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How to Choose the Light for Green Screen

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Mar 25, 2021• Proven solutions

One of the most important aspects of shooting any type of green screen project is the appropriate form of lighting. If the green screen is too bright, dark, uneven, or simply isn’t lit correctly, chances are that the photographers will have problems in pulling a good matte. Be it a large screen in a studio or a small portable green screen, the concepts will be the same and only the scale of distance and light will be adjusted for every setup. 

While there is a lot of information out there on how to set up the green lighting properly, most of the professionals don’t cover the most simple and straightforward points and tend to forget the basics. In this guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about the kind of light that is best for a green screen and the methods that are effective to fix the green screen.

Section 1. Which Light is the Best for a Green Screen?

There are several creative ways to properly light a green screen background. Photographers can use different scenarios and angles to fix the green screen setup. But they must consider a few fundamental factors to get the desired results, regardless of how small or big the project is. Let’s discuss them below in detail. 

1. Even Lighting

The goal of green lighting is to make it even. It is necessary to do so because it helps in ensuring that there is nothing in between and the green coloring has no shadows or spots, making it even assists with the Chroma key process in the post-production. 

Furthermore, you will also need a light green screen separately for your actors. While doing so, make sure that the actors are at least at a distance of six feet. Remember matching the lighting on your actor in the desired scene once the green screen is composited. 

 

2. Soft and Diffuse Lighting

Another important factor to consider is to use big, soft light sources. With the help of the soft lights, you can balance the lighting in the shooting scenario and can also make use of large silk frames or consider on-light diffusion boxes to diffuse your lights. It is necessary to do so because hard light sources without any diffusion will increase the chances of hot spots on green screen background. Another way for those who do not have a budget can utilize a white bed sheet on a C-stand a few feet in front of your light.

 

3. Light Separately from the Subject

The placement and location of your lighting matters. If you are using two different lights to brighten your background, make sure that you place one light on each side of the green screen. Ensure placing it a few feet behind on a 45-degree angle. However, you should adjust the angle of each light to ensure that they are not overlapping much in the center. 

Also, in order to maintain consistency, you must use the same lights on each side of the green screen. If you are preparing for a bigger production, you may require more materials such as additional lights, overhead lighting, and more diffusion, however, the basic principles discussed here will remain the same.

 

4. Price of Green Screen

The green screen comes in different price ranges depending on its use by several kinds of professionals. The quality of the green screen depends on the price which will affect the overall visual result too. While a professional green screen can be purchased for as little as $50, beginners can buy a green muslin backdrop cloth or a starter green screen for as low as $20. If you are on a tight budget, an easy way out is to create your own green screen for a smaller project. But you must prefer buying professional ones for better results if you can afford them.

Learn More: Make the Best Choice with Green Screen Price>>>

Section 2. How to Light the Green Screen?

Lighting a green screen is simple but it can become a hassle when the source image is not right. In this section, we will elaborate on the correct and incorrect fix methods and techniques of the light in front of the green screen and how to fix it.

 

1. Correct Basic Green Screen Lighting Techniques

Since every professional's lighting rig will vary based on several factors, here’s a display of the basic set-up of the Chroma screen lighting. You will notice that the screen and the subject are lit separately. 

2. Set Up the Equipment

When you have the green screen equipment in hand, you should first smooth out the material if you have a paper or a fabric green screen. You must make sure that you avoid any reflective materials in the shot. 

3. Use the Same Lights

You will require two lights on the green screen. Experts recommend Kino Flo fluorescent lights and Diva 400s for suitable results. If you want to opt for cheap lighting, you can consider some clamp lights for under $10 each. Both lights must be the same to ensure similar color and temperatures.

 

4. Light the Subject First

After getting the lights, you will get that perfect shade but make sure whether or not the subjects are lit properly. The subjects should be eight feet away from the screen where you will need key light, backlight, and fill light.

5. Green Screen Lighting

Once the subject is in order, you must position the lights to target the green screen. Ensure keeping both of them at the same distance and at similar angles, like the below diagram. After fixing it, expose the green screen correctly by examining your camera.  

 

Section 3. Incorrect Basic Green Screen Lighting Methods and How to Fix Them

1. Placing Damaged Green Screen

Professionals often think that using a wrinkled, torn, stained, or chipped green screen won’t harm as it will already be composited. You must understand that having a clean and fresh green screen is mandatory as any damage to the screen can bring shadows in the video, making the editing procedure difficult. Make sure that you steam or iron the fabric accordingly to fix it.

 

2. Uneven Green Screen Lighting

One of the incorrect methods involves overexposure or setting uneven green screen lighting during production as they tend to change the color. For a smoother view, ensure that the green screen is evenly lit. Use two same lights on the opposite side of the screen to do so. Placing them a few feet away from the screen and adjusting the angles can help in even distribution on the screen.

  

3. Subjects Wearing Green Clothing, Accessory, or Makeup

Green objects and subjects disappear in the footage as the Chroma keying process involves discarding all green hues from the video. But some professionals end up doing this mistake. Therefore, they must avoid wearing green shoes, clothes, and accessories during production to fix this issue. 

Section 4. Use Multipurpose Software Tool FilmoraX to Edit Green Screen Videos

Now that you know the basics of choosing to light the green screen, the next process will be to edit the videos using the Chroma key. One of the best software tools FilmoraX can assist you in using this great technique to swap the background of a particular video with another color or image. Make use of the great feature Chroma key in FilmoraX to create high-quality videos of your choice in no time.

Learn More: Tips for using Green Screen>>>

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Liza Brown
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.