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Green Screen Basics: Shoot, Light and Edit Green Screen Videos

Learn how to light, shoot and edit videos using green screen and Premiere Pro.

Green Screen Basics: Shoot, Light and Edit Green Screen Videos

Learn how to light, shoot and edit videos using green screen and Premiere Pro.
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These days, we all know the fantastical backgrounds in big blockbuster movies look underwhelming on set. But with green screen (and major help from visual effects artists and compositors), filmmakers are creating worlds with an incredible sense of authenticity.

Whether you will be creating a blockbuster, a simple YouTube video or your next course green screen comes in handy to tell a compelling story and adds layers and complexity to it.

The green screen lets you drop in whatever background images you want behind the actors and/or foreground. It’s used in film production (and also in news and weather reports) to relatively place the desired background behind the subject/actor/presenter. When a background isn’t available - like a fictional, alien, historical, futuristic or even just hard-to-access location - the green screen comes to the rescue.

After the footage is shot, the compositors take over:

  • The new background is composited (i.e., two images or video streams are layered together) into the shot.
  • The chroma key singles out the selected color (usually the green) and digitally removes it by rendering it transparent. This lets the other image to show through.
  • When used with more sophisticated 3D techniques, this process can add any new element (smoke, fire, rain, etc.) to complex moving shots.

Technically, you can use any background color. A vibrant, almost neon green is the standard choice because it’s strong and usually a distinctly different color from anything on the subject (e.g., the actor’s clothes, eyes, hair, accessories).

The biggest secret to use a green screen is to make your final video look as if you haven't used the green screen. If the audience is able to tell that you have shot using the green screen, then they will be taken away from the story your subject tells.

Proper lighting is crucial when it comes to the green screen. The most important thing about green screen and keying it out properly is the lighting and its even distribution, as well as the body positioning.

What will you learn in this course?

  • How to effectively light the green screen
  • How and where to place your subject so you can easily key out the green screen in post-production.
  • Tools used in Adobe Premiere Pro to key out, replace, and chose a variety of different backgrounds, so your video looks professional.
  • How to create the outdoor look, so the audience is never able to tell you to use the green screen.

About the instructors

Luchia Dragosh

Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker
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I’m a three-time Emmy® nominated and award-winning filmmaker specializing in character-driven long & short form character-driven documentaries and docu-series with a positive social message that range from women empowerment to young women in tech to arts and craft to LGBTQ rights.

I've been a filmmaker for the past 23 years. I started with fiction and then fell in love with documentaries.

In the past 8 years, I’ve filmed and edited more than 300 projects for non-profit organizations and institutions and interviewed hundreds of community and political leaders. I worked with all kinds of clients, from arts and educational institutions, and non-profit organizations, to the Borough president office and Chamber of commerce office.

As a fiction film producer and director, I worked on a diverse range of productions in Europe and the USA, including “The Child Within,” an international feature drama telling the story of three human trafficking victims which I wrote and directed and received recognition at the International Human Trafficking Conference in Texas and had a limited theatrical release.

I am the creator of the online TV platform, Woman2WomanTV, whose mission is to put more women on and behind the camera.

I had the honor to be invited to deliver a commencement speech at the Southern New Hampshire University.

I am a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, The National Academy of Television, Arts & Science as well as New York Women in Film and Television.

My biggest joy and pride is to share my knowledge with inspiring filmmakers and I hope I can achieve that here.

Please, feel free to ask any questions that you have :)

P.S. There is one more class on Documentary filmmaking that is coming out soon.

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