Creating the illusion: Green screen lighting


David Morphy TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
The illusion
If good cinematography is about creating the illusion of three dimensional reality, on a two dimensional screen. Working to create reality using background plates offers a whole new variety of technical issues that need to be addressed with skill if it is going to be successful. In this article I will touch on some of the basic issues that need to be taken into account in order to pull off the illusion of "Reality", and done well it is a creative process and can be very rewarding.
First Step
The first step in the creative process is to evaluate the background plate or overlay image. You may or may not have shot the background plate yourself, either way you will need to make some decisions, for example:
Camera: Position of the camera, set up of camera including lens and lens height, iris and white balance.
Optical quality of Key and Back light: What type and time of day is it? Exterior, interior, sunny, cloudy, evening or night? What quality key light will you need to use to replicate the background lighting. Obviously a sunny day would be represented by a hard key with crisp shadows. A cloudy day would use a softer diffuse light and a nigh exterior could have some wonderful moody colours motivated by streetlights and shop windows
Direction of light: Most importantly, where would the key come from - which direction are the shadows falling? Get this wrong and there is no true illusion. The human brain subliminally picks up these subtle and fine details.
Colour quality: You will need to match the foreground to the background
Subject position in frame: Where can you naturally place the subject?
Lighting the Screen
Essentially there are a few rules for trouble free green screens. Here are some of the most essential:
Even Flat Lighting - to within 1/3rd of a stop. Try using a spot meter. This works best for me. The most common method for this and an international standard are 4' 4Banks from Kino Flo. These have several advantages. Firstly they are large soft sources with wide reflectors that help multiple units blend the light together seamlessly. This system will dramatically reduce the set up time , the amount of units required and offer excellent colour that keeps contamination of the subject to a minimum.
Lamp Colour Choice - It is essential to avoid the contamination of green light onto the subject. There are several ways to do this, however with digital cameras and green screens the most successful combination I find is the use of the KF3200 lamp from Kino Flo. In features and commercials on large stages the use of narrow wavelength (special effects) blue and green tubes are used, however in broadcast studios it is more common to see the screen lit with KF3200 bulbs - this provides good colour for the green screen (better that naked tungsten) but further to that, any direct contamination from the lights will not affect the foreground. In some cases where space is an issue the Kino's can be used in a vertical position and light both the screen and rim light the subject at the same time. Other colour choices for lighting the screen are appropriate depending on circumstance for example blue screen - or large screens however the above system is the most popular professional system currently in use – and has a proven track record.
Avoid contamination - keep your subjects as far from the screen as possible. In my book, a minimum of 2m is required If this is not possible, careful use of backlights can help alleviate some of these issues.
Avoid light with corrupt or a non-continuous colour spectrum- It can be tempting to use lights with a green spike for example (Architectural or non-Kino Flo fluorescents or cheap LED sources) and this may work well if controlled correctly (it can also reduce the amount of light needed) however most shooting environments are in constant flux and unless you are renting or using the fixtures for a single purpose or set up, contamination (especially on skin) can be a major issue in pulling a clean key.
Green is your enemy - If producing high quality images is our aim, we need to take real care of skin tones, but we need to ensure we can easily pull off detail like hair convincingly. In order to do this we need to work to keep all green light including spill and bounce light confined to the screen area itself. We need to be aware of the psychology of colour on the human - Green denotes the colour of illness and or decay and it is a colour we should not really use on skin. It creates a sickly looking person that is not pleasing to the eye. High quality skin tones make images look glossy.
Fighting Green - There are times when contamination cannot be avoided generally due to lack of space. In this situation some minus green gel (magenta) on the back lights can counter the contamination and do a great job of helping to provide that clean problem free key. But an issue may arise when you put the background in as you will see a magenta rim around your subject in the foreground, so beware.
Summary:
The art of pulling a good matte is the careful and full analysis of the foreground subject and the background to be inserted. Recording as much resolution and digital information that the edit system may need, including recording at a 4:2:2 sub-sampling compression ration or better and lighting the foreground sympathetically with the light in the background. Lighting the Green or Blue screen evenly and at an exposure level of 1 F-stop below the foreground, and placing the camera at a correct orientation as to create a foreground image that sits seamlessly into the back ground.
If you can achieve all this, you will find the postproduction processes a pleasure and the illusion will be seamless and complete.

