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Thread: Green screen recommendations

  1. #1

    Default Green screen recommendations


    First of all, I apologise in advance for the abject ignorance that I am about to display.

    My wife and I would like to buy a green screen as a Christmas present for a member of our family who is into making videos as a hobby, and who would like to expand her video editing capability. Having done a rummage around the internet, they seem to cost anywhere from about 20 for a small piece of green cloth to hundreds of pounds for a large piece of green cloth with a frame. I think that a frame is probably necessary, but having no knowledge of these things I'm having trouble finding the balance between "not fit for purpose" and "overkill and waste of money". Could anybody help to point me in the right direction, please? I suppose I'm basically looking for something that will provide a 20-year-old hobbyist with a nice, useful Christmas present without going ridiculously overboard.

    Thank you in advance and, again, apologies for not having the slightest idea what I'm talking about.

  2. #2


    A little more background ( see what I did there) on what your family member will be shooting would help !!! Dont forget to Budget for lighting too !!J
    Last edited by enc; 11-21-2012 at 09:28 AM.
    'No longer are the pleasures of Home Movie Making limited to those with ample funds. Now the man and woman of moderate means can join the sport'..... Kodak catalogue 1933

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    All you need is a decent bit of cloth a uniform colour, usually green. There are loads on ebay and they will all do the job. You don't need mega-expensive material.

    There are a few which work like reflectors in that they are collapsible, some having blue on one side and green on the other. I've got one and it does the job well providing that you don't need a large background area.

    Between you and me, the cheap chinese copies are almost as good as the Lastolites and Photoflexes.

    The rest is all down to technique and knowledge.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England


    Rembrant Bob is referring to realtively small screens that can be used for head-shots, or to disguise something in a shoot - a kind of mask to remove a company logo, for example. He does say they are small.

    Others have asked what set-up the 20-yr old will be using . . . is this indoors. . . a converted garage, or bedroom, for example?

    I don't agree that any old cloth will do . . . and lighting is very important . . . BUT that is if you want the effect to be realistic . . . for example, 1)alone in a desert or 2)walking amongst shoppers in a famous Street. You need to 1)avoid casting shadows on the GS and 2)match the background shadows.

    Look on Amazon; you can find GS kits with stands+cloth (and maybe source some lights too)100 is resepectable kit, IMHO (but not pro who will want greater height)..... btw, you always need a larger screen than you think.. HD movies are now 16x9 so width is crucial and if the camera-angle is from the side then more GS width is needed. The join with the ground needs to be gentle curve - indeed it's a nightmare just unfolding.

    For a "trial" you can use coloured cotton bed-sheets, but do avoid creases . . . OR you can buy paper backgrounds - much favoured by stills photogrophers . . . so a stand for these (being more substantial) might be a good investment if she's doing portraits, baby-shots, pets, etc. as any spoiled paper is quickly removed . . . . but either way it is expensive . . . NOT the thing for an idle afternoon.

    Also, you need chroma-key software . . . most Video-Editors include this, but do check first.
    Why Blue?green - to avoid clashes with the subject . . . any similar colour will cause odd effects to show, so if your subject has blue eyes, use Green..... I think Pros tend to use Blue, despite it being called "Green Screen" - the real stuff is easy to keep crease-free and is almost fluorscent, such is the brighness of the cloth. Everything else is dull by comparison.

    The prices you quote are for different levels of gear . . . maybe the cheapest solution is the one to try and see if she will use it much . . . I bought some "real" GS cheaply (end of roll) and whilst it worked OK, it really needs to be wider and better-lit than my small kitchen allows. It's a technique that can be used, but you need the facilities to make it appear "real" to the viewer.... and a decent lighting crew + soundman as well. Buy her a subscription to a local FilmMaking club, would be money well spent, IMHO.

    Perhaps later, she can tell us how it works out . . . that would be useful for others, too.
    Last edited by vidmanners; 11-21-2012 at 03:06 PM.

  5. #5


    Thank you all for your comments! I'll try to get some more info and report back, but you've definitely given me some good thoughts to consider. At the risk of pushing my luck, are you able to recommend any particular set of lights? I've had a look on Amazon and found plenty of options, but am again finding it hard to know where to set the budget.

  6. #6


    I suggest that you start with a smaller dimension of green screen as compared to that used by pros since this might the be the first time that she'll have a hands-on experienced with such technology. Typically, as a hobbyist, you will not need a larger green screen for your subjects unless you are making a video production. Lighting equipment and the software are also another consideration.

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