Portable green screens are ideal for a great many things, including shooting video and photos wherever you like, as well as swiftly setting up and tearing down before and after each shoot. But are you using portable green screens to their best abilities? With a few simple techniques, you can produce projects that look highly professional with greater ease. Here are our top tips for using a portable green screen.
Keep It Well Lit
Proper lighting is at the heart of any successful green screen video project. If the lighting is uneven and shadows are allowed to form, it’s difficult to draw a clean key and create a project that doesn’t look amateurish. If you don’t have the benefit of bright, direct sunlight, light the green screen with two lamps on either side and light your subject with their own lamp as well. Keep the lighting soft and even. Your two enemies are shadows and bright spots formed by two lights crossing and combining in a single spot.
Make Sure It’s Wrinkle-Free
When using a portable green screen background, make sure the surface is free from imperfections. Fabric tends to wrinkle, so whether you’re using a green sheet, piece of canvas, or have invested in a foldable green screen backdrop, use an iron or steamer to work out any wrinkles in the fabric. We’re still worried about shadows here, and even the smallest crease can interfere. You want as smooth a surface as possible, and, obviously, if there are holes, marks, rips, stitches, and so forth, ditch the backdrop and get a new one. Otherwise, you’ll spend too much time in postproduction fixing mistakes.
Keep Your Distance
More precisely, keep their distance, meaning your subject or talent, from the green screen background. A good rule of thumb is to position the talent or subject about 10 feet from the screen, though close-up photography might require a shorter distance. Fortunately, a portable green screen background is easy to pick up and reposition, unlike a painted wall or modular cyclorama system. The reason for minding the distance is to avoid green screen spill, which can create an obvious line between your subject and the backdrop.
Use the Right Screen for the Job
Here’s the last of our top tips for using a portable green screen. Portable green screens come in all shapes and sizes, from smaller ones that attach to the back of your chair to much larger ones. Measure the area where you intend to film and make sure the green screen fits. Take into account how long set-up takes and whether the screen comes with a system for securing it, especially when shooting outdoors. Whichever screen you choose, keep it clean and in good repair so it can serve you faithfully again and again!