First attempt with a green screen was a flop - any tips?


For no other reason than I’m enjoying playing with Shotcut, and it looked fun, I bought myself a green screen. However, my first attempts with it were pretty disappointing, mainly because the creases and variation in lighting meant that a lot of the green screen remained visible…


I tried ironing the screen, but it didn’t help remove any creases. I used a cool iron, as I have no idea what it’s made of, and didn’t want to damage it (my wife was more bothered about me damaging the iron!). It’s currently hanging up, in the hope that the ceases may drop out, but I suspect this may be a little fanciful.

As for lighting, this was done in my dining room, which has a couple of full spectrum fluorescent tubes. Not sure how to even out the lighting without spending money on proper lighting, which I can’t afford.

I should point out that I’m just doing this for fun, I’m no expert in video at all, nor do I have the time or money to become one. I’m just looking for some quick tips to help me.

Anyone any suggestions? Thanks.

It all has to do with lighting, and it make take several attempts to get the lighting right. A cheap $10 iron may work wonders. Just make sure the lighting is even, no creases. Maybe leave it hanging for a few days and spray it down with distilled water. There should be a frame around it so you can secure the screen to avoid creases & folds.

May sound weird, but make a map of your room setup with measurements where you are placing lamps, so when you make adjustments you can mark them down. So when you do get a good setup, it will very easy to recreate the setup without hassle.

You need to have diffused lighting for the green screen and yourself separately.

Here is a video that might help you.

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Thanks for the reply, love the video!

As I did it on the cheap (even before seeing he video), I didn’t get a frame with it, so instead I clamped the screen to some bookcases, so it is hanging fairly straight. One thing I didn’t think of was standing further away from it, so the creases were less in focus. Have to try that one and see.

What does spraying it with water do? As far as I can tell, it’s synthetic, so I would have thought the water would just drip off and contribute further to the already damaged cheap laminate flooring we have there.

He mentioned using warm lighting. As I commented in my first post, our house has full spectrum (daylight) bulbs throughout (because I prefer them), and these are generally considered cool (as in lighting terms, not “Hey man that’s cool!”). Is this going to be an issue?

I can see I need to do some playing around. If you can comment on any of my questions I’d appreciate it.

Thanks again for the reply.

If it’s cloth it will help soften up the fabric and when clamped down will help decrease the the creases and folds when it dries.

I use green screens a lot and I use a very cheap set-up (£60 including 2 stands, 2 lights, 3 different cloths and a bunch of reflectors).
To get the best results wear dark clothing so there’s less chance of your clothing picking up the colour of the backdrop. If you wear specs then wear frames that are not shiny, silver or highly reflective. Lighting is important - as bright as possible (within reason) and from at least 2 directions to minimise shadows. The most important factor to consider is shadows - shadows are your enemies!!!
In Shotcut - use the advanced chroma key filter and experiment with all the settings. It won’t take long to get the hang of what they do and you’ll find a combination which suits your needs. Make sure you use the eyedropper tool to select the actual colour of your screen. Use the “Key spill” filter (the simple version is usually enough) - it’ll clean up any fringing at the edges quite nicely.

That sums up most of what I’ve learned so far (the hard way in some cases) and I get results like this:

Edit: These lights on ebay are that same as the ones I got in my kit and they’ve served me well. £22 for these but if you shop around you may get them cheaper :slight_smile:

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I don’t think it’s cloth (as in organic material), it feels like synthetic to me. Do you think the water will help?

Don’t know about synthetic materials. Contact the manufacturer for the best advice on how to get rid of the wrinkles/creases.

Thanks very much for the advice. I’ve seen some of your videos before, and am amazed at the very high quality. I’m a rank beginner, so no hopes of achieving that (yet)!

I didn’t realise lighting could be so cheap. I thought I’d be looking at a lot more, which is why I didn’t look. For £22, it’s not much different from buying bits in B&Q, and at least I’d get something made for the job. The wife will go mad when she finds out :grinning:

Thanks again, looks like I’m in for some fun!

@ Hudson555x
The seller is an eBay seller from China, and my experience of them is that you don’t get much info out of them! I can’t see that a bit of water can harm, so I’ll give it a go. I’ll leave it hanging up for as long as the wife can put up with it and see if it helps.

In the meantime, I’m off to up the lights :sunglasses:

Thanks again

How to get the wrinkles out of your Green Screen or other backdrops:

My backdrop is synthetic. Once it was unfolded I hung it up for a few days with the crossbar from my stands clipped to the bottom to weight it down. The folds dropped out pretty quickly. When I hang it now (in my dining room) I still clip the bar on the bottom which helps stretch it out straight. I’ll be buying a cotton one in the new year though because it gets a lot of use these days.
Oh and @Yossu - it doesn’t take that long. I only started making videos less than a year ago :wink: And my full kit came from a Chinese vendor too.

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