What do the movie Sin City; countless Britney Spears video clips; your favourite televised weather forecast broadcast; and a 2011 ‘controversial’ video speech by US president Barack Obama all have in common? It may sound like a random list, but we have found at least one thing they share – they all turned to Chroma Key, aka Green Screen studios, to film their audio-visual productions. Well, Obama’s speech was ‘allegedly’ done with the green screen; the White House denied those accusations. You be the judge of that:
Anyway, the technology of Green Screen, more professionally known as the Chroma Key, has been used for video and photo production for some time now. It consists of a process where a production’s subjects are filmed or shot against a single- coloured background (usually green), which afterwards, is made transparent in post- production, allowing it to be replaced with whatever alternate background you choose. Such a process is often termed as keying or chroma keying.
So why green of all colours? Since they are considered the farthest from the average human skin tone, green or blue is often used as backdrops. Also, image sensors in digital video cameras are most sensitive to green. Therefore, the green camera channel contains the least “noise” and can produce the cleanest key/matte/mask. Additionally, less light is needed to illuminate green, again because of the higher sensitivity to green in image sensors. Even though it is most commonly used (and known) for weather forecast broadcasts, this technology can be applied to almost any type of video production.
Need some reasons to go Green? Well, for starters, Chroma Key is very cost effective when you need to produce quick, short videos or interviews with a presenter. If you envision your video to be set in the middle of the Sahara desert or perhaps the Amazon jungle, or any other remote place that is doing to be rather difficult to access, then the best option is to shoot it all in one place with the green background. You can then add in the jungle, desert or whatever backdrop you desire in the editing room.
Another good reason to consider a green screen is the noise factor. If your location is too noisy, then you can shush it and go silent with Green Screen. This technology has extensive usability: if you are planning to travel to multiple locations in the midst of filming your project (and paying each time for the costs that travel and location hiring entails) why not just record it all in a studio and afterwards, change the background for each scene required?
Having the possibility to experiment with background allows you to be more creative and even include animations, cartoons, or fictional characters to your video… with this very versatile technology, those creations you have been imagining, can become a reality. Another reason why many people turn to chroma key, is the possibility to revisit past projects – it allows you the flexibility to add frames and cuts that can be shot and incorporated to existing videos.
If after reading this you are a little curious, why not drop by for a visit and check out Verdi (yes, our own green screen studio has a name). A fully equipped green screen studio can truly transform space or define it. Make sure you keep that in mind when thinking about the production of your next movie, music clip, campaign ad or corporate video – the possibilities are endless.
Examples of scenes you would never guess were filmed with green screen – click here
Have a look at our own Green Screen studio