You have big plans for your next corporate video or brand commercial. You want real people and real scenes to create a life-like and relatable experience for your audience.
Naturally, a live-action video is the way to go.
One might think that live-action videos are easy to produce as your scenes and characters are ready-made and ready to record.
However, the fact is that live-action videos take as much effort and orchestration as animation.
From noise to weather to traffic, there are a lot of environmental factors at play that may affect the quality of your video production.
That’s where the magic of the green screen comes in.
Using the green screen technique for production helps you record videos in ambitious settings without actually being in them. It takes out all the environmental risks and minimizes budget considerations.
A green screen serves as a background for your shooting.
Your subjects act out the scenes as they normally would. But during the post-production phase, the green screen is edited out and replaced with images or footage of your desired setting.
This process is known as chroma-keying and is used everywhere from your regular weather channel to your favorite Hollywood blockbuster. Pretty neat, eh?
Shooting a green screen video is a delicate process and has a lot of room for error during the production and post-production phases. Let’s dive into some of the common green screen mistakes, problems, and their solutions.
Green screen mistakes and how to avoid them
1. Setting up without measuring the set
Don’t just go ahead and invest in a green screen without scaling your set first.
Carefully consider the amount of movement your video requires.
If it’s a sitting interview, you would need much less green space than a commercial in which the subject is crossing a road.
Also, consider your shot selection. Wide shots that show a subject standing or walking may require the green screen to be extended on the floor and either side.
For such instances, make sure that the green screen doesn’t have any hard edges. A curved green screen at the point of junction of the floors and walls makes for good keying.
2. Damaged green screen
Whether you’re using a green fabric or green walls, make sure that your backdrop isn’t torn, wrinkled, chipped or stained.
Any damage to your green screen can translate into shadows in the video and make the editing process harder.
Iron, steam, or hang your green fabric vertically to get rid of wrinkles. Get a fresh coat of paint to hide any damage on your green wall.
Green screen shadows are a pain to deal with during post-production. It’s best to be vigilant during set up and remove all sources of shadows.
Always go for ample distance between the subjects and the screen.
Make sure that the props, wires, and other equipment are not obstructing the lighting for the green screen and the subjects.
A single strong source of lighting is bound to cast shadows. Balance it out by experimenting with multiple lights.
4. Uneven lighting
Overexposure and lighting hotspots are common issues during green screen productions as they change the nature of the colors.
For a smooth keying process, make sure that your green screen is evenly lit. At the very basic, you should use two lights on the opposite side of the screen.
Place them a few feet away from the screen and adjust the angles so the light from both is distributed evenly on the screen.
The goal is to keep things soft, diffused, and avoid harsh overlapping of the lights. For a big set, you would need to balance the exposure from the additional lights as well.
Whether using tungsten or LED lighting, always use the same type of lights throughout the set for consistent warmth and exposure.
It is also important to light the subjects separately according to the nature of the original scene.
For more details watch this cool video:
5. Clothing, makeup, and accessories
Sometimes, objects, parts of clothing, or company logos disappear in the footage because they’re some shade of green.
Since the chroma keying process involves eliminating all green hues from the footage, it’s a no brainer to avoid green clothes, shoes, and accessories during production.
If you absolutely have to incorporate green objects in the video, you should switch to a blue screen.
Moreover, in most cases, since there is a lot of lighting involved, wearing makeup becomes a necessity.
However, it’s best to go for a matte look and avoid shimmery or glossy makeup as it causes reflection.
Similarly, it’s best to avoid metallic or glittery jewelry and watches.
6. Green screen spill
A saturation of light on the green backdrop, floor, or walls can cause some of the color to ‘spill’ over to other objects and your subjects. This makes it look like things have green fuzzy edges or a green halo around them.
It not only makes your video look tacky but blows your VFX cover. The audience can tell that the background has been composited with the video.
Green screen reflection on the skin can again make the keying process very difficult. As the goal is to eliminate all green hues later, it can also disrupt the image of your subject.
To fix this problem, try reducing the saturation of the light on the green screen, adding a light farther away from the screen, and adding light at the back of the subject.
However, this process should not disrupt the lighting balance on the green screen.
Try positioning the people and the objects six feet away from the green screen to minimize reflection.
Check out this tutorial on how to fix green screen spill:
7. Motion blur
You know when fans are running at high speed and it becomes difficult for your eyes to spot their individual wings?
That’s similar to what happens to cameras when things are moving at a high pace against the green screen.
When objects are moving fast, it becomes difficult for the camera to keep track of their motion and they start to merge with the green background.
This can be avoided by increasing the shutter speed and capturing more frames per second. Then you can interpret lesser frames per second and speed them up in post-production.
To minimize the jerks caused by this process you can always add back some motion blur on your composite and create a natural flow.
These are some of the mistakes you can avoid during the video production process.
When you get to post-production, you need the help of professionals who have mastered the art of keying and compositing within software like Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro.
This is how experts do it:
MotionCue has a range of experts who can amp up your green screen production from lighting to editing to VFX. Interested? Get in touch with us here to create aesthetically profound live-action videos.
OR hit us up for a free video marketing strategy session.