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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsSo when we're shooting green screen there are lots of different challenges which we have to look at. We can have bad focusing, we can have green spill on a subject, we can have a gradient in the background. Getting a nice even key of light on the background is really important. Sometimes when we're lighting an actor in the scene as well, we're introducing loads of different lights to get the right kind of exposure on the actor as well as on the green screen and that can cause us some difficulties, especially with casting shadows on the green screen. So that's one thing we have to be really careful about. We're lighting the two different elements separately.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 secondsSo we're making sure that we've got a flat even key and our subject is lit for whatever scene they're going to be comped into. And obviously by introducing a variety of different lights and a variety of different lighting techniques, we have to be careful to make sure that we don't cast shadows on that green screen. And also, while you're on set, to do test keys as well. If you've got a laptop or an iMac or anything like that, let's just bring the footage in and do a quick key of it and I think that's really important because you're there, you're in the moment. You can always tweak the lighting to get the perfect key.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 secondsSo, the reason we're using green is because it's the opposite colour to the skin tones and the reds in the skin. However, if your subject is green, for example, like Kermit the Frog, then maybe we'd use a blue screen. Whatever background colour you're using is an opposing colour to your subject may be.

Insider tips on shooting green screen

Justin Hunt, the director of photography for our Guerrilla Diary sections, has been shooting green screens for years. In this video he shares some of his tips with us.

To Justin, it’s essential that the back screen is lit separately from the foreground. Sometimes that’s not as easy as it sounds.

Preparation for shooting a green screen is always important, it’s really not worth rushing because you’ll pay for it later with more time in front of your computer screen, tweaking at pixels, and cursing whoever shot your footage!

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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:

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    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
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    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.

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    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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