How to Setup and Film a Green Screen Video

Tristan Gardner
August 3, 2021
Chroma keying is an incredibly powerful tool in the video industry. From creating a background for an interview to compositing Iron Man into an other-worldly scene, a chroma key background is the first step. 

Chroma keying is an incredibly powerful tool in the video industry. From creating a background for an interview to compositing Iron Man into an other-worldly scene, a chroma key background is the first step. 

Chroma Key Color

The color of your key must be most opposite to the colors in your subject to achieve the best key. Green is a standard for keying because it is nearly opposite the hues that make up the majority of most objects and skin tones: red, brown, orange, and yellow. Blue is also an alternative standard because its hue is opposite to the oranges and yellows of skin tones. A set like that of the Game of Thrones would employ blue chroma backgrounds as their subjects wore brownish leather, cloth, and metals in their action scenes. We use green chroma backgrounds because our interview subjects often wear some shade of blue, so it’s much easier to tell a subject in the video not to wear anything green than blue.

Chroma Key Material

Chroma backgrounds come in cloth, paper, and vinyl. Out of those three, cloth will be your cheapest option, but it will be very prone to wrinkling and may not be opaque enough in some situations for a great key in post. Vinyl is the highest quality option. It can be cleaned, will last the longest, and absorbs more light than it reflects. Finally, paper is a good balance of quality and price. A high-quality paper roll will last a long time if stored properly after use and will give you a very reliable key in post. The problems with paper are that it can wrinkle easily if misused, and it reflects light more than it absorbs. We’ve used all three materials listed above, and we choose to use paper chroma backgrounds in our studio. 

Important Considerations When Filming

The quality of your key in post-production is directly related to the quality of your production. Therefore, the goal is to create the best situation to remove the chroma color from your footage later in post-production. The following are some production tips to help avoid problems that can add hours to your keying workflow: 

Chroma keying is a very important skill to develop in the video industry. To see an example of some online course work we’ve done with Duke Corporate Education or Tuck Executive Education, reach out here.