What Is Green Screen And How Does It Work?
What Is Green Screen And How Does It Work?
Green screen plays an important role in videography. Learn what a green screen is and how it works.
It's not always possible to shoot videos and pictures in interesting locations with unique backgrounds. They can be remote or inaccessible. Or even worse, nothing, like fantasy or science fiction.
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But, that doesn't mean making videos with amazing backdrops exclusive to big-budget studios. Thanks to the green screen, everyone can be anywhere at any time in their videos. So, what is a green screen?
What are Green Screens?
In photography and videography, a green screen is a bright green canvas background that allows photo and video editors to change their entire background in post-production. The goal is to make the transition from the shooting location to the edited background as smooth and natural as possible.
Green screens are usually made of stretchable synthetic nylon spandex, but any light green fabric can be used as a green screen, although with varying results.
In fact, some people paint their walls bright green to mimic a green screen. Basically, the green screen acts as a background replacement. This is the biggest indication that whatever is shot will have a completely different background.
Why Must It Be Green?
The choice of green may seem a little confusing at first, but the answer is very easy. People, and most clothing, furniture and decorations, are not green. While green is a color that stands out in nature, it is rarely used in fashion or everyday decor, be it a home, office or coffee shop.
Other colors, such as brown, yellow, orange, and red can be found in a variety of colors around and even as undertones in people's skin and hair. While it is possible, when it's time to replace the screen with the background, those colors make the job ten times more difficult.
How Do Green Screens Work?
Conceptually, green screens rely on simple techniques. However, in practice, small details and changes in light exposure can cause significant changes in the resulting image quality.
When preparing a green screen, it is important that the entire surface is uniform. It requires even, strong lighting and the canvas material needs to be as straight as possible with few to no wrinkles that create troublesome contrast.
You also have to be careful that actors or models don't cast shadows on the green screen by using overhead lighting.
Green Screens Vs Blue Screens
Blue is another color that is not often used in artificial objects and people. Not to mention, blue is the rarest color in nature, because very few animals or plants are blue.
Various types of “green” screen colors were used in the early to mid-20th century in black and white films and plays, but these colors became popular after the advent of digital cameras. Digital cameras tend to capture twice as much green as all other colors, including blue. That means it's easier to select and replace the green background in post-production than any other color.
Not only that, green screens also require very little light to be bright, which means you need less exposure on set shots. Perfect for photographers and studios working on a budget.
But one of the biggest downsides to green screens is their brightness. There's a lot of spillage of color into other parts of the set. So, whoever or whatever you shoot will reflect the green light. That's especially a problem when shooting shiny or reflective objects.
Blue screens are much easier to use when recording dark scenes, where there shouldn't be much light. Plus, they're easier to fit melted objects onto the green screen, like blonde hair. However, blue screens are more expensive to use because they require more light to work properly.
Green screens have been used in film since the 1940s and are still around today. The bright green canvas is still the same. It is a photography and key technology that evolves with every new digital camera and video editing software.
Some film studios with higher budgets are ditching green and blue screens in favor of curved LED screens. However, green screens are unlikely to disappear anytime soon as they are cheap to implement and easy to use with the help of modern keying software.
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