The green screen is the most commonly used when visual effects needs to be added in a project. Two Simple reasons. First, that it is a colour that is least likely to match or blend with the human skin tone. This keeps the actor or actors from merging with the background. And the second that it allows for a variety of effects to be added with relative ease compared to any other colour. A little oversight however will ensure that you spend hours fixing later on. In this post, we speak of errors that you should avoid at all costs and a few simple tips to make things easier.
10 Common Errors to Avoid On a Green Screen
We already said that a little oversight means that you are going to have a lot of fixing to struggle with during postproduction. Here is the list of the 4 most common errors.
If the front light is too strong or if the actor is too close to the screen, a dark cast falls on the green screen. This cast cannot be blended in and looks shabby on the result.
Either tone done the front light or have the actor stand a little farther away from the screen. The actor standing a little far away is a better choice to go with.
Wearing any shade of a green while shooting on a green screen. When working on the Chroma key, even the clothing of the actor seems like a part of the background to the software. And what you get in the end is a floating head.
Just make sure you don’t wear any shade of green.
The lighting aimed at the background is uneven, you have darker and lighter areas on the green screen
This can be adjusted using the key light effects in after effects and the similar effects in Chroma key. However, the best solution to this is fixing the lighting while you are shooting so can spare time on fixing.
Wrinkling of the screen
Wrinkles and folds on the green screen causes image distortion and heavy shadows which on post-production gives you poor quality results.
Before you begin filming, ensure that the green screen isn’t wrinkled and there are no folds visible on camera.
Stay within the frame
Sometimes there isn’t a lot of room to move around in front of the green screen background. If a shot goes beyond the screen, then in post-production the artist will need to rotoscope every single action at least at 24 frames per minute to recreate the movement for the visual effects. This takes up a great deal of time and is simply just annoying.
It is quite simple actually. Shoot the portion again till it fits right on the green screen. This might seem like a waste of time but in the long run, it saves you from wasting time in post-production.
Blurring of motion
Shooting with a camera that has a low shutter speed in front of the green screen results in motion blur. In post-production, the blur blends into the background that makes it look like a part of the actor or subject is missing.
Either you can ask your actors to move slow in front of the camera or you can use a camera with a higher shutter speed. The latter maybe a better choice.
Leaving out a back light
Sometimes after the background is replaced, the actor seems to blend into the background and look flat. This happens due to the bright lights that are used to the green even light.
Add a backlight between the green screen and the actor facing the back of the actor. This improves definition of the actor in the final video.
Check the props before shooting
In the rush to get everything ready and setup, sometimes the props get neglected a little. That doesn’t mean that they are forgotten it just means that sometimes they are checked all too thoroughly. Shiny props reflect on the green screen and cause uneven lighting that shows even after the Chroma key is applied.
Check the props carefully and ensure that none of them is too shiny or have too many reflective surfaces.
The following two aren’t exactly errors but they are definitely better avoided.
Not checking if the camera sharpening is turned off
If the camera you are using has an automatic sharpening feature, you need to consider turning this off. This will create the hard edges between your actor and the background.
Not aiming the shot right
This isn’t exactly an error but it certainly helps get a better shot. Focusing just a little behind the actor and before the green screen allows you to capture everything happening in the background and actors too.
Hope these help reduce the burden of fixing errors in your next film making project! Learn more on what you can do better when making a film with us.