By now, virtually everyone is aware of the film-making technique called Green screen or Chromakey. Without it and some other rather complex compositing and motion control software, many of the top films made would not be possible. There are lots of interesting sites to see before and after shots.

But it’s not just for million dollar movies.

Green screen can play a very important role in most video production.

Company experts are frequently asked to speak on camera and too often they are sitting in front of messy bookshelves, a plastic tree, coat rack or worse. Portable green screen (or blue screen) comes to the rescue. It is relatively easy to set up and allows you to both replace the background with something appropriate and to control the negative space where you might want to use supporting graphics to help tell the story. It takes a little more time to set up and then process and edit but the final control of the story is worth it.

A series we completed for Certified Professional Accountants (CPA) on “Adapting to Climate Change” is a case in point. We had extremely knowledgable CPA people and their clients to interview but they were spread across Canada, in wildly different settings. Green screen gave us perfect control and allowed us to manage what was happening in order to integrate additional visuals (B-roll) and supporting graphics.

shooting video with green screen
This pre-interview shot shows one of our green screen setups in Montreal for CPA. The location was a massive, beautiful room with 30 foot ceilings but it was inappropriate for our needs and would not have made “sense” in the final edit.

Working with Ghosts

The Aquatarium’s Magedoma tour exhibit allows tours on a vintage steam-powered yacht through various parts of the 1000 Islands. Our guide for the Admiralty Islands tour was 200 year old Captain William FitzWilliam Owen of His Majesty King George III Royal Navy.  A 4K green screen shoot let us position the 200 year old ghost precisely for size and placement while managing that wonderful transparent quality ghosts have. To see this exhibit complete with all 8 monitors, you’ll need to visit the Aquatarium in Brockville.

Doug McLellan

Doug McLellan

Doug is a writer, director and cinematographer. A visual thinker who has travelled the world, he likes seeing the big picture while sharing the important details.