David Morphy is the technical director and one of the founding partners at Cirro Lite a company renowned for its technical innovation and market leading solutions. David has been involved in high end lighting technology for over 30 years, he started his career in the music industry working with visually creative acts like Pink Floyd, Genesis and the Rolling Stones. In 1992 he started Cirro Lite with John Coppen to promote new technology with the aim of launching Kino Flo in Europe, his first major screen job was for ILM (George Lucas) who were contracted to do the special effects for the “Helicopter in the tunnel” sequence on the first Mission Impossible film on the 007 stage in Pinewood. For this Sequence ILM insisted that a plane full of Kino Flo units loaded with Spiked Blue 420nm bulbs to light the screen in order to hit the release date for the feature. This was a first in Europe and the start of a whole new wave of digital effects work now common place in the industry. David brings this knowledge and more to the creative use of light in image creation.

Tags: iss074 | green screen lighting | how to | light | background plates | KF3200 | Kino flo | bulbs | spot meter | matte | David Morphy
Contributing Author David Morphy

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Lightworks on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

    Lightworks on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

  • Ianiro on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

    Ianiro on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

  • Holdan on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

    Holdan on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

  • The tv-bay BroadcastShow Tour 2013

    The tv-bay BroadcastShow Tour 2013

  • Official TOUR Video 2013

    Official TOUR Video 2013

  • October TOUR 2013 Roundup

    October TOUR 2013 Roundup

  • Pinewood TOUR!

    Pinewood TOUR!

  • Leeds TOUR

    Leeds TOUR

  • Belfast TOUR

    Belfast TOUR

  • Philip Bloom on Tour in Belfast

    Philip Bloom on Tour in Belfast

  • Gearhouse Broadcast on Tour May 2013

    Gearhouse Broadcast on Tour May 2013

  • Glasgow TOUR!

    Glasgow TOUR!

  • London TOUR!

    London TOUR!

  • Kino Flo Celeb 850 and Freestyle LED lights at IBC 2017

    Kino Flo Celeb 850 and Freestyle LED lights at IBC 2017

  • Lighting cameraman Jonathan Harrison shows the Celeb and Tegra at IBC 2013

    Lighting cameraman Jonathan Harrison shows the Celeb and Tegra at IBC 2013

  • The Light Bridge shown at IBC 2018

    The Light Bridge shown at IBC 2018

  • Area 48 Color and more from BBS Lighting at IBC 2018

    Area 48 Color and more from BBS Lighting at IBC 2018

  • Dedolight DLED3 shown at IBC 2018

    Dedolight DLED3 shown at IBC 2018

  • Dedolight show the LED Raptor Bicolor at IBC 2018

    Dedolight show the LED Raptor Bicolor at IBC 2018

  • Rotolight Anova Pro 2 LED at NAB 2018

    Rotolight Anova Pro 2 LED at NAB 2018

  • Full Spectrum Remote Phosphor Lights from Photon Beard at NAB 2018

    Full Spectrum Remote Phosphor Lights from Photon Beard at NAB 2018

  • BBS Lighting Force 7 at NAB 2018

    BBS Lighting Force 7 at NAB 2018

  • Jonathan Harrison interviews Dedo Weigert with the DEDOLIGHT DLED3

    Jonathan Harrison interviews Dedo Weigert with the DEDOLIGHT DLED3

  • Dedolight Felloni Turbo and Felloni 3 shown at BVE 2018

    Dedolight Felloni Turbo and Felloni 3 shown at BVE 2018

  • Rotolight Anova Pro 2 shown at BVE 2018

    Rotolight Anova Pro 2 shown at BVE 2018

  • DOP Choice Lighting Bracket and Snapbox at IBC 2017

    DOP Choice Lighting Bracket and Snapbox at IBC 2017

  • Force 7 LED LEKO light from BBS at IBC 2017

    Force 7 LED LEKO light from BBS at IBC 2017

  • Davinci Resolve 14 with Fairlight from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

