Green screen videos, when done right, open up endless possibilities for video creators. When you are otherwise hindered by location or surroundings, the right green screen scenario can take your subject anywhere you want to go. Today I’m going to show you just a few basic green screen video examples and tips created by Stories and Stills for a recent project, as well as a slightly more technical example where we placed a real-life elf on a shelf!
To start with, professional green screen videos require great lighting and a lot of it. You can’t simply point one light at your subject and hit record. In order for the keying or editing software to cleanly replace the green screen with your background or 3D environment, the subject and the green screen itself must be lit separately. Stories and Stills recently created short business introduction videos for members of the business networking group, BEN (Business ExSellence Network) located in Aiken, SC. In order to make the filming process as convenient as possible for the business owners, we brought our portable green screen kit to their meeting at Woodside Country Club. Our portable green screen kit consists primarily of the pop-up green screen, stand, two light for the green screen, and two lights for the subject(s).
Why so many lights? If you don’t light the green screen separately, the lights in front of the subject cast shadows onto the green screen. The shadows would then cause keying (green replacement) issues in the software when editing in post. In other words, it’s definitely not going to look good or realistic. Also, in order for you subject to be clearly and evenly lit, you need dedicated lights shining directly onto them. So, four lights may sound like a lot, but in some situations you may even need more than that, especially if you are planning to emphasize the ground in your video or create hair lighting to help your subject stand out even more from the background. All of which are very important for our green screen video examples and tips.
If you’re wondering what kind of lights we prefer to use for our green screen video shoots, here ya go. For our subject lighting, we use two led panel lights with diffuser, adjustable temperature, and brightness. To light our green screen, we use a couple of 3 1/2 foot led lights positioned vertically to fully and evenly light our green screen. If you’re looking for affordability, look around for innovative ways to create your own green screen lights on the web. There are some great ways to save money and still create a professional result.
Now for some examples of the green screen videos. The following videos are the simple, brief business introduction videos we produced for the members of the BEN group. In order to really make the subject look as if they were actually in the spaces we replaced in the backgrounds, we added some simple effects in post production. All of the images we chose for the backgrounds have light coming in through a window or something similar. In order to make it look as if that light was pouring onto our subjects, we added a subtle animated light overlay that matched the color temperature of the light in the picture. Upon first glance you might not notice it, but that is the objective isn’t it? We want a natural, realistic look, and we definitely achieved it. In order to further cement the look, we added a drop shadow off of our subject in the proper direction and intensity of the room. After all, if our subject is “really” in the room, they’re going to cast a shadow right?
For this example, our objective was to shrink down our subject to the size of an elf on a shelf and place her on a fireplace mantle. To achieve this effect, we filmed our elf in front of the green screen, while sitting on a green box in the position she would be sitting if actually on a mantle. Then, we replaced the background and drew a mask around her in order to ensure the background was completely replaced once added to the fireplace scene. Then, we had to track the elf video to the mantle to ensure that she stayed on the mantle as the camera moved. And finally, we added a drop shadow to make her a real part of the scene. A lot of little steps for a short shot, but it really sold the commercial. Here’s that commercial. Don’t miss the elf of the shelf (mantle)!