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Green Screen Mistakes and How to Never Make Them

If you’re making a corporate or educational video, there’s a good chance you’ll want to use a green screen. A green screen is a simple method of setting your video in a location that doesn’t require any travel. You film your subject in front of a green screen background, and then using video editing software, the green is stripped out (keyed or just removed) and replaced with whatever background you choose to insert.

You can rent a green screen production facility for this purpose, or purchase your own green screen and film wherever you like. It sounds simple enough, but there are a number of common mistakes that can impact the quality of your video. Here are some of the top green screen mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.

Top Green Screen Mistakes

Shadows on the Green Screen

A shadow on your green screen can create a real problem. You don’t want the shadow to appear in your final product, so you will have to eliminate it in editing. The only problem is that if your shadow is too strong, anything you do to try to eliminate it may also eliminate part of the subject that casts the shadow.

This is why professional lighting is so crucial during green screen filming. Try adding more lighting, reconfiguring your lighting, or moving the subject away from the green screen so they cast less of a shadow in order to eliminate shadows on the green screen.

Unevenly Lit Green Screen

With this common mistake, lighting may be very uneven, which leads to unintentional dark and bright areas on the green screen.

The Chroma key process allows video editors to remove a particular color from the image, but when there are different variations of the color because of uneven lighting, it can be more difficult to remove unwanted colors without also clipping away parts of the subject matter.

Professional video editors can use tools like Adobe After Effects to adjust the lighting. However, the easiest way to solve this problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place by using a green screen studio and video production company that is experienced in delivering high-quality green screen videos. Properly lighting the green screen area is essential to the appearance of the final product.

Motion Blur

For most corporate videos, this probably won’t be a problem, but if you do have any fast action in your video, you’ll need to watch out for motion blur. A motion blur problem occurs when your actor is moving so quickly it’s hard for the camera to pick up the motion against the green screen, and the fastest-moving objects tend to blend in with the screen. Shutter speed can help correct this problem. To avoid motion blur problems, shoot at a higher frame rate (like 120 frames per second) then, in post-production, interpret the footage at 30 frames per second, and speed up the clip 4 times.

Green Screen Color Spill

A green screen color spill occurs when you have too much light on the green screen, something that might happen if you’re trying to eliminate shadows on a green screen. You get green fuzzy edges around your object, and the result is that your actor looks like they have a green reflection on their skin. In fact, any object affected by this “green screen bounce” looks like it is surrounded by a green halo, which is not what you want at all.
Resolving this problem again requires an understanding of production lighting. One possible solution is to reduce the wattage of the lights closest to the screen, add additional lights further from the screen, and backlight the subject while making sure they are not too close to the backdrop. It’s also important to ensure that the green screen is evenly lit.

Subject Leaves Green Screen

Sometimes when an amateur is shooting in front of a green screen, the subject or a part of their body may leave the green screen. This can be a mess to fix in post-production since you will have to rotoscope out all the elements that left the frame.

Disappearing Green Screen Subject

One of the most obvious but still common green screen problems among amateurs is when part of the subject disappears into the background once the green screen is keyed out. As you may realize, this happens when the subject is wearing green or is partly colored green. While this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many people forget not to have green in the video when they are shooting with a green screen.

The solution is to check beforehand or reshoot. However, if for some reason it is necessary for you to have green in your video, such as if your company’s logo is green, the solution is to use a blue screen rather than a green screen. When you do this, of course, you need to make sure your subjects do not have any blue on them.

Professional Video Production

The best way to avoid green screen mistakes is to film your video at a professional green screen production facility with a trained staff that knows what the potential mistakes are and how to avoid them. If you’re making a video in the Oklahoma City area, NextThought Studios is the perfect solution. NextThought Studios has green screen spaces for rent, top camera packages,, and professional crews to make your video the high-quality content you deserve. We also have editors and editing software like Adobe After Effects and Chroma Key Process to help you achieve exactly the effects you’re looking for.

NextThought Studios can guide you through every step of your production, not just green screen filming, but also sound mixing, voiceover, storyboarding and every other aspect of your production where you may need assistance.

To learn more about all the ways NextThought Studios can make your next video production a high-quality, professional product that is sure to impress, or to get a free estimate on a video production project contact NextThought Studios online now.

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Josh Shockley, M.A.

Josh Shockley, M.A.

Since cranking out the very first NextThought video, Joshua has been a dynamic force in every creative decision related to NextThought Studios. With a background in documentary production, Joshua has received multiple awards from his science and weather-themed productions. Joshua leads the creation of design and style for our videos, and he serves as a collaborator on every project we undertake. His skill with Adobe After Effects is unparalleled, and NextThought’s graphics are a testament to his creativity. Additionally, Joshua helms a wildly popular gamers’ webcast that publishes almost daily.

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