    Davinci Resolve 14 with Fairlight from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

  • Dedolight at IBC 2016

    Dedolight at IBC 2016

  • Dedolight at NAB 2016

    Dedolight at NAB 2016

  • Cirrolite and Dedo Light at BVE 2016

    Cirrolite and Dedo Light at BVE 2016

  • KitPlus Show 2015 Highlights

    KitPlus Show 2015 Highlights

  • Hive Lighting at IBC 2015

    Hive Lighting at IBC 2015

  • FilmGear LED lighting at IBC 2015

    FilmGear LED lighting at IBC 2015

  • LSC Lighting at IBC 2015

    LSC Lighting at IBC 2015

  • Zylight at IBC 2015

    Zylight at IBC 2015

  • Dedolight at IBC 2015

    Dedolight at IBC 2015

  • DEDOLIGHT at NAB 2015

    DEDOLIGHT at NAB 2015

  • LCA - Snapgrid lighting control - BVE 2015

    LCA - Snapgrid lighting control - BVE 2015

  • Highlights of the November Tour 2014

    Highlights of the November Tour 2014

  • Hive Lighting Wasp Plasma Par at IBC 2014

    Hive Lighting Wasp Plasma Par at IBC 2014

  • Zylight Fresnel updates at IBC 2014

    Zylight Fresnel updates at IBC 2014

  • Zylight on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Zylight on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Zylight LED Fresnel at IBC 2013

