May 03, 2021

How to Use and Make a Green Screen

Green screens have been used in the film, tv and video industry for years if not centuries now. Realistically speaking, just where would the weather woman be without the green screen? Lost we reckon.
How to use green screen

Green screens are great for shooting scenes in a studio and easily being able to change the background of a video or photo using editing and visual effects in the aftermath. 

Especially during a pandemic, we’re looking for ways to film remotely and green screens can do just that. But low and behold — it might not be the quickest and easiest way. AI has given rise to tools like Unscreen that can create a green screen with the click of a button or even completely replace it. 

Let’s dive into green scenes; why are they green and how to use and make them?

Why is a green screen, green?

A green screen is the color green because this color usually doesn’t come close to any body part or hair color, it can easily be differentiated from the main subject being filmed. This makes it a lot easier and more effective for software to distinguish and remove the background of a video or photo. But it doesn’t always have to be green, if you have green clothing or a green prop — you’re better off using a blue screen.


How does a green screen work?

Filming in front of a green screen (or background with a solid color) makes sense so you can easily cut that background out in the aftermath and replace it with another one. Which is also known as ‘keying out’ that color in the industry. A solid color is a lot easier for software to read as one single layer and remove it altogether, which is why we go for solids.

What is chroma keying? 

Chroma keying is the process that happens after you’ve filmed your video in front of a green screen. It’s the act of removing the solid color and combining two photos or videos during post-production to create something new. Really it’s just a fancy way of saying using a green screen to switch up the background of a video or photo.

How does a green screen work

How to make a green screen?

Whether you’re a professional or an amateur there are many ways to go about making a green screen, but always the same rules to remember — so you can get a sharp end result and save time editing in post-production (when you’re done filming).

1. Set up a green background aka screen

If you’re a professional filmmaker or videographer you will want to invest in an industry-standard green screen. On the other hand, if you’re just a beginner looking to film some youtube videos — you can give the whole thing a go with green poster paper. 

Whatever you choose, it should be wrinkle-free and completely smooth to get the effect you’re looking for — which is a fully removable and interchangeable background. You can even make or DIY your green screen using fabric, colored poster paper and wall paint.

2. Light out your green screen

Once you’ve got the green background set up, it’s time to get your lighting in place. A mistake you definitely want to avoid is to light your subject (aka the actor or the product you are filming) and the green screen with the same light. That’s not going to cut it.

The green screen needs to be evenly lit with separate lighting at 40 to 50 percent luminance — no shadows or dimly lit sections allowed. You can add additional light sources in the front for your main subject but be sure to keep those two things separate. 

Also, keep in mind what type of image or footage you will add in the aftermath. For example: if you’ll be adding a garden as a background, there is likely to be sunlight coming from one side  — what side of the garden will that be and how can you imitate that direction in the studio?

3. Create space between the subject and the green screen

Be sure to have enough space between the green screen and the subject — you should aim for 3-5 meters (10-15 feet) between both. This will help the green tones meshing with your subject, avoid shadows and also give you more freedom to play with lighting in the foreground without affecting the green screen.

4. Watch out for green clothing & accessories

Keep in mind that anything green will become see-through so be sure to brief your subjects and keep an eye out for any green hair clips for jeans pockets that might throw everything off. 

Simple and cheap green screen: use Unscreen instead

There’s also a cheap, quick, and easy way around this whole green screen thing — use a virtual one instead. With Unscreen you can simply film in front of a white background or wall and apply a green screen to any video using AI technology in just a few seconds. 

It saves you from buying expensive equipment, messing around with the setup, and can give you great results in a lot less time.

How to Remove Backgrounds from Videos (without a Green Screen)

You can try this for yourself, by using the Unscreen green screen like so: 

  1. Shooting a video in front of a white wall or background. 
  2. Make sure your lit well — the more direct lighting onto you and the fewer shadows the better.
  3. Drop your video to Unscreen.
  4. Choose green screen.

Find out more about removing a video background without a green screen here.

Wondering how to use green screen or remove backgrounds with your video editing software once you’re done filming?

How you can remove backgrounds and whether you need to use a physical or virtual green screen to do so, really depends on your post-production video editing software.

Check out our latest posts on how to do just that with the most popular video editing software tools out there:

This wraps up our breakdown of how to use and make a green screen. We hope you enjoyed the read. Now let’s get on with video background removal.

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