Today I will show you my green screen setup. But first, let’s talk about why I use green screen. My first venture into live action film making we tried to shoot on site. We scouted some locations, we packed the costumes up in a big box, we traveled to the site. And we did some filming.
And then the homeless guy showed up. And then the drug users showed up. And then the police showed up. All of them wanted to know what we were doing. And why I was running around in a goblin costume with a sword. So, we moved to another site. And the police showed up again. They were always nice to us, and let us keep filming. But it was just way too much attention, especially when you are in green makeup and chainmail. It really took the fun out of filming and we almost quit. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you a location where you can film and not get bothered, go do it. It is a thousand times easier to really put your actors on a real location and do your filming. It will look better, feel better, and save you tons of time in post production.
But, here on this tiny island, we just don’t spaces with no people. So, I use a green screen setup in my front yard. This gives me several advantages. I don’t have to pack up the whole truck with costumes. I am pretty hidden from view. And the biggest advantage is I can create any background I desire. If I want a dwarven ruins or an abandoned castle, I just create the set and composite my actor on top. A green screen is really great for fantasy and sci fi settings.
So, this is my setup. It is very basic, and low key. I built a simple wooden frame and installed a metal pole at the top. My green screen fabric that I bought online for about $100 has a hem on one end that is perfect for a pole to slide through.
The wood and stuff in front is not part of the frame. It is a wooden beam set up for a rock ledge shot.
The pole is actually a 10 foot long pole that you can find in the fencing section of the home improvement store.
The fabric slides over the pole .
This shot is for a rock ledge shot. Hero walks across a rock ledge and knocks rocks off. Usually I remove the beam part, and just lay a piece of plywood down on the grass in front.
Nothing will show up in the shot except the boots and the rocks. As hero walks the rocks will get knocked off the ledge. I filmed the boots and the rocks. It looked great in the end.
This how I normally have it set up. The fabric is stretched tight on the frame, held in place with clamps, a piece of plywood lays on the grass, and the fabric is laid over the plywood to make a floor. The plywood keeps the fabric clean. I shoot in daylight so I don’t have to use any lights. And because I have no room to set this up inside.
The fewer wrinkles you have the better it will key. And the more even the lighting is, the better it all works out. So, this is not perfect. I don’t have control over the weather or lighting, but it works pretty well for me. I believe the fabric is 10feet by 15 feet. They sell different sizes online. It is a big investment for us poor film makers, but green screen can be a lot of fun. You will still need some kind of software to remove the greenscreen.
Go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.