    Zylight LED Fresnel at IBC 2013

  • Scott Hill uses EditShare: Lightworks at NAB 2013

    Scott Hill uses EditShare: Lightworks at NAB 2013

  • Photon Beard: Space Light at NAB 2013

    Photon Beard: Space Light at NAB 2013

  • Zylight F8 LED Fresnel at NAB 2013

    Zylight F8 LED Fresnel at NAB 2013

  • Photon Beard: Square One Light at NAB 2013

    Photon Beard: Square One Light at NAB 2013

  • ZyLight at IBC 2012

    ZyLight at IBC 2012

  • Rotolight at NAB 2012

    Rotolight at NAB 2012

  • Rotolight and TNP at BVE 2012

    Rotolight and TNP at BVE 2012

  • Rotolight at ProVideo2011

    Rotolight at ProVideo2011

  • TNP and Rotolight at BVE North 2011

    TNP and Rotolight at BVE North 2011

  • Rotolight at IBC2011

    Rotolight at IBC2011

  • Cirrolite and Kino Flo at BVE 2017

    Cirrolite and Kino Flo at BVE 2017

  • Jonathan Harrison at BVE North 2011

    Jonathan Harrison at BVE North 2011

  • Blackmagic Design at IBC 2016

    Blackmagic Design at IBC 2016

  • KitPlus filming rig used at NAB 2017

    KitPlus filming rig used at NAB 2017

  • Photon Beard at IBC 2016

    Photon Beard at IBC 2016

  • Filming kit review from NAB

    Filming kit review from NAB

  • Cineo HS2 at IBC 2015

    Cineo HS2 at IBC 2015

  • LiteGear at IBC 2015

    LiteGear at IBC 2015

  • LiteGear LED LiteMat at IBC 2015

    LiteGear LED LiteMat at IBC 2015

  • Cineo Matchbox at IBC 2015

    Cineo Matchbox at IBC 2015

  • Photon Beard at IBC 2015

    Photon Beard at IBC 2015

  • Tally Technologies at IBC 2015

    Tally Technologies at IBC 2015

  • Kitplus at BVE 2015

    Kitplus at BVE 2015

  • Litepanels at BVE 2015

    Litepanels at BVE 2015

  • LCA - Inteca products at BVE 2015

    LCA - Inteca products at BVE 2015

  • LCA - LITEGEAR at BVE 2015

    LCA - LITEGEAR at BVE 2015

  • PhotonBeard - HMI Blonde - at BVE 2015

    PhotonBeard - HMI Blonde - at BVE 2015

  • AntonBauer at BVE 2015

    AntonBauer at BVE 2015

  • Rosco at BVE 2015

    Rosco at BVE 2015

  • Winner of the LP54 Miller Classic

    Winner of the LP54 Miller Classic

  • KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

    KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

  • Photon Beard Platinum Blonde at IBC 2014

    Photon Beard Platinum Blonde at IBC 2014

  • Photon Beard Photon Beam at IBC 2014

    Photon Beard Photon Beam at IBC 2014

  • Broadstream Solutions at NAB 2014

    Broadstream Solutions at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Monarch HD at NAB 2014

