Experimenting With Green Screen

Green screen or Chroma Key is a film or video technique where one object is superimposed over another still or moving image. Some films today are shot entirely against a green screen background, with the actors later dropped in against footage that was made or taken elsewhere.

I’m using inexpensive Movavi software for this experiment. I bought two green plastic folders at Walgreens and taped them together. Then, I moved my hand across this green screen while shooting a video of it.

First video showing green screen from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

I added this footage to what is called an overlay track in Movavi. It’s the top track you see in the photo below. I then added some footage of video I recently filmed at Red Rock.

A few clicks of controls in the Movavi program resulted in the video you see here. I now need to make or buy a larger green screen if I want to appear in front of moving landscapes, outer space scenes, or walking into a volcano.

The video you see below is not simply my hand in front of the computer monitor, it is within the film itself.

You can’t shoot yourself in front of a monitor because all sorts of weird halo effects occur. You’ll notice these in the video below because I shot that footage with my iPhone off the monitor.

Second video shot off of monitor with halos from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Now notice this footage, this is the final video, no shooting off the screen. Much cleaner. You can make a green screen as big as you want. Just get a tripod and some heavy duty green paper. Don’t move quickly or you will leave green traces as you see in the video. Photography stores sell complete kits including proper lighting.

Final product, not shot off of screen from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Green screen seemed daunting by the descriptions I read but the process is straightforward. I’m looking forward to more experimenting.