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There are times when you have the model, but your location gets rained out. Or you have the perfect setting, but no model on-hand to put in the scene. That doesn’t have to mean a lost opportunity.
Maybe you’re shooting for a composite, ad or marketing piece and you don’t want to monkey around removing the background in post.
Though it is almost always preferable to have both your subject and your locale together at the same time so you can get it right in-camera, sometimes it can be easier to focus on getting the subject and the background the way you want separately. In just such a case, a green screen can be the perfect way to go.
Setting up the screen
The first step, before the subject even arrives, is to setup the green screen. Here, we’re just going to do a head and shoulders shot, so we’re going to use a small green screen to cover the area behind the subject.
I’m using a Westcott 5′x7′ Reversible Chroma Key Green/Blue collapsible background. When you buy one of these, the reason you will see most of them having both a green and blue side is that you want the background to have a solid color that is not found on your subject.
Most of the time the Chroma Key Green is nowhere to be found on your subject and it will do the trick. However, if your subject is wearing a light green, but no blue, you can just flip it around and still make it work. Either way, you want to make sure there is a distinct edge between your subject and the background so you can make accurate selections later.
Lighting the background
With the background in place, it’s time to light it. With my experience working in video, I am more comfortable shooting with continuous lighting when working with green screens. I set a pair of Lowel Omni Focus Flood lights on either side of the screen to evenly fill the background , making it even more distinct from the subject.
Strobes will also work, but the key is to get even light. This may mean using several lights or place the light far away from the green screen.
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