How to Use a Green Screen in Windows Movie Maker

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You have seen those cool special effects shots in movies where the hero seems to be standing against some impossible background that you know doesn't really exist. This effect is achieved using a technique known as "green screening." It allows your actors to be placed against any other filmed background or against a computer-generated background or image. You might have thought you needed professional software to do this trick, but you can do it using basic windows Movie Maker.

Things You'll Need

  • Movie Maker
  • RehanFX Transitions
  • Go to RehanFX and download the transitions you see there (see link in Resources). Install them.

  • Set up a green screen backdrop in a room. You do this by hanging a bright-green sheet on the wall. Pull the edges tight so there are no wrinkles; wrinkles might produce variations in the background shading.

  • Set up your camera and aim it at the green screen. When you adjust your zoom, make sure that nothing is showing beyond the edges of the green screen backdrop. Also, set up your lights. You want to use 3-point lighting, with 1 light pointing from the right, 1 from the left and 1 from above. Adjust the exact positions and pointing angles to try to minimize shadows. Record the actor performing in front of the green screen. Save this footage in AVI format.

  • Open Movie Maker. Under the Capture Video tab, click "Import Video." Browse to and select the green screen footage. Drag it from Collections to the timeline. Go to "Import Pictures," and import a backdrop image you would like to use. Drag it to the timeline behind the video footage. Now, drag the end of the picture in the timeline to make it longer than the green screen footage. Move it over the green screen footage so that they seem to merge. Resize it to fit.

  • Go to "Video Transitions," and then select "RehanFX Chromo Key Green A 4." Drag it into the Transitions area of the timeline. The actor is now superimposed against the background image.

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