How to Use a Green Screen: Lighting Basics

No matter your skill level in filmmaking, you’re probably aware of what a green screen is and how it’s used. Understanding the green screen lighting basics can help save time and headaches throughout the production process. A green screen helps to spice up your videos by essentially keying out bits of your picture and replacing them with something else. With a green screen, the process becomes pretty simple because you can focus on removing everything green.

In the video, Chris guides you through the best lighting techniques to use when getting your green screen ready. When setting up your green screen, you need to remember to separate yourself from the screen both physically and visually.

Keep some distance

10 to 15 feet of distance is an ideal amount of space to keep between the green screen and your object of focus. Hopefully, your space can accommodate this, as this separation helps keep the surrounding haze (known as “spill”) off your subject. Accounting for this will further help the editing process after you’re done filming.

How lighting can help

While you’re physically separated from the green screen, you also want to visually set your subject apart from the background. Some simple lighting can significantly make your production more seamless. Chris breaks down the 4 lights he uses to help get his shot:

Subject Key Light

This key light is focused on your subject. In this case, that is Chris.

Background Key Light

In this case, our background is the green screen.

Fill Light

The fill light fills in some of the darker bits of your shot. This fill light helps cover the rest of Chris’s face.

Back Light

This illuminates the back of your subject, further helping distinguish your subject from its background.

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