I have always wanted to create my own green screen videos but I thought these types of videos were only for the pros or gurus online and that I could not do it because it was too complicated or expensive. I spent some time researching how to actually create these types of green screen videos that are all over the internet. After some research I finally decided to pull the trigger and get some of the equipment needed to create these types of videos. I don't have an unlimited budget for this setup and I know most people do not either so I tried to minimize costs in this project while also trying to get everything I needed. I know you will enjoy learning how it's all done. ENJOY!
Equipment For Your Green Screen Setup
After doing some research I decided that instead of ordering everything separately I would just order a green screen kit. After browsing Amazon and reading tens of hundred of customer reviews trying to find the perfect solution I finally decided on a green screen kit! This kit includes three different color background mats in green, black, and white. It includes four different lights and a metal stand to hang your green screen. It's kind of like an all in one starter kit for people who want to get started making green screen videos. You can check it out on Amazon here.
So after ordering on Amazon with two day shipping I was anxious to get my new kit and set everything up! As soon as the package arrived I ripped everything apart and got it all setup in my game room (remember you need a big wall to setup the stand and screen) but I was not even close to being ready to shoot any videos… First off the green screen had a bunch of wrinkles in the fabric as you can see in the image below. My friend was posing in front of the green screen while I took a picture.
Let's Talk About Green Screens Wrinkles!!!
Man those wrinkles are terrible!!! After doing some serious ironing on the green screen I put it back up and it still had some wrinkles in the fabric so I had to break out my Steamfast SF-407 Fabric Steamer. Yes, I got it on Amazon and yes it is freaking amazing at getting these massive wrinkles out of the muslin fabric. Make sure you put purified water in the fabric steamer because tap water can cause the machine to break. I'm not really sure how it all works but something about the chemicals in tap water can clog up the system. (Sorry for the fabric steamer rant! – Back to the topic at hand) Even after using the fabric steamer the screen still had a few little wrinkles so I ran to Lowes and grabbed some of these clips to help stretch the green screen which was attached to the metal stand. I should have bought the 6 pack on Amazon with my order but I had no idea I was going to need them because the kit did not come with enough clips for my use but if I had to do it over again I would just buy them with the kit.
Let's Talk Lighting
Lighting is crucial for your green screen videos because if you don't get it right in this step then you will have trouble when you try to edit out the background which I will cover in step 2 of this tutorial series. The image below is a basic lighting setup you will want to use for your videos in order to get a good picture. The whole point of this setup is to light the green screen and make sure you stand ahead of the backdrop lighting so there aren't any shadows from your left and right lights onto your backdrop. The front light is to LIGHT YOU so that you can edit out the green screen later when we edit your video with software in step 2 of this series so don't worry too much about that now. This step is very annoying as you will have to make slight adjustments to make sure the green color looks the same all across your video frame. I had my live camera image mirrored on a tv so I could see how everything looked when I setup a shot. I had to reposition the backdrop lights a few times to get everything perfect so don't worry if you have to adjust the lighting angeles to get it right! Also please remember all four lights you will need come included with the kit on Amazon so they got you covered and we will be using two different lights for the front lighting angle. I know that the graphic only shows 3 lights but the more the merrier!
Let's Talk About Video
Having a good camera for your green screen video is essential! I didn't want to use the built in webcam on my Macbook because I wanted something serious so I grabbed the Logitech C920 which can shoot in full 1080P but it had a couple issues in my tests! The video did not turn out well once I used editing software and the software is for Windows not Mac so I can't speak for Windows users but I could not get a good video with my Macbook so I had to use my other “backup” camera which is a Sony Alpha SLT-A33. This Sony camera is a kick ass photo taking camera but has what looks like true uncompressed 1080P video! If I didn't have the Sony camera sitting around then I would probably have tried the Logitech Webcam C930e which is a business model so I would expect it to be better than the C920. Maybe I would have fiddled with the software settings to try and get a better picture but I can't really say. The video I shot at the beginning of this post was with an Iphone so you can probably get a good picture from any smartphone with a good camera assuming you have it mounted somehow.
P.S. I love Logitech and this is not meant to bash them or their products. I believe the C920 is a good camera for Skype or other applications but I don't think it was built to be used for green screen videos.
Remember It's Not Magic
Making a green screen video is not magic but it does take some time to figure everything out. I hope you guys enjoyed part 1 of this series and I look forward to seeing you in part 2. In part 2 I will have some live green screen video for you guys to see how everything looks live! I can't wait to shoot some videos but if you have any tips or tricks please leave a comment below.