Green Screen Video – the process by which you shoot something against a green background and then later replace the background with something else – is becoming more and more popular every day. With the cost of computing now down to a point that it’s accessible to virtually anyone and the proliferation of cheap video cameras and software, it’s now possible to do things that until recently were only accessible to movie studios and high-end post production facilities.

We’ve all seen the weather report on the news with the meteorologist superimposed on the weather map. In reality, he or she is standing against a green or blue screen. Why green or blue? Those colors were chosen because they are the least like skin tone and therefore easier for computer software to take out of a segment of video. If someone with really green eyes were to do a green screen video, the green part of their eyes would disappear in the final video, which would make for a very strange effect. For a good result, you should avoid wearing the same color as the background on which you’re shooting.

Lighting is a big deal when shooting green screen video. It’s important to eliminate shadows because shadows are what will make it difficult for the software to do its job later. The more effort you spend on lighting, the more likely it is that you’ll get a good result (assuming you know what you’re doing).

To be invisible during a production (for example, you need someone on the set to hold a prop or assist in some other way, but you don’t want to see them in the final video), you’ll put them in a green screen suit, which will cover the person completely in green so the computer can remove them from the video later.

When putting in the background, consider a moving image, rather than still. Even if your scene is “static”, like a shot of a harbor, it’s much more believable when there are things moving in the background, even if it’s just the water rippling or the occasional boat sailing by. Obviously, other environments (like an office) might not be appropriate for a lot of movement but something subtle like a clock with the second hand moving, or a computer monitor/TV with a slowly moving graphic won’t be too distracting.

Where’s the best place to go for green screen equipment? We recommend BH Photo Video. They’ve got pretty much everything you need, including lighting and digital backgrounds for good quality green screen video.