By Candice Rankin
Executive Speech Coach /Speech Writer
Green screen studios have increased in popularity in video productions everywhere. A lot of things you seen on TV or in movies were shot on video using a green screen. Many people have no idea what a green screen is or what it can do despite the fact that they are used all the time. By using a green screen, you can make videos that are more exciting than ever before. Don’t start in video production until you know what is perhaps its greatest and most creative asset: green screen technology and it;s best tool the TriCaster.
Green screens coupled with the new generation TriCasters allow you to set your video in any location you can imagine. Even if you can’t leave your basement, you can put a hurricane or a sunset in any of your videos. Although this seems impossible, green screen technology has made it possible. TriCaster Computer technology allows video producers to insert any setting they want, in place of the green screen, during the video editing process. The audience will never see the green screen, but instead, a whatever setting the director intended. What is most exciting about green screens is that whether you are a major movie producer or a YouTube fanatic, you can create many cool and unique video effects.
Green screens have been used to make many famous productions. Consider Star Wars for a second and the effects those movies had. Did you ever wonder about how such things were possible? With green screen technology, Star Wars became one of the greatest cinematic accomplishments of all time. A green screen generated almost the entire Star Wars trilogy.
Here are a couple of things you should know before you use green screens for your video productions. You really have to be aware of what your actors are
wearing when using a green screen for your production. Interestingly enough, your actors must not wear blue or green clothing. Blue and green clothes cause your actors to appear invisible in the final take because they blend in with the green screen. This can also happen if they are wearing stripes or strong patterns. Shiny surfaces, like from watches or jewelry, will cause a green reflection to appear in your final take. These may seem like minute details, but you need to make sure you take care of them before you start filming.
For green screens to work well, you need to have excellent, very even lighting. If you don’t have good lighting, you will see shadows all over your video. Darkness is difficult to recognize for green screen software, and this can result in your backgrounds appearing fake. Your actors need to stand about six feet from the green screen. If you have that much distance, you shouldn’t have to worry about them casting any shadows.
Green screen technology has proved to be a great tool for video production. However, it is not easy and takes a producer who knows what he’s doing. Professional video producers can help you learn all you need to know about operating a green screen. You could also use many applications that have step by step instructions built in. Green screen technology has changed the face of video production and given producers the chance to make better videos than they ever could have imagined.
Perhaps on one the best tools for efficient , cost effective video production tools for green screen and virtual set compositing is the NewTek TriCaster. The new TCXD 455 and TCXD555 are upgrades to the
TriCaster 450 Extreme and TriCaster 850 Extreme and come with built in Virtual Sets already for compositing on green screen. In gact the TriCaster technology does the compositing right in the unit itself.
Green screen has come a long way in the last few years – but how often do we reflect on how far we’ve really come as special effects producers in this industry?
The first compositing technique was patented in the early 1900’s. Frank Williams evenly lit an actor standing on a black backdrop and then copied this image on high contrast film stock. He repeated this process back and forth until a he was left with a black silhouette and clear background were all that remained on the film. Jon P. Fulton, Williams’ well known protégé, pushed William’s method to a new level, using the matte technique in action films of the era, most notably in the 1930’s H.G. Well’s inspired Invisible Man features.
In the Invisible Man, the lead was shot against a black backdrop and then composited shots were created to sell the illusion of the doctor’s invisibility. The success of the composites effect lead to the creation of several sequels and even though more advanced techniques were developed, the Invisible Man series continued to use Williams’ original black-backing back and forth compositing technique.
Former Universal effects cameraman Bill Taylor explained Fulton’s process for the revolutionary optical effect to blogger Peter Cook in his November 2010 posting on the use of matte techniques in the 1900’s. Taylor is quoted: “Only a part of the body must be ‘invisible’, so there was a removable section of the actual set which allowed the actor actually playing the scene to be on that same set with the other actors. Then the ‘effects’ actor would perform in front of the partial black screen just for that area of the body as required. With this technique everybody is really there at the same time, so eye lines, line timings and so on are all perfect, and the rotoscope and matte artifacts are limited to just the single invisible area, so there’s a far smaller are to work with and to perfect”.
We’ve come a long way since William’s black-backing method of special effects on film, and at American Movie Company we continue to explore new methods of green screen usage. Rear projection green screen is just one of the innovative experiments our team has been conducting since early 2011. If you have any questions about how green screen can help your next project, don’t hesitate to give our studio a call!