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How to use a Green Screen

How to use a Green Screen

So you’re working at home, or you want to do some vlogging and you would like it to look more professional?  You know its not that hard to take it up-a-notch but you don’t want to break the bank?  Well, with the right equipment and budget around $200 you can get a complete A.V. kit from Smith-Victor with a pro light kit, microphone kit, phone holder, and a green-screen.  Add your iPhone/android. a simple green-screen app and you will look and sound like a pro.

Here’s how it works.

Smith-Victor AV kit

Get yourself one of these kits. Its a complete A.V. green-screen kit with everything you need except your iPhone/Android and an your favorite webcam app. (or exiting built-in computer camera)  My favorite app is Manycam, and many people say EpocCam is great as well.  If you’re using Zoom you don’t even need an app. its already built-in and ready to go with pre-configured virtual backgrounds.  You can even upload any image of your own.  And in no-time all the webinar providers are going to have native green screen technology.

Next:

  • Set up your light.  Off center is a preferred look for light.  Many say the light on one side of your face should be 2 to 3 times brighter than the other side.  Also, if you place your light 60° off center (10:00 or 2:00) at your far peripheral zone, it wont be as noticeable to you.  It wont feel like light is shining in your eyes.
  • Set up your green-screen.  Its spring loaded and snaps tight to full size with a shake.  There’s a clip on the stand that hold the top while the rest leans up against the legs and stand. Set it behind you and try to keep it out of any shadows.  Don’t wear anything green or close to green!
  • Set up your camera.  Many people have cameras built into their computer or laptop.  If not, your phone can be the camera.  Install the green-screen app on your computer, iPhone…  The green-screen app now can turn your background into anything you want.
  • Plug in your mic right in your computer mini-jack. It comes with a nice desktop stand and all the wires you’ll need.  If you’re using your phone to dial-up the meeting then you’ll need a powered USB hub to connect the audio to an iPhone lighting plug.  Many androids have mini-jacks for external mic and wont need anything special.

You’re now ready to go.  Dial up your Goto meeting, Zoom, Skype, Slack, Facetime, FB Messenger…, or record and upload your own videos to Youtube and join the vlogging community.

Expert Notes:

If you really want to take it up a notch add more lights.  You can get broadcast studio results with 3 lights using the 3-point lighting technique.  Almost any of these would work

3-point lighting:

  1. Use a strong “key” light, predominantly lighting one side of your face (left, right, it doesn’t matter)

    Without Rim Light (left) | With Rim Light (right)

  2. Then, on the other side place a dimmed-down “fill” light  (1/2 to 1/3 as bright) achieving the infamous 3:1 lighting ratio on their face
  3. And behind you, a couple feet above your head (on a boom), a  “rim” or “back” light is set at low power in back of your subject. Use this to outline your subjects head/body with light, creating separation from the background –one of the most important pro-lighting techniques, and can seriously increase the quality of your image ten-fold!  See the light on top of the apple?

Lastly, a couple extra lights on the green screen will really help you control unwanted shadows on the background.

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