Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


Green Screen Tips

Even major productions can't get into locations they want. One solution is to green screen your actors into the scene. Even with really good software and proper setup, the whole scene can feel "off" and fake. Here are a few tips for selling a green screen scene should you find yourself needing to fake it.

1. Establish
Use a solid establishing shot to help the audience know where the actors are supposed to be. This is even more effective if, as in this example, the audience is already familiar with the place.

2. Contextualize
Because green screen scenes are shot in a space that is not the real location, it's easy to forget that the location is supposed to have other people in it. It's a good idea to have a couple extras walk through the frame from time to time to make the scene feel more like it's an actual location than a couple people sitting in front of a painted wall.

3. Make the Best of It
Matching the lighting between your actors and the backdrop is essential. Also, try to remove all the green from the edges, but watch the edge fading as that can look fake too. Ultimately, however, the scene may just look like a green screen, so roll with it. Your story matters more than the effects... unless you're doing an effects movie, in which case, you'd have a production schedule and style that's set up to mask this kind of thing.

One last idea: Match the environment. If it's outside, have fan blow on your actors a bit. If there are things that make sounds--like a fountain--add those bits in post. Selling a green screen shot is all about paying attention to details and working to match them between the foreground and the background.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor


Video Production Dallas said...

Great tips! I especially like the concept of adding sound and even WIND to your set to make it seem more real!

Luke Holzmann said...



Andrew James said...

Nice tips. One of the most important things a photographer or videographer must consider is the lighting. You can’t shoot a good video without a good lighting. If a green screen is improperly lit, post production can be difficult since the background can be difficult to key out. Check out some tips also here