    Matrox Monarch HD at NAB 2014

  • Metus at NAB 2014

    Metus at NAB 2014

  • Cineline Fluid Head from Miller Camera Support at NAB 2014

    Cineline Fluid Head from Miller Camera Support at NAB 2014

  • MultiDyne Products at NAB 2014

    MultiDyne Products at NAB 2014

  • Nugen Audio at NAB 2014

    Nugen Audio at NAB 2014

  • PacTV Truck at NAB 2014

    PacTV Truck at NAB 2014

  • PAG Batteries at NAB 2014

    PAG Batteries at NAB 2014

  • Phabrix RX rack mount range at NAB 2014

    Phabrix RX rack mount range at NAB 2014

  • Phabrix at NAB 2014

    Phabrix at NAB 2014

  • Phabrix TAG at NAB 2014

    Phabrix TAG at NAB 2014

  • Pixel Power at NAB 2014

    Pixel Power at NAB 2014

  • Polecam presents award to AMS Pictures at NAB 2014

    Polecam presents award to AMS Pictures at NAB 2014

  • Pronology at NAB 2014

    Pronology at NAB 2014

  • Quantel Pablo Rio at NAB 2014

    Quantel Pablo Rio at NAB 2014

  • Quantel Enterprise sQ at NAB 2014

    Quantel Enterprise sQ at NAB 2014

  • Quantel QTube at NAB 2014

    Quantel QTube at NAB 2014

  • RTW at NAB 2014

    RTW at NAB 2014

  • SGL at NAB 2014

    SGL at NAB 2014

  • SIS LIVE product range at NAB 2014

    SIS LIVE product range at NAB 2014

  • SIS LIVE ManPak at NAB 2014

    SIS LIVE ManPak at NAB 2014

  • Softron MovieRecorder updates at NAB 2014

    Softron MovieRecorder updates at NAB 2014

  • Sony Alpha7S at NAB 2014

    Sony Alpha7S at NAB 2014

  • Sound Devices at NAB 2014

    Sound Devices at NAB 2014

  • Studio Technologies at NAB 2014

    Studio Technologies at NAB 2014

  • Telestream Enterprise at NAB 2014

    Telestream Enterprise at NAB 2014

  • Telestream Switch at NAB 2014

    Telestream Switch at NAB 2014

  • Thomson Broadcast at NAB 2014

    Thomson Broadcast at NAB 2014

  • Perception at NAB 2014

    Perception at NAB 2014

  • Visual Unity at NAB 2014

    Visual Unity at NAB 2014

  • Volicon at NAB 2014

    Volicon at NAB 2014

  • Calrec Summa at NAB 2014

    Calrec Summa at NAB 2014

  • ChyronHego PowerClips at NAB 2014

    ChyronHego PowerClips at NAB 2014

  • ChyronHego at NAB 2014

    ChyronHego at NAB 2014

  • Cinegy at NAB 2014

    Cinegy at NAB 2014

  • Clear-Com ProGrid at NAB 2014

    Clear-Com ProGrid at NAB 2014

  • Clear-Com HelixNet Partyline at NAB 2014

    Clear-Com HelixNet Partyline at NAB 2014

  • Cobalt Digital at NAB 2014

    Cobalt Digital at NAB 2014

  • CueScript Prompters at NAB 2014

    CueScript Prompters at NAB 2014

  • Dalet at NAB 2014

    Dalet at NAB 2014

  • Dejero at NAB 2014

    Dejero at NAB 2014

  • DPA Microphones at NAB 2014

    DPA Microphones at NAB 2014

  • Editors Keys at NAB 2014

    Editors Keys at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies Software-Defined Video at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies Software-Defined Video at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies HEVC solutions at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies HEVC solutions at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies Multiscreen Solutions at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies Multiscreen Solutions at NAB 2014

  • Ericsson at NAB 2014

    Ericsson at NAB 2014

  • Facilis at NAB 2014

    Facilis at NAB 2014

  • GB Labs Space at NAB 2014

    GB Labs Space at NAB 2014

  • Glensound Atomic Copper at NAB 2014

    Glensound Atomic Copper at NAB 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck at NAB 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck at NAB 2014

  • Haivision at NAB 2014

    Haivision at NAB 2014

  • IMT at NAB 2014

    IMT at NAB 2014

  • Inmarsat at NAB 2014

    Inmarsat at NAB 2014

  • JVC GY-HM850 and GY-HM650 at NAB 2014

    JVC GY-HM850 and GY-HM650 at NAB 2014

  • JVC concept products at NAB 2014

    JVC concept products at NAB 2014

  • Libec ALLEX slider system at NAB 2014

    Libec ALLEX slider system at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

    Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Capture Card at NAB 2014

    Matrox Capture Card at NAB 2014

  • AQ Broadcast at NAB 2014

    AQ Broadcast at NAB 2014

  • ATEME at NAB 2014

    ATEME at NAB 2014

  • Atomos Shogun and Ninja Star at NAB 2014

    Atomos Shogun and Ninja Star at NAB 2014

  • Atomos Operating System at NAB 2014

    Atomos Operating System at NAB 2014

  • Atomos at NAB 2014

    Atomos at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

  • Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

    Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

  • Brainstorm Multimedia at NAB 2014

    Brainstorm Multimedia at NAB 2014

  • Tally Technologies at BVE 2014

    Tally Technologies at BVE 2014

  • Projects Department on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC

    Projects Department on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC

  • Photon Beard on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Photon Beard on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Polecam talk accessories on BroadcastShow LIVE 2013

    Polecam talk accessories on BroadcastShow LIVE 2013

  • Polecam talk high speed on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Polecam talk high speed on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • ChyronHego Paint at IBC 2013

