fraction of the time.
Green screen caters for the whole spectrum of productions, from huge big budget studios dedicated to green screen, to small portable pop-up green screens that are easily affordable. It can eliminate other expenses such as location, travel and logistics costs, freeing up more budget to spend in other areas such as cameras, lighting or editing, giving you better value for money overall!
Perhaps it’s surprising with today’s video technology, but unfortunately filmmaking is still very much a very weather dependent process. Even the greatest shoots can be ruined by a freak storm, high winds, or even just a spot of English rain. Gone are the days of wasting hours and hours refreshing BBC Weather, hoping and praying for a better forecast. Shooting in a green screen studio, you completely eliminate weather from the equation, and shoot in a controlled environment on your own terms. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Green screen can also be extremely useful when filming interviews with your celebrity/ brand spokesperson. It enables you to film multiple interviews in one sitting, without having to worry about backgrounds until after the shoot. Without the time consuming process of relighting and reframing for each interview, the filming process can be sped up quite considerably enabling your team to be more efficient. In addition to this, it means that interview backgrounds can regularly be replaced and updated, ensuring the material you shoot is truly future proof.
With green screen, literally anything is possible. A great example of this is Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby. It was used in almost every scene to enhance and extend Gatsby’s sets, making the colourful 1920’s world seem even more believable and authentic. Check out this visual effects breakdown from Great Gatsby to get some inspiration on how you can use green screen to add scope to your PR productions!
Handicam at the ready? Green-ish coloured cloth in hand?! Well hold those horses! Before you embark upon your own green screen adventure, I’m afraid there are a couple of things you need be mindful of…
Lighting green screens can be particularly tricky. The idea is to get a nice even spread of light on your green background in order to achieve a clean ‘key’ (background removal) in the edit. Whilst this sounds simple, it takes a surprising amount of preparation and experience as well as the right lighting equipment to achieve properly. Green screen can be filmed on any camera, but results can vary hugely. Ideally you need to be filming on a professional broadcast camera with a bitrate greater than 50 mb/s. Of course, the other difficulty when dealing with green screen footage is the editing! In order to get the best possible results, footage must be keyed in specialist motion graphics software.
Having second thoughts? Not to worry! Here at Shout we offer all of these services in-house, and can guarantee results that will leave you happier than Ewan McGregor in a green screen suit! (seen here filming a segment for Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show)
For more information about green screen and the services we offer at Shout, get in touch with a member of the team.