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Green screen lighting tutorial

Posted: Fri, 6th Mar 2009, 1:14am

Post 1 of 5

DVStudio

Force: 4983 | Joined: 22nd Nov 2007 | Posts: 1845

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Rating: +4

This is a new tutorial on green screen lighting! By reading this and following the instructions and tips, you’ll be able to have and use professional quality green or blue screen studio. Getting the lighting just right is very important on a green screen set, or the key will be very unsuccessful. This tutorial will help you with that and show you how to get the best lighting. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, but the ultimate result should be an evenly illuminated green screen to provide the best key.
Materials:
-A moderately sized green or blue screen cloth (available here: http://tubetape.com/ and at most fabric shops) When you are buying one, be sure to get one that will hold up and can be washed easily especially if you plan to use it outside. Also, get a bright solid colored one, or it will not work.
-Lights for the green screen! The best type are usually halogen (they get very hot, so be cautious). Fluorescents aren’t great as they provide a bluish glow and they hum which can be annoying with shooting with audio.
Example:

I like to use 2X 500W to light my green screen [2 pieces of 5X8 fabric). This works well and has provided me with a sufficient key many times.
-Lights for the actor(s) This will prevent washing out and even out the lighting. I use 2 60W clamp lamps per actor (1 on each side for an even lighting)
A typical green screen set looks like this (cartoon mode):

Here’s what mine looks like (from a recent shoot):



Often times with lighting a green screen or a blue screen, you get hotspots on the screen. This is when the light is unevenly distributed and is too close. This makes keying a large pain and will make an otherwise good shot turn out like junk.
Examples:


Steps:
1.You are going to need to set up the halogen work lights an even distance from the green screen and not too close as to provide hot spots.

2.Now set up the actor lights. These should be used to prevent washing out of the actor on the set as the background is so bright. Be careful not to blind your actor(s).
3.Position the lights as to eliminate shadows on the green screen. This can often be accomplished by moving the actor farther from the green screen (usually stand about 10ft away)
a.I also sometimes use a work light on the floor by the green screen and on the ceiling above the green screen. This prevents the shadows from being projected onto the back ground.
b.Shadows are very bad for green screens and can cause a lot of problems later in the post stage as the color will be off and really mess up the key.
Here is another example of lighting:

Additional filming tips:
This is a section that I always like to include in my tutorials. In this part I have listed some of my general film making tips that can be used in any filming environment and also on the green screen set.
-Something that I like to do on the set and it works really well with green screening is to have my video cameras connected to tv monitors. This helps me to be able to see exactly what I a m shooting and how it will turn out.
Example:

-Make sure you have plenty of food and water. People tend to get cranky and can disrupt a film shooting very easily. A hungry crew is an unproductive crew.

-Also, be sure to keep an eye on the weather for that day. Try not to shoot on a 110 degree day or a 30 degree one. Also, you obviously don't want to be rained out and too much wind can be bad.

-Be sure to always have chargers and extra batteries so the filming goes smoothly. I like to have several copies of the script on hand and a laptop with wifi just in case. Be sure to have enough mini dv tapes or DVDs as this can be a HUGE pain.

-Be sure to get enough footage and always make sure you get exactly what you want or else it can be very hard to match lighting conditions and camera positions if you aren't filming in a studio.

-Make it fun for the actors so they don’t just want to go play X-box. Show them that they are part of the final film and make them feel proud and they will work better.

-Have some extra cash on hand just in case you need to run and grab something you forgot about!?

The most important thing is to have a good time. I hope the tutorial helps out and I will post more when I have a chance!
Green screen lighting is the most important part of shooting on a green screen. Failure to get the proper lighting set up before shooting can be deadly to a project and a budget in post.

I hope the tutorial was helpful and that you got a lot out of it. I will continue to update the tutorial and add new things to it when I have more time. I worked very hard on this and hope that someone can find it useful, whether you knew these things already and just wanted a refresher, or if this was entirely new to you. Thank you!

DV Studio
For additional green screen/ compositing tutorial see here: DV Studios compositing tutorial
Posted: Fri, 6th Mar 2009, 1:28am

Post 2 of 5

spydurhank

Force: 1956 | Joined: 24th Jun 2008 | Posts: 1357

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Very nice!
Thanks for the info. +1 for you. biggrin
Posted: Fri, 6th Mar 2009, 2:07am

Post 3 of 5

DVStudio

Force: 4983 | Joined: 22nd Nov 2007 | Posts: 1845

CompositeLab Pro User EffectsLab Pro User PhotoKey 4 User FXpreset Maker FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

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Thanks! I'm glad you liked it! smile
Posted: Fri, 20th Mar 2009, 9:27pm

Post 4 of 5

DVStudio

Force: 4983 | Joined: 22nd Nov 2007 | Posts: 1845

CompositeLab Pro User EffectsLab Pro User PhotoKey 4 User FXpreset Maker FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

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Hey there!
I just wanted to update the tutorial a tiny bit with some images of my new green screen set. I have been building this for a while now in my basement, and I have to say that I am very happy with the results. smile I mounted my halogen lamps on the ceiling and have 2 smaller lamps for the actors. The lights are positioned right (above and behind) so the actors aren’t blinded cool by them!




A picture from a recent shoot on the green screen set:

Hope that you enjoyed seeing the pics- I will add an edited/composited video from the green screen later this weekend (once my enormous SE Asia project is done)
DV Studio hugegrin
Posted: Sat, 21st Mar 2009, 12:02am

Post 5 of 5

spydurhank

Force: 1956 | Joined: 24th Jun 2008 | Posts: 1357

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Nice set up.
I'm gonna start building one soon so this helps a ton.
Thanks for taking the time to do this. biggrin