    ChyronHego Paint at IBC 2013

  • Photon Beard: Cyc Hood at NAB 2013

    Photon Beard: Cyc Hood at NAB 2013

  • AC Entertainment Technologies at BVE 2013

    AC Entertainment Technologies at BVE 2013

  • Jonathan Harrison at BVE North 2012

    Jonathan Harrison at BVE North 2012

  • MultiDyne at NAB 2012

    MultiDyne at NAB 2012

  • Editshare at NAB 2012

    Editshare at NAB 2012

  • Litepanels at NAB 2012

    Litepanels at NAB 2012

  • Calrec at BVE 2012

    Calrec at BVE 2012

  • Datavision at BVE 2012

    Datavision at BVE 2012

  • Litepanels at BVE 2012

    Litepanels at BVE 2012

  • Flaghead Photographic at ProVideo2011

    Flaghead Photographic at ProVideo2011

  • Ianiro at BVE North 2011

    Ianiro at BVE North 2011

  • Cirrolite at BVE North 2011

    Cirrolite at BVE North 2011

  • Autoscript at IBC2011

    Autoscript at IBC2011

  • Litepanels at IBC2011

    Litepanels at IBC2011

  • PAG at IBC2011

    PAG at IBC2011

  • Gekko at IBC2011

    Gekko at IBC2011

  • Photon Beard at IBC2011

    Photon Beard at IBC2011

  • Quantel at IBC2011

    Quantel at IBC2011

  • IDX at IBC2011

    IDX at IBC2011

  • Classic tubes reinvented by Kino Flo at IBC 2018

    Classic tubes reinvented by Kino Flo at IBC 2018

  • Kino Flo DIVA-LITE 21 shown by Cirrolite at BVE 2018

    Kino Flo DIVA-LITE 21 shown by Cirrolite at BVE 2018

  • Kino Flo Select at IBC 2016

    Kino Flo Select at IBC 2016

  • Kino Flo at NAB 2016

    Kino Flo at NAB 2016

  • Kino Flo Select at IBC 2015

    Kino Flo Select at IBC 2015

  • KINOFLO CELEB at NAB 2015

    KINOFLO CELEB at NAB 2015

  • Size matters with DoP Choice plus Rabbit Ears on show at IBC 2018

    Size matters with DoP Choice plus Rabbit Ears on show at IBC 2018

  • Blackmagic Design Ultimatte at IBC 2017

    Blackmagic Design Ultimatte at IBC 2017


Related Shows
  • LED Lighting with Den Lennie at BVE

    LED Lighting with Den Lennie at BVE


Articles
Perimeter LED screens management
Nicolas Houel Opened in January 2016, Parc Olympique Lyonnais, also known as Groupama Stadium, is the new home of Olympique Lyonnais football club, one of the most popular clubs in France. Since its inauguration, the stadium was a host of UEFA Euro 2016, and was also chosen to stage, among other important events, the 2018 UEFA Europa League Final and football at the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Tags: iss133 | 3dstorm | graphics | groupama stadium | liveexpert | livecg | deltacast | Nicolas Houel
Contributing Author Nicolas Houel Click to read or download PDF
Ruth Matos Interview - A Career Unfolds
Ruth Matos We first met Ruth when we employed her as a student to help with our live studio at BVE in 2013. We were struck by her determination, passion and ‘I’ll do anything to help’ attitude. We became friends of Facebook and have since seen her career in the industry develop and unfold. We thought it was about time to catch up and share her inspiring story of where she is now, how she got there and the challenges she has faced along the way.
Tags: iss133 | interview | filmming | career | education | Ruth Matos
Contributing Author Ruth Matos Click to read or download PDF
Smashing the WTA Tour
Danny Ridler The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is the global leader in women’s professional sport with more than 2500 players representing nearly 100 nations competing for a record $146 million in prize money. The 2018 WTA competitive season includes 54 events and four Grand Slams in 30 countries. In 2017, the WTA was watched around the world by a total TV audience of 500 million – with host broadcast services provided by NEP UK.
Tags: iss133 | tennis | wta | nep | outside broadcast | ob | Danny Ridler
Contributing Author Danny Ridler Click to read or download PDF
What is next in OTT
Mary Kay Evans In the past year alone, we’ve seen a substantial increase in the amount of OTT content that’s being streamed. In the first quarter of 2018, there’s been a 114 percent year-over-year growth in streaming video hours, and those numbers are only expected to rise. With OTT revenue predicted to reach $16.6B in 2018, a 40% gain over last year, there’s no question that OTT is booming, and that there’s never been a more critical time to pay attention to the space.
Tags: iss133 | ott | verizon | cisco | Mary Kay Evans
Contributing Author Mary Kay Evans Click to read or download PDF
OB999 Accelerates Hill Climb Broadcast
Nick Collier Over the last century, The Shelsley Walsh Speed Hill Climb has been attempted by some of the world’s most accomplished racing drivers striving to be the fastest up the 1,000 yard, 1 in 6 gradient track.
Tags: iss133 | ob999 | blackmagic | atem | multicam | videohub | cleanswitch | premiere pro | hyperdeck | Nick Collier
Contributing Author Nick Collier Click to read or download PDF