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Has it been hot enough for you yet in your neck of the woods? Wherever you are, temperatures have been soaring this summer season, and if you know anyone who is under the constant mask of makeup because of the line of work they’re in, you’ve been witness to what kind of mess this makes…the smearing lipstick and eyeliner, the runaway mascara, the beads of sweat that eat right through the perfectly pancaked concealer on the forehead. These problems can be just the beginning, however, when talking about preparing for your green screen studio shoot.
How’s that, you ask? Well, beyond the technical aspects – and we’ll cover all these in this blog shortly – that should be checked such as making sure your set has adequate lighting, the actual appearance of your talent for your video shoot should be taken into serious consideration. This means ensuring his or her makeup remains matte-like and that the forehead is kept free of perspiration, all while checking to see if hair is neat and devoid of those dreaded “fly-aways;” trust us when we tell you all this could make it very hard to pull a good key in post-production.
Allow us to provide this dummy-proof (and no, we are most certainly not calling you a dummy) checklist of things to remember and things to avoid in preparation for your green screen studio shoot.
1. Don’t be Read the Riot Act by Your Post-Production Team: Avoid Any Reflective or Shiny Clothing
There are a few clothing items and choices that simply don’t mix very well with green screen studio shoots. When someone stands in front of our green screen, we “magically” remove all the green from the image and replace it with a background. The reason the screen is green in color – or sometimes blue – is simply because this is not a hue found in the pigment of human skin…as a result, when this color is removed, you’re always left with an individual in the shot. This is a great way to begin making a video, in case you haven’t guessed, and if that individual does wear anything green, part of that person will become invisible…which isn’t such a good look!
What are we suggesting here? Simply avoid wearing any shade of green or blue-green, as well as anything reflective or shiny. It’s also not a good idea to wear anything with crazy patterns, as these begin to flicker on camera and it becomes very distracting after a while…just like it would on TV.
Following these simple guidelines will get you one step closer to avoiding being read the riot act by your post-production technician…and believe us, they know how to do it very well!
2. Ensure Technical Aspects are in Place – Adequate Lighting a Must!
Each green screen video brings its own level of difficulty to the project, so even if you’re new to the game or consider yourself an old pro, you’ll know where to look for just what you need. To pull off the green screen effect, you will need a few things at a minimum: A camera, lights, a green or blue piece of cloth/fabric and of course, editing software. Digital cameras are most sensitive to the green “channel,” which makes footage produced from them least susceptible to video noise and grain.
But of all the technical aspects to ensure are in place for a green screen studio shoot, lighting is the most important when pulling off this awesome effect.
Other important aspects to keep in mind here are correctly positioned lighting and being sure the screen is lit evenly– taking advantage of a studio package such as the ones offered by MVMG that include lighting kits is a definite plus. Also be aware of reflections off of items such as glasses and individuals with frizzy hair; these things can be tough for the camera to distinguish and often cause problems during the later editing phase.
3. Consider Perspectives When Designing a Background
Get everyone on board with the background BEFORE shooting – while this can be quite tricky, actually, it is uber-important to get yourself squared away with what the background will look like. Additionally, it’s a good idea to get feedback from ALL decision-makers involved in the video shoot as to limit a constantly changing background during post-production. In so doing, make sure everyone knows what the background is going to look like. Create storyboards to demonstrate how the subject will appear on the background and include a variety of samples to provide all involved an idea of what a person will appear like in the frame.
If a background has been pre-determined and more than one camera is being used, make sure that the background perspective changes in response to the camera angle change – or, let us put it this way: If the camera angle and/or framing of the individual being shot changes but the background doesn’t, your video is going to come off looking like a cheap local cable spot. Further, think about each camera’s “focal length;” make sure the close-up shot is more out-of-focus than the wide, and that the angle of the background matches the camera’s angle change.
4. Does Your Talent Display a Difficulty Remembering Their Lines? Use a Teleprompter!
Normally associated with Presidential speeches and those of Presidential hopefuls, the teleprompter can be an invaluable resource for green screen video spokespeople that may be having some difficulty with his or her lines of dialogue. Teleprompting creates the illusion that the presenter is talking directly to the viewer, and to maintain that illusion, typical practice is to use a beam splitter mirror so that the text is projected from directly in front of the lens, and the talent’s eyeline is natural. If the prompter screen is offset, it may appear that the talent is talking past the audience – especially in close-ups.
Ensure you have a teleprompter prepped and ready to go if your talent finds him or herself with a lot of lines or is having trouble remembering them.
5. Be Sure That Your Camera Has the Correct Settings Optimal for Shooting on Green Screen
Before shooting green screen footage, it’s vital to ensure your camera’s white balance is set correctly. White balance aids in balancing saturation of colors present in a more realistic way and also sets up a camera’s sensitivity to colors according to lighting set up – so this yields white that appears as pure white, red that appears red, green that appears green and blue that appears blue. In the case you have a light source that’s emitting a slightly red color, this will result in a reddish tint on your footage…but this can be easily corrected by setting up the white balance.
Additionally, before shooting green screen footage it is a good idea to use the lowest ISO settings possible. High ISO settings introduce noise, which is not suitable for chroma keying; you need to set up ISO as low as possible to ensure a good key. There’s also the shutter speed to take into consideration, as motion blur can occur as a result of low amounts of shutter speed should the subject, or even a part of him or her, be in motion. Moving objects in front of a green screen boasting high motion blur are difficult to key, and more often than not will make green screen footage unusable. To get rid of motion blur, just increase the shutter speed.
Other tips here include turning off the auto exposure feature and setting it to manual mode, turning off autofocus, setting aperture values to as low as possible and avoiding the use of any sharpening or picture-style presets built into the camera.
From green screen studio rental services and video production studio facilities to studio equipment rental packages, Multiverse Media Group has everything you need when you want to leave the green screen details to the pros.