Video Production Lighting Basics


Ever wondered how your local weatherman magically appears facing a road, simultaneously pushing high-pressure methods across the tri-county area and corny jokes across the studio at the rest of-the Channel 5 Wake-Up Crew?

The one-liners certainly are not from magic–more like candy wrappers and popsicle sticks–and neither is the man-in-front-of-map technology: it is green assessment (a.k.a. chroma keying), the video effect that enables Tom in Topeka to appear o-n the beach in Tahiti, sans plane ticket and sun block.

Whether you are making a green screen video for your own business or for your own amusement–or for telling Laffy Taffy jokes in-front of the Great Lakes Region–you’ll need to properly execute the three main aspects to the process, each of which will be essential to making the dream of chroma key appear true. Well, real in a fake-looking, news anchor’s smile sort of way.


The Screen ‘You are telling me I’ve got to have a green screen for my green screen video? Get out of here.’ Yes, obvious, but not that simple. Beyond just natural, you need your backdrop to be three things: wrinkle-resistant, non-reflective and uniformly colored, that make creating the effect in editing much easier. Many accomplish this by not really employing a ‘screen,’ alternatively choosing a colored piece of plywood (a cloth positively resistant to wrinkles). There’s particular natural display paint, albeit significantly expensive, sold for this type of task.

Of-course, the easiest way to acquire a great green screen is purchasing a professional-quality one, usually made from muslin material, from the many online retailers who sell them in every method of dimensions (just do a Google look for ‘green screen history ‘). And dimension is critical: you must make certain you’ve got enough green to include all your foreground action. But, eschewing the way, I ordered my make-shift back ground at Sears–specifically, in the section designated Softer Side–in the shape of the queen-sized flannel bed sheet, notably flat, perhaps not fitted.

Holding I-t To hang the screen, you can combine two of the aforementioned background methods, attaching the fabric to a board, so as to help make the sheet as clean and flat as possible–remember, that’s important. I attempt task simply by taping my bed sheet to-the wall using masking tape.


Evenness Lighting may be the most critical factor to the process, the one that, if done incorrectly, will sabotage your efforts completely, rendering it impossible to key out the given color range in post-production. And that’s just it: you’ll need as narrow a range as possible of green, so that the application can separate and remove it, while keeping in tact the entirety of your foreground subject. The narrow range is done by evenly premiere light leak the process that’s much easier to type about than carry to fruition, made tedious by these evil creatures called Shadows.

See, when you light your subject within the foreground–and you must, by the way–it’s going to deliver a shadow toward the background, which is going to destroy the evenness (yes, that is a word). It is possible to reduce the darkness of the shadow by, hear this, putting space between the subject and the backdrop, a minimum of a couple of feet, many or more ultimately. However the better basis for creating this place is to allow room to independently light your backdrop.

Setup For my movies, I make use of a basic setup of three lights, every one of which I bought at Home Depot. Toward the subject, I experience a 500-watt Workforce work light, offering two independently movable bulbs along with its extensible framework. To light the setting, I place clamp lights, keeping 200-watt bulbs, o-n either side of sheet. Getting the lighting right usually takes a little while, and you’ll definitely need a subject to test on, so, if you’re planning shooting on a tight routine, ensure you allocate the time beforehand and recruit a stand-in to help.


Software Any of the upper-level editing software systems–namely from the alleged A-team (Avid, Adobe and Apple), as well as from key players like Pinnacle and Sony–will include chroma typing as an element. I use Sony’s Vegas Pro 8.0a; I learned the particulars of making the keying effect from You-tube training videos. When you yourself have done your free light leaks effects properly, summoning the effect is much easier and frustrating.

More information is available here.

Background Image The background does not need to be a still image; it may be another video. The idea is that, before shooting, you must have in mind what you are putting behind your subject in post, as it can influence on-set choices, including wardrobe. For example, for a video I made recently, because I knew the history will be a darker red, I encouraged my video’s subject, a small business owner, to wear a white shirt, in order to develop the contrast necessary to make him stand out.

A significant note, also in regards to wardrobe: make certain your subject is not wearing anything with green in it, because which is keyed out along with the screen. Therefore, if you are subject includes a green circle o-n the chest of his fashionably small designer shirt, you’re likely to literally tear his heart out in the editing process, leaving only a hole through which your back ground image is likely to be apparent. I had suggest you avoid such a scenario–unless, that’s, you want your video to come across as having no heart.


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