Green Screen Tip: Watch that Background

Nothing is more fun than green (or blue) screen photography but when photographing a subject against a blue or green screen you should to keep some distance between them and the background to avoid any color from it bouncing back or spilling onto the subject. My rule of thumb is to move the subject as far away from the background as they are tall. If they’re about five feet tall move them keep the subject five feet away from the background. Tip: Keep the lighting so that it’s even across the background so there’s not a wide variation in color. If you do get some spill from the background onto the subject, Digital Anarchy’s Primatte plug-in provides several tools that remove color spill and I used their Spill Sponge tool to remove blue highlights from the subject’s hair to create a near-perfect mask.

I liked the finished composite photograph because you could see more of the T-Rex’s body and the setting but he didn’t seem to be menacing Mary to produce her reactions, so I expanded and moved the background layer to move him closer so he looks like he’s getting ready to bite off her head! Mary likes this version (at right) better too. ©2011 Joe Farace

Look for more green screen and compositing tips in my upcoming book, “Studio Photography Anywhere” from Amherst Media and on sale this Spring.

Author: Joe Farace

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