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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsHi, 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 secondsOK, 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 secondsHere we have two sets of lights. One set for the background. One set for the foreground.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 secondsIf 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 secondsRules 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)

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

  • Storyboards are only one way to communicate. Lets look at some VFX definitions.
    Visual effects or special effects?

    Like any creative subject it helps to share definitions about what things mean -this can be confusing for newcomers; it'll help us communicate better.

  • Tracking and layers: a gentle start
    Tracking and layers: a gentle start

    HitFilm guru Simon Jones shows us how to build a dramatic shot in HitFilm using layers of stock footage we provide on the course. Enjoy your 'comping'

  • The Blaine Brothers guide to using VFX
    The Blaine Brothers guide to using VFX

    The Blaine Brothers have a positive can-do attitude to VFX, and see it as a tool that should be used in the service of a story, not as decoration.

  • Still from Georges Méliès' "India Rubber Head" (1901)
    A short history of keying

    Keying isnt just a digital invention. From the early days of cinema in the 19th century film makers had used 'mattes' to amaze their audiences.

  • Insider tips on shooting green screen
    Insider tips on shooting green screen

    Justin Hunt, our long suffering director of photography for our HitFilm footage has years of experience of green screen to share with you here.

  • Cab Calloway (1932) Minnie the Moocher
    What is Rotoscoping?

    Rotoscoping is probably the most time-consuming of VFX techniques. It's often a last resort when you can't pull a key. Let's find out more about it.

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