View Full Version : Superimposing location

01-25-2012, 02:30 PM
Being 13 and living in the UK, it's hard to travel to locations that my films need to be set, eg: California, Caribbean and that for obvious reasons, money etc... I have a simple green screen but was thinking of investing in a full studio kit. The question I'm asking, how well can a location be imposed using a full studio green screen kit, with lighting, fans, etc...?

It would also need to have depth and freedom to the background, and not plane so it feels as if I'm merged with it.


Michael Carter
01-25-2012, 05:47 PM
It can be convincing if your BG is out of focus, your talent lighting matches and "tucks right in", and your keys are very clean. Pulling a good key can be pretty tough, depending upon what your idea of a "good" key is.

It can look sort of "hyper-real" in some cases, too. Many Hollywood greenscreen sets build a floor and nearby props, and key that in - floors and shadows are very very hard to pull off.

Using after effects, you can use the 3D camera to move around a keyed shot; this adds parallax and depth. You can stabilize a moving shot, and then parent a camera to it - now the AE camera matches all of your moves, but deeper background images move less than the foreground (parallax).

In my experience, the hardest part is matching lighting on set to your plates.

Here's a before and after from a recent gig (we painted the "runway" to make it easier on ourselves - this is sort of a comedic music video so it didn't need to be amazing), and below that a parallax tutorial I made recently:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obcdyw0-BQM&feature=plcp&context=C3f0a613UDOEgsToPDskJabZt YtrLS9uzWP3KNDFvG

01-25-2012, 09:44 PM
Easy enough to use stock footage for an establishing shot to tell the audience they're now in Paris or whatever, then cut to a studio set - even Hollywood does that all the time. Yes, you can sometimes similarly use stock footage as a greenscreen background for some foreground actors, but I agree with Michael - it tends to work best when out of focus (or otherwise not drawing itself to the audience's attention), and matching lighting is vital to maintain the illusion.

I presume you already have some experience with your existing greenscreen then trying to get clean keyed footage, so you'll know how difficult it can be. A 'proper' greenscreen and lighting kit will improve your chances of getting good usable footage, but the same old problems will always be there, just as they are for the professionals. And of course a large greenscreen lets you film larger action, e.g. full body shots or multiple actors.

01-26-2012, 06:49 AM
I'd add.. write what you can film. As the writer and director I write to my budget. If it's a difficult/impossible/expensive location to get, don't put it in the script, write about something else.

01-26-2012, 10:14 AM
Ok thanks Michael, Clang and gonzo. I have had previous experience with keying and it can be tough. I use After Effects for it but even then the match lighting can be tough. I'll keep the tip in mind to not draw too much attention to the background, and focus more on the actor.

Michael Carter
01-28-2012, 04:34 PM
Dude - every time I storyboard up a music video, I wish I was IN the UK - you guys have so many badass buildings and settings.

As Eddie Izzard says, "I'm from England - it's where history comes from".

01-29-2012, 03:56 AM
Dude - every time I storyboard up a music video, I wish I was IN the UK - you guys have so many badass buildings and settings.

As Eddie Izzard says, "I'm from England - it's where history comes from".

England might be really good for the high buildings for music videos, but in Scotland it's not that good for them, at least not quiet areas anyway.