When exploring the differences between green screen and blue screen, it’s important not to approach the issue as a matter of good versus bad. Rather, it’s about which system better suits the shoot. Blue screen and green screen get called on for certain jobs because of their respective colors, but there are other factors in play as well. Here’s a quick breakdown of the reasons why one is used over another and why the difference between blue and green isn’t always black and white!
Blue Screen Pros
Blue screen was used as far back as the 1930s in films like The Thief of Baghdad and others. But being older doesn’t necessarily make something better or worse. Blue screen does have one particular advantage over green screen in that it resists color spill, which happens when the color of the screen reflects onto whatever is being filmed, giving it a slight hue that can mess with getting a good key. Blue screen is also good for night shots, and it provides a slightly sharper grain in the film.
Blue Screen Cons
In reviewing the differences between green screen and blue screen, blue screen does have its drawbacks. While it resists color spill, the color blue does occur quite frequently in fashion, so you need to make an effort to ensure the subject isn’t wearing blue. Blue screen also requires brighter lamps to keep the set evenly lit and ensure you can draw a good key. Blue is also less bright than green, which removes some of the sharpness of the key.
Green Screen Pros
Green screen tends to show up in film and photo shoots much more often due to several reasons. To start, green is less likely to show up in what subjects are wearing and, more importantly, no one on earth has green skin. Green is better for day shoots and is far easier to light with studio lamps. Also, digital cameras pick up more green than blue coloring, and most film editing software is already prepared to key out chroma key green backgrounds.
Green Screen Cons
Green screen handicaps include the fact that green screens provide much less grain than blue screens, which can lead to video looking a bit more fake. As mentioned, green screen also risks color spill, which can interfere with your effects and make it harder to draw a key, making even the most expensive video look cheap and amateurish. It will also mean more time spent in postproduction.
Green screen wins, in a way, because it’s easier to acquire the necessary elements of a green screen (such as a cyclorama wall for sale), most cameras are already equipped to draw a green key, and the available software is already set by default to work with green screen effects. You’ll also worry less about green turning up in your talents’ clothing, skin, and hair. Go with green screen for ease and a tremendous amount of artistic freedom.