Green Screen Filming – A Two Minute Primer for the Uninitiated

A green screen is one of the most important components in the production process of films and videos. The process known as Chroma keying enables editors to film a subject against a green screen and then eliminate the background and place the subject against another background of choice. The technique is handy for filmmakers since it allows them to shoot characters in front of a studio screen and then place them in remote or perilous locations where filming would have been time-consuming and expensive. The use of green color is preferred since it is sharply different from human skin tones and more easily avoidable in costumes and props, making it easier for the green background to be removed digitally.

Typical Uses of Green Screens in Film Production 

The most distinct advantage of using green screens is that the film production can be kept under better control within the sound stage while the actors can still be depicted in remote locations. Additionally, the process allows directors to enable two or more actors to share the same screen when in reality; the sequences have been shot separately and combined later. Moreover, by using a green screen, it is possible to shrink or enlarge a character relative to its background. It can also make actors look as if they are flying, move characters to backdrops generated on computers, use characters in locations and environments that are difficult or hazardous to shoot in, etc.

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How Does Green Screen Filming Work

The action is first shot in front of green screen backgrounds in the studio using a digital camera. Thereafter, the editors use software to make the green color of the screen transparent, leaving only the subjects and the props in the foreground. This footage is then combined with an existing background that has been shot separately without the actors, generated using computers, or a mix of the two.

Shortcomings of Green Screen Filming

Even though using green screens is conceptually simple, the process is complicated, and even the smallest of mistakes can make it look artificial and ruin the intended effect. It is vital for the lighting to be balanced perfectly to avoid shadows that can prevent a bad key, according to No Film School. However, ensuring a uniform light balance is harder than it is assumed. It is also critical to avoid using green colors in the actors’ attire and accessories, subjects, or props because then it would be automatically removed during the Chroma keying process. While being cheaper than filming on-location, it is still an expensive and time-consuming process.


Green screens are versatile and allow filmmakers a great deal of creative liberty as long as they can work hard to make it look realistic. By using green screens, filmmakers can plan thrilling scenes or feats that would normally have been impossible to perform on location. The technique protects actors and the crew from the hazards of shooting outdoors in hostile environments. It also permits multiple actors to come together on screen without them facing the camera together. Shoot scheduling becomes far more convenient as filmmakers can accommodate different actors at different times.

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