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Green screen setup considerations

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Introduction

Good photography is critical to the success of Green screen products, here are a few general pointers when setting up your green screen environment.

The general rule of thumb is the more controlled the environment the better, particularly with regard to the lighting.  This is difficult in a retail environment but every effort should be made to find a dark corner or separate room which is more conducive to green screen photography.

The goal is to make sure that the chromakey screen is lit evenly across, with no hot spots or shadows.

The image below shows the Hex tone of green #53d142 that the Image Remove Green Screen config option is looking for (with a 20% tolerance).

Image_01_256.jpg

Here's an example of a good green screen photo with an evenly-lit green screen:

Image_02_256.jpg

Here are several examples of poor green screen photos:

3.jpg

The hot spots and shadows mean that the end result is not good enough quality to print on a product.

The image below shows light sources in an uncontrolled environment which could potentially influence the result of the photography:

Image_05-2.jpg

 

General guidelines

 Here are a few general pointers to help you improve your green screen photos in a retail environment:

1. LIGHTING: Ensure that the chromakey screen is lit evenly across, with no hot spots or shadows

- Where possible locate the green screen in a separate room where the lighting can be controlled.

- If not possible and working on an open floor, erect some black sheeting either side of the green screen to create a kind of booth or tunnel, this will help to eliminate some of the natural light coming in from any windows.

- If the floor is glossy, put some kind of carpet or sheeting on the floor in front of the green screen to eliminate the reflected light.

- See if it's possible to turn off all artificial / ceiling lights in the direct vicinity of the green screen.

- Make the green screen material as taut as possible - rippling will introduce shadows.

- Make sure that the model is far enough away so that they do not cast shadows on the chromakey screen

2. Don't use shiny props

3. Remove glasses and reflective jewelery

3. If possible make sure that long/loose hair is tied back

4. Ensure the model is not wearing green as this is obviously not going to work.

5. Make sure there is no movement by the model

6. Make sure that no part of the model passes the extent of the green screen eg: a hand

 

Camera settings

The aim is to photograph the subject with as 'flat' a green background as possible.  We've found the following settings can help achieve this result:

- Low ISO

The less noise in the image there is the better, setting the ISO level low will keep noise to a minimum

- 'Natural' picture mode

Most modern cameras have preset modes which adjust the brightness and contrast or apply filters to the image.  In our tests we've found setting the camera to a 'natural' picture mode to be best.

- Sharpness to 0

Reducing the amount of post processing of the image helps, particularly sharpness.  We would prefer the background to be blurred so that the greens harmonise.

- Contrast to minimum

We want to avoid contrast in the greens at all cost as this result in some of the background not being extracted correctly.

- Shutter speed

Use a higher shutter speed to reduce motion blur (something like 1/125-1/250

- Aperture

Use as narrow an aperture as you can get away with, it will generally be in the range of f11-f16

- Flash

We have found that in some cases using the flash can help to harmonise the lighting and help with the flattening of the background.

Addressing problems with spill

If green spill on the subject is proving to be problematic, the only solution is to move the subject further away from the green screen itself to minimise the effect of the spill.  In an ideal environment the subject should be 5ft+ away from the green screen.  This approach will also help to reduce shadowing issues.

An alternative approach is to try adding a very subtle magenta light behind the subject. This can help to counter green spill light from the greenscreen.

Inevitably some compromise on image quality is likely however due to practical space considerations, particularly in a retail environment.

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