Oct 30, 2009

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Green Screen LA

Green Screen LA


Green Screen Rentals

Green Screen rentals can be a little tricky in Los Angeles / Hollywood area. Any one with a large enough space can paint a wall green, light it more or less evenly and tell you they have a green screen studio for rent. Well, there needs to be a little more thought put in to it than that.

First of all a properly built green cyclorama plays a key part in the whole “evenly lit” part of the equation. Green walls that meet green floors at a 90 degree angle seem to have quite a problem being evenly lit. (See why this is true at the Lighting a green screen page of this site.) Standard green screen studios have what is known as a 3 foot green cyclorama this is measured from the 90 degree wall to the front of the green cyclorama. Theoretically, the larger the green cyclorama, the better, at least until you hit the middle of the 90 degree wall, in which the green cyclorama should inverse to the ceiling. The perfect green cyc would look like you were shooting inside of a large green ball. All of that being said, a six foot green cyclorama would be easier to light than a 3 foot green cyclorama, so make sure that steer clear of the all to common 1 to 2 foot mini green cycloramas. It should almost go with out saying that the round corners of the cyc should be relatively smooth and not like inverted icing on a wedding cake. My rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t kneel on it with shorts on don’t shoot on it…

Second, keeping on the subject of physical characteristics of the green screen or cyc itself, the green paint on the cyc plays its own very important role in the green screen effect. The reflective properties of the dried chromakey green screen paint verses the $20.00 per gallon green house paint can make quite a difference in what’s known as radiosity in the 3-D world or the bounced back amount of the light that will ultimately hit your talent or product. The slightest bit of gloss or shine in the paint will amplify the falloff of the green bounced light, polluting the magenta tones in fair skin and even showing up on edges of dark or oily skin. You may have noticed in bad keys the talent looks noticeably skinnier around the arm and leg area also dark shinny hair will appear to lose much of its body. The subject will end up looking cut out and pasted in to a fake background. The proper chroma green paint does cost about three times more but for good reason. It has about the same reflective index as green chalk. When there is room this problem may be remedied by moving the subject further away from the rear green wall and/or side wall of a two wall green cyclorama. The problem is when the shot is full body, it a little difficult to move the talent off the floor, unless of course it’s a show about levitation. In addition to all previously mentioned, green screen walls and floors that have less than matt qualities also reflect back the actual light it self and show up as hot spots on the green screen wall and floor making it appear unevenly colored to the lens.

Third, when it comes to green screen rentals, size does matter. Along with the green bounce, proximity and distance from the green screen also heavily effect green spill and color pollution on to the talent or product. Green screens that are smaller than 20 x 20 of actual talent space are far better to just look at than to shoot on. When I say talent space I am not including anything behind the lens. The camera should have the freedom to shoot on the longer end of the lens and still be able to hold a full body shot. This will usually require an additional 20 to 40 feet or more to accomplish, giving you a green screen minimum size of 20ft wide and 40 to 60ft in length.

When it comes to shooting a second camera angel, a second wall is needed or B camera will be looking off stage. This second green screen cyc is ideally attached to the first cyc with a horizontal and vertical union. Its at this union green screens get funky. So keep a sharp eye out for any unevenness that may not light evenly. The best thing to do is ask the stage manager to turn on the green screen lights. Usually a series of space lights or kino-flo image 80s. These L shaped green screens are also known as 2 wall green cycs.

One of my favorite types of green screen rentals is the soft green screen cyc. Atomic Studios is equipped with a 2 wall soft green screen cyc, a very rare, custom cut, and sewn piece of green foam that absorbs sound and reduces green spill due to the minimal reflection of foam. Because of the reduced green spill, subjects can get closer to the actual walls allowing far more room to walk run or dance around. This soft green screen cyc at Atomic Studios is big enough to shoot 5-8 full grown adults while moving from head to toe. A soft green screen cyc can be hung to have as much as an eight foot cyc making it much easier to light. In fact, depending on the f-stop we usually light the Atomic Studios soft green screen cyc with just one 3-6k space light, drastically reducing studio heat and load on power supply. The single most important advantage of a soft green screen cyc is how good they sound. It’s almost like shooting in a isolation booth. The talent is surrounded in part by what acts like acoustical foam. If you ever tried shooting good sound on a hard green screen cyc you will no doubt agree that managing the eco effect is tricky to say the least.

In closing, no matter what shape, how big, or how green, your green screen is, make 100% sure to not have time limits at the studio that you choose. Even the most experienced green screen technicians run in to problems here and there and the last thing any green screen production needs is a grumpy stage manager (in a hurry to get home and play X-Box) on your back rushing things. Saying that you can fix green screen problems in post can a very time consuming and costly statement. For any of your video marketing, music video, or film making needs, Atomic Studios green screen rentals are always for 24hr time periods. Call 323-851-3825


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