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This content is taken from the Norwich University of the Arts (NUA), HitFilm & MPC's online course, Visual Effects for Guerrilla Filmmakers. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds Hi, I’m Scott Newstead. I’m here today to check out this room I’m borrowing to do some green screen pick up shots. It’s not a proper studio. So let’s go check it out and see what it’s like.

Skip to 0 minutes and 25 seconds OK, so the first thing we need to do is we need to black out the room. So what I’ve done here is just black out these windows, just to make sure we’ve got no light leak. OK, so now that I’ve blacked out the room, I’m ready to unravel my green screen. So first of all, you know, it’s important to make sure you’ve got really uncreased, clean, flat screen.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 seconds Here we have two sets of lights. One set for the background. One set for the foreground.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 seconds If I plug any cables in, I’m just going to get a rough layout of the lights. We’ve put these brollies on just to diffuse the light. When I first initially set up the light, it was very harsh. And I was getting a lot of bright spots in the corner of my green screen. What I’ve done here is I’ve added a slightly warmer philtre to create a difference between the foreground light and the background light.

Skip to 1 minute and 33 seconds Rules for a green screen. One, keep a really good distance from your background to your foreground. Two, light your background and foreground separately. Number three, light your foreground subject with the background plate that you have in mind. For example, if you have a dark, dingy bar, then you’re not going to want a really bright light for your subject. Number four, for soft edges like hair, use a software key on a laptop on set. Do a test. Number five, if you are going to be moving you camera, make sure you’ve got tracking markers on set. If you want to do some green screen outside, might be worth just investing in a pop-out green screen, just like this one.

Setting up a green screen, guerrilla-style

You don’t need to hire a Green Screen studio if you know what you’re doing. Save money by using a church hall, youth club, hotel function room- wherever the conditions are right.

In this video guerrilla filmmaker Scott Newstead of Peninsula films shows how he takes over a space to create a green screen.

Note how Scott is particularly keen to control the light of the space, and even uses separate lights for the foreground and background. What do you think are the main important points he makes? It might also be an idea to write down his tips, in case you need them one day.

Would you be able to do something similar if you needed to? It might be an idea to get together with some friends and try taking over an area to use for a green screen shoot. Take your copy of HitFilm with you and get a feel for how the lighting effects the end result. It’s a good idea to learn lessons this way, when there’s no pressure. If you do get a chance to do this, tell us all how you got on, maybe even show a still of your set-up or end result. If it’s not quite worked out, we might even collectively be able to advise why.

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This video is from the free online course:

Visual Effects for Guerrilla Filmmakers

Norwich University of the Arts (NUA)

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