How to Easily Remove and Replace a Background Using a Green Screen


Green screen shooting allows for the easy removal of the background in a video file or photograph so you can replace it with another image. This gives the illusion that the other things and people in the shot are in an entirely different location. It also lets newsrooms add pertinent images and information in the background of a news report or shot. Shooting a solid color makes the background easier to remove. The choice of bright green allows computers to pull the color without much overlap with other colors in the foreground.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Editing program
  • Green screen sample shot
  • Green screen footage
  • Digital file of footage
  • Replacement background
  • Load all of your footage into your editing program. You can do this by connecting the camera, the card or an external hard drive to your computer. Label the takes so finding the appropriate footage will be easier.

  • Open a new project file. This is where you will do all of your editing and will save your changes as separate files. This allows for the new project to be saved without changing the original footage.

  • Choose the proper configuration in your program for "keying" green screen. This is where your program will recognize the shade of green you chose for your background so the computer can can replace it with a new background

  • Drag the clip of the green screen sample shot into your program and run the keying program. Your editing software will recognize the color of your green screen so it can be replaced. This creates the "Green Screen Effect."

  • Open the clip you wish to edit. Verify it is the correct take by comparing it with your notes from the director.

  • Drag and drop the Green Screen Key effect from the Effects or Keying Folder onto the video. Stretch the effect in the editing bar for the duration of the green screen appearance.

  • Drag and drop your replacement image into the editing bar. Stretch the image to match the length of the green key so the image replaces everything removed. Repeat the steps for every shot that needs a replacement background.

Tips & Warnings

  • Different programs offer a different order for when you export video applications. You want the green screen effect to happen after the color corrector when rendering or tying all the pieces of the edited videos together, otherwise the program will not pull and add the background correctly to the output.
  • Study the special effects section of your editing program. Each one has a different placement for files and keys. There might be shortcuts for adding and keying green screen.
  • Most programs allow you to key your own color of green screen. Verify how your program keys a green screen prior to purchasing an editing program as it is important in accomplishing the "look" you want to create.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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