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Tips for using Green Screen

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Oct 26, 2023• Proven solutions

Green screens have been used in the entertainment industry since the 19th century and are still one of the most important parts of creating a stream or a motion picture. It has been given this name because a large green screen is placed on the set and used. It is one of the major visual effects tools that is being used by video editors all around the world.

Green screens can be hectic to use, but with these important tips, you’ll be able to learn much more about them.

How does a Green Screen Work?

A green screen works by the process of keying. Keying is the process in which an editor isolates a single color or brightness value. The editor then makes that value transparent so that it can allow another image to be shown through those areas. All this is done with the use of editing software.

What kind of lighting should you use for a Green Screen?

Lightning is the most important part when it comes to using a green screen. Without proper lighting, your post-production editing can become a nightmare. The smallest shadow will make you go through hell at the time of editing. Make sure of the following things when it comes to lightning:

    The light should be spread evenly.

    Use a matte box. It helps a lot.

    Make sure the light falls on your green screen and not the subject. Avoid shadows at all costs.

    Your key lighting should be used for the main subject. It is to be treated as an alternative to natural light.

    Your fill light should be used as a softener and for the removal of shadows.

    A black-light might not seem the part but it is very important in keeping the look of your visuals polished. It saves time and energy in post-production.

placement of light on green screen

What kind of screen should you use?

Any kind of screen can be used as long as it is not reflective. A reflective surface might reflect on your actors or main subjects and make them disappear.  Some people paint their walls with Chroma key paints, which is a viable option but it locks one specific location for all your tasks. It might be good if you are a vlogger or a streamer but might pose to be a problem when it comes to shooting films.

Another option is the use of a portable green screen. A portable one is expensive but can be carried anywhere and set up in under a minute. Whatever you use, make sure that the screen is as smooth as it can be, the slightest crease can become very hectic during post-production.

portable green screen stand

Can a green screen be of any color?

Yes, a green screen can be of any color depending on the usage of colors in the subjects. The green is most commonly used because it is less likely to be worn by actors and used in other subjects. Other commonly used colors are Chroma blue and red. Blue is a better option as it has lower luminosity but it is more likely to be worn by the actors.

Whatever color you use, just make sure it is not worn by your subject or it will turn invisible too.

blue screen visual effects

How should you set your shutter speed when shooting with a green screen?

There is a high chance of motion blur when using a green screen. It is best to keep your shutter speed high when using one. If you are shooting a simple weather report then the shutter speed can be twice as high as the FPS. 

In case, there is a scene with a lot of motion then a shutter speed of 2x - 2.5x of shutter speed might be suitable. Keep in mind that the change of shutter speed affects your exposure.

Should you keep your subject near or far when using a green screen?

As mentioned before, shadows are a nightmare so it is best to keep your subject away from the green screen. One more problem with the subject being too near is that it will not be possible to keep the screen evenly lit. Keep your subject at least 6 feet away from the screen.

Why did the movie industry switch from blue screen to green screen for special effects?

There are quite a few reasons due to which movie industry moved from blue to the green screen but the main ones are:

    Subjects are more likely to wear blue than green.

    The color blue wasn’t suitable for people of color.

    The color spill is less prominent on the green screen.

How do the weather reporters see locations on a green screen?

Weather reporters are constantly looking through the live feed on the preview monitor in front of them. They can see exactly where they are pointing and which camera they are on.

How does one distinguish the scenes shot with a green screen?

If the job has been pulled perfectly then you cannot. However, a little green fringe can be noticed around the subject and also if the lightning is different from the background and the subject.

How many lighting sources do you need for shooting green screen?

For the subject, the three lights that are used are Key, Fill, and black light. For a green screen of a normal size two should be enough, one from each side.


A green screen is one of the most integral parts of visual effects when it comes to video editing. From vloggers to musicians to moviemakers, all use a green screen for their mesmerizing visual effects. Using a green screen might be a complicated thing and there can be a lot that can go wrong. 

However, if you know the right techniques for example how to handle the lightning, what colors to choose, how to set up your camera etc. you should be able to get a hang of it quite easily. You can use your green screen anytime and anywhere, just be sure you follow the guidelines correctly. 

Learn More: How to Make a Green Screen Video without Green Screen on Mac>>>

Download Win VersionDownload Mac Version

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