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Guerrilla Diary: shooting green screen

Justin Hunt of Ember films shoots the green screen assets for our HitFilm exercise
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So today, what we’re doing is we’re setting up a green screen shoot. Now this shoot involves an actor in a vehicle, and what we’re doing is we’re putting a green screen behind the driver’s window so that we can comp in any given background which we choose. We’re also going to shoot those back plates later on today. So we’re going to do a variety of different shots. We’re lighting the actor separate to the green screen. So we’re making sure that we’ve got a nice, flat, even green key. And then we’re lighting the actor for whatever scene they’re going to be put in. In this case, we’re going to shoot a day scene and a night scene.
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In the shot, which we’re going to eventually comp into our night scene, we’re going to flash some lights over the bonnet, and over the actor to simulate street lamps and cars passing by. Using those kinds of practical lighting techniques will hopefully make it easier in post. One of the things we can do on set as well, is because we’ve got a car window open we’re simulating the wind coming in through the window. So by having elements of the actor’s hair move to the wind, and their clothing, will also help to create a realistic scene.
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One of the things we can do on set to make it easier for the guys in post, is to bring the shots which we’ve just filmed here in the studio into the iMac. There, we can check that we can key the scene correctly. That the lighting is correct for the space or the environment which we’re eventually going to create around the subject. And to overall check the image, because, essentially, anything which we want to tweak within that shot, we can do it because we’re already set up in the studio. Moving of the wheels. Move the wheel, and then we’ll cut while we’re moving the wheels. That’s good. Good. Good. OK, cut.

It’s time to look at our Guerrilla Diary again. This week Justin Hunt of Ember films runs us through how he shot the elements you’ll be using next to create your own green screen shot. As always, there’s an emphasis on using lights (and even wind!) to make the shot look as natural as possible, rather than relying on it all to be created in the software later.

Also note Justin’s caution- he always tries to check the shot is working in the software. Sometimes a green screen can look fine to the eye, but only later you find out you were fooled when you try to key it at home. So, checking the key in software on the shoot might disrupt your flow and cause a bit of anxiety if you are pushed for time, but in the end it will save you both time and money!

Now, shooting a car green screen is a very useful skill, but can you think of a more imaginative use of green screen in a studio, using lights to suggest a particular scene? Maybe you could add a green screen to the ideas you had in Week 1. Tell us what you’d like to shoot and how you might do it, in the Comments below.

Once you’ve seen the video, it’s time to dive in to this week’s HitFilm tutorial with Simon Jones- coming up next!

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Visual Effects for Guerrilla Filmmakers

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