Make a Green Screen

There are several ways you can make a cheap green screen (or blue screen) for your video blogging studio. I chose to make a green screen. No, not because it’s my favorite color – I prefer blue. There has long been a rumor that with digital video it is easier to ‘key out’ green (i.e. remove the green background which is the whole point) compared to blue. I haven’t exhaustively researched this, but it does seem like green has become more popular.

Of course it could also be that blue is a more common clothing color, hence with blue there are more potentials for conflicts than with green.

Anyway, chroma-key green is the color I recommend!

Now onto the fun part – making your home green screen. If you have a wall behind you, then your life is made easy. You can take one of two approaches:

1. Paint that wall chroma key green. You can purchase pro grade Rosco Chroma Key green paint. But this is quite pricey. Another option is to go to Lowes (or Home Depot) and have them match it for you. Bring a color sample on your iPhone or what have you. Here is a link to a swatch.

I’ve also learned that at Lowes they can create the color if you give them this number: 103-4Y 113-1Y 1145Y32. Other people have used Sherwin Williams “flat primary green” and have had okay results after applying multiple coats.

2. If you don’t want to paint your wall you can use green screen fabric or green poster board (you can buy them at Walmart you’ll need a bunch to cover the whole space – measure beforehand). Myself, I bought fabric from a store in NYC about ten years ago for $100 and it is the real deal. Chroma key green.

But what if you don’t have a wall behind you or it’s too far away?

Here is how I solved that problem to create a quick, easy, portable green screen solution. You will need:

1. Green screen fabric (either the real deal or as close as you can get).

2. Two pieces of lumber that are 1″ x 2″ with the length being as long as your green screen fabric is wide. (buy it at Home Depot and they will cut it for you)

3. Four simple screw in hooks (the kind you might hang your keys or a small potted plant from). I chose white to match my ceilings.

4. A staple gun (ideally). You might be able to get away without this. I used duct tape and staples.

Measure the distance from the floor to the ceiling and add six inches. Cut your green screen fabric to this length.

Now roll the top two inches or so of the green screen fabric around the lumber and attach it with the staple gun.

Place your length of wood (that now has the green fabric hanging from it) up at the ceiling. Next, you will be hanging it from two hooks. With pencil, mark the place where you would like the two hooks to be located.

Screw these two hooks into the ceiling. Now, at the matching location on your lumber, screw two hooks into the wood. Hang it up!

Allow the fabric to hang down to the floor. Roll the excess fabric up in the second piece of lumber and attach it the same way as you did the first.

The bottom should be just brushing the floor, but not actually touching. The weight of the wood hanging down will help keep the wrinkles out.

Voila! You now have a portable green screen that can be either kept rolled up when you’re not using it or easily stowed away. If you find your green screen is quite wrinkled, break out the iron and press them out.

Next time: Lighting your new green screen…

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