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Green Screen

May 10, 2010

For  just the second time ever I was able to use an actual green screen and chroma keying during a video shoot. It was great…I had written a play and one scene was depicting the couple in a car driving to a retreat. As we were rehearsing the play the director wanted some realism in the scene so she says, “Why don’t we shoot the car scene?”. Frankly I thought it was a terrible idea. We aren’t dealing with real actors here (or real videographers either for that matter) and it isn’t easy shooting scenes. (Too much negativity… I know. I’m working on it)

So we set a date and something comes up. We set another date and something else comes up. The I lose my best camera man. That just leaves me. Finally we got a date for the final dress rehearsal and figure to shoot it that same day.

It… was.. great…

I haven’t had so much fun doing a shoot. So much fun that I was even able to make outtakes of the scenes that we showed at the end of the play. It really was fun. It was great working with the actors (church friends of mine). I had other volunteer to help and I couldn’t have shot it without them. My family chipped in and we got it done. The people watching the play were really blown away and were wondering how we did it until they saw the out takes with the green screen. It was much more effective to do it this way rather than having the actors sit in two chairs mimicking a car scene.

Fun. Plain and simple. The actors worked together, there was great chemistry, it was just fun. I’ll probably upload the outtakes… one of these days…

Technology wise I did make a mistake. While on vacation I shot some footage from my Canon Powershot SX20 (reviewed here) but I shot it in HD. Then I shot the scenes in SD using my Canon GL2 which has no HD capabilities. (BTW – I am soliciting for new gear.) I found it a little more difficult than I believe it should have been to convert HD to SD. Finally using Sony Vegas 9.0 I converted the file to AVI. I tried to convert it to MPG format but it was garbage.

Now lets talk lighting. What is the first rule of shooting outdoors…? Anyone…? Don’t shoot at noon because of the position of the sun. Anyone want to guess what time I had to do the shoot? Not my plan but it’s the time I had to work with. To say it made things more difficult is an understatement. ESPECIALLY when you want to use a green screen which depends heavily on a unified light behind the screen. The good things is the church we did the shoot at had a shaded area that allowed us to get an acceptable video done. I need to learn lighting. Big hole in my resume.

Did I mention it was fun?

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