What Is Green Screen For Photography?
Green screen, commonly known as "Chroma Key", is the method of using a green (or blue) background on a soundstage or studio to shoot video or photography.
This allows an editing team to pick a specific colour (the bright green or blue, depending on what colour is best to contrast against the characters, props, and costumes), and eliminate it from the shot completely to replace it with a digital image.
Matt Lucas and his stunt double on the set of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Especially when it comes to fantastical films that feature characters or sets that reach beyond what prop, set, and costuming teams can realistically achieve, greenscreens are incredibly handy when mixed with the skill of a CGI team.
Green Screen For Photography can also be much more efficient and cost-effective than the alternative of building sets and allow significantly more freedom when it comes to otherwise dangerous or impossible practical effects. Greenscreens also have a lot of everyday usefulness and are growing in popularity for online streamers such as on Twitch and YouTube, giving creators more freedom to include themselves in a gaming stream for example, without the creator cam taking up a large space on the screen.
Chroma Key Green and Chroma Key Blue are also both specific colours, optimised for the best result for chroma key editing.
How to use a Green Screen
Step 1: Find an appropriate green screen for photography. This could be anything from a small pop-up background or a larger background on a stand. See below for some product recommendations!
Step 2: Check what shots you need, and how to go about these. Storyboard it out, and make sure you can achieve what you're setting out to do.
Step 3: Make sure you or your subject is well-lit! However, if you are shooting a greenscreen to edit in a different set, you will need to make sure your lighting matches the scene. Find a range of Green Screen lighting kits for photography on our website here: https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/collections/green-screen
Make sure to also evenly light your green screen behind your subject too. If the background looks flat and even, it will be easier to remove in editing.
Step 3: Record or Shoot!
Step 4: Editing. Put a rough cut together to see what you want to use before you go ahead and key all your footage. You never know what you might cut!
Step 5: Keying. Different editing programs will have different guides for keying footage. Check below for Adobe and DaVinci guides.
Note: Using greenscreen for streaming? This will also depend on what software you're using for your stream. Follow Steps 1 and 3 above, and make sure you have a decently high-quality webcam or camera, but then check your software website for how to optimise a stream with a live greenscreen. We also have a livestream section for lighting on our website! https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/collections/social-media-livestreaming
Green Screen Equipment
Depending on your set and what you're aiming to achieve with your green screen for photography, there are a huge range of options to suit you.
For Streamers and Creators:
This set is perfect for one to two people sat for a livestream! The background folds and collapses into a small bag when not needed, making it super easy to store or transport, and it can fit into a relatively small space if you've only got a small streaming room. This background is also double sided, with Chroma Green on one side and Chroma Blue on the other.
For an even more efficient option, look at the freestanding roll-up retractable green screen. This one sets up like a normal roller banner and can be set up and down within a matter of seconds, and stored easily too!
If you've already got a background system or stand handy, a vinyl roll might work for you! At 2.7m wide and 4m long, it's a decent size, can be pulled down to cover part of the floor if needed, and can be rolled away and stored when you're finished with it.
This option is more appropriate if you need a panoramic background, and is great for event photographers and is on a self-supporting frame.
Looking for something more flexible? The 3x6m Muslin Backdrop is particularly versatile if you need to cover a larger space. Make sure you steam any creases out if it has been folded however, to ensure a smooth and flat background!
Note: This is the largest size we offer for Chroma Key/Green Screen backgrounds for photography. If you need a larger size, we recommend either using Green Screen Fabric, or using Green Screen Paint.
Need some assistance with your green screen shoot equipment or not sure what to pick? Contact our team at email@example.com for some equipment recommendations and some tailored advice.