Dancing with Light

Green Screen - Location Shoots

A good producer friend of mine presented me with a standard approach for lighting an interview on location with Green Screen.

  • Set your iris on the camera lens and do not adjust it from that point on. I like to set it at 2.8
  • Compose your shot so you see how big of an area you are lighting.
  • It helps if you have a waveform monitor or light meter to measure the signal or foot candles of the light level on the background.
  • Light the Green Screen evenly. I normally use two lights for the background and since power might be an issue I will use fixtures like 300wt. Pepper fresnel. I use a waveform monitor and light the GS so that the background normally falls between 50 and 60ire on the waveform. You want to make sure you have a straight line on the waveform. That straight line represents your background and the light intensity hitting the surface of the GS. Depending on the width of your shot determines if you need to use more then two lights for an interview.
  • Set up your key, fill and back light for the interview position. Make sure no additional light spills onto the background. The main objective is to keep any of the foreground lighting off of the background.
  • Sometimes you might not have the space, but you should try to get enough distance between the GS and your subject so they will not cast their shadow on the the GS.
  • After each interview, record a frame of the green screen as a reference plate for the graphic artists with nothing solid in the frame. It will make their job easier and you will be requested for more shoots like this because of your attention to detail. This works for me and I hope this approach will work for you.
  • Put a little amber gel on the back light. It will help reduce green bounce back on the hair and shoulders of your subject if they are too close to the GS.