With the use of a few basic technologies, a professional or amateur can use green screen methods to create movies, commercials, and even photographs to create an image that is part truth and part fantasy. The key to making this type of method work in your favor rests in the green screen lighting you employ during the shoot. Here are a few tips to help make the most of this important element for your next shoot.
1. Eliminate shadows
The biggest thing you need to know about green screen lighting is to eliminate shadows. If there is a shadow in the shot, it will be harder to manipulate the green screen later in the editing process to create the desired effect. The first thing to look at will always be shadows since they essentially ruin the shot. To avoid shadows, choose your lighting wisely. For instance, lighting solutions should be placed on the outskirts of the perimeter above the screen, as well as in the center, to avoid shadowy recesses. You can also avoid shadows by choosing fixture types specifically manufactured for this purpose. If you are an amateur experimenting with the green screen, and professional lighting gear is out of the question, you can choose high quality LED fixtures which are less likely to produce shadows. Another way to eliminate shadows is to position lights overhead so light spread is cast downward as opposed to lighting from underneath the subject.
2. Choose the right color temperature and stay consistent
When it comes to green screen lighting, color temperature is essential to success. You want a color temperature that is more on the cool side of the spectrum than the warmer side. A cool temperature will make the subject less washed out and add a brightness overall whereas a warmer temperature will add a yellow tinge that can be hard to remove in the editing process. While you want to go cool, you also want to avoid the blue tinge end of the spectrum. A good rule of thumb is to opt for around a 4500k on the color temperature scale. It is also crucial that once you commit to a color temperature, you maintain it throughout all of the lighting solutions used in the shoot for the best results. Consistency is key in this task and having two different color temperatures can cause a clash that is visually distorted.
3. Choose higher CRI
Another type of color aspect to be concerned with for green screen lighting is the color rendering index (CRI). This figure measures how well a lighting solution picks up and displays different colors in terms of contrast and visibility. This matters for green screen work because you want crisp, bright colors from the start so you don’t have to try to edit the subject more than necessary. With a CRI of 85+ or higher, you will get the color contrast you are looking for throughout the shoot.