Monday, 11 March 2013


'Green Screen', also known as 'Chromakey', is a technique used in TV and Film that enables actors and props to be placed within any desired scene without the need for expensive location shoots or set building.

The scene is shot in front of a green-coloured background, which is then replaced with another through the wizardry of modern editing software.

The effect is most commonly used on news and weather programmes, but has recently become a massive component in the latest blockbusters. The likes of 300 and The Matrix Trilogy used this extensively in order to place the characters in stunning and beautiful locations dreamed up by highly talented artists and designers.

300 predominantly used blue screen whilst The Matrix stuck with green

To add the effect in Final Cut Pro, for example, simply add the 'Chromakeyer' video filter to the relevant clip. Place the background of your choice in the video track underneath the clip in the timeline, then adjust the settings by double clicking on the clip and selecting 'settings' from the tab. With a bit of trial and error, your subject will soon be placed into a scene of your choosing – and the great thing is, if you don't like it you can change it at the click of a mouse!

Why green?

Green isn't the only colour used for Chromakey. 'Blue-screen' filming is still in use today, but the principle remains the same. Green is chosen primarily because of the sensitivity in modern video camera equipment, being the easiest colour to pick up by the camera's light sensors. It's also easier to light correctly.


One important thing to remember when shooting with green screen is to ensure there are no shadows or significant colour variations.


The big three video editing applications (Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro and Avid) all have chromakey effects built in as standard. They are, however, fairly basic and for those who often use the effect, it might be worth considering investing in specially-programmed plug-ins that are designed for green screen filming.

To find out more about green screen, check out these links:


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  2. Interesting post. I've noticed, more and more producers choose to use Green Screen technology on their movies. But I guess this is because chromakey is more cost effective that sending your whole cast to a specific location right? I came across this reliable video production site while lurking on the internet, maybe it can also provide you with info. Hoping to read more from your blog. Thanks!