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Ready For My Close Up


Green screen effects are very popular now, especially as the technology needed to get a good key is no longer limited to high end VFX companies. However, whilst software such as After Effects can produce great results the key to getting a good, er, key is in the actual setting up of the lighting for the shots.

Here is a shot I’ve been struggling with.



As you can see there are bright and dark areas and also parts of the umbrella that are also green. These shadows and highlights will cause problems because their colour is closer to black and white than green so the chroma key effect will not recognise them. There are tools to compensate in After Effects but if this was a consistent shade of green the key would be much easier to achieve and cleaner.

When lighting for a key try to pull the subject forward of the background to soften harsh shadows and reduce spill (the reflection of the green colour on the subject). Also try and use a diffuse light (LEDs and Kino Flows work well, spotlights are too harsh without diffusion paper). Also try and use a fill light to illuminate the screen behind the subjects (but make sure this is even with no hotspots).

Also be aware that any green in the shot will be keyed out unless we use a mask on that area. The problem is tracking a mask can be very time consuming.


Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 12.33.21

As I alway say, the extra 5 minutes spent setting up a shoot can save hours in post production.

Here’s something I shot which keyed out nicely. There are a couple of green items on the table but because the table is static and the shot was done using a tripod I had no problem masking them.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 12.17.43

Good luck!






#The Quays

A short promo we made for #TheQuays.

Pleased to announce that Robo Films Production ‘The Sitter’ won Best Suspense Short Film 2015 at the Haunted Horror Fest.

Haunted Horror





When filming it’s always good to think creatively about using the actual location light rather than always using your regular lighting setup. Here’s a nice example. I was setting up to film a scene in a corridor and noticed that the lights were quite atmospheric and moody. Rather than illuminate the entire corridor with my filming lights I decided to just use the corridor light and illuminate the main character’s face with an iPad (it was in the script that he was holding one). Much better than a bright yet boring corridor. For the close up I added an LED light on a low setting – illuminating the face from below to add a bit more brightness on the character yet still give the impression that the light is coming from his device.


Corridor Shot

I was filming at a Stagecoach school yesterday and a young chap from one of the groups I was filming had gone to a lot of effort with his green Grinch costume and green facepaint. Unfortunately as we were filming the scene on a green screen this presented something of a challenge – basically he would almost completely disappear.

Not wanting to discourage the efforts of this enthusiastic young fellow I decided to do the thing all good filmmakers should be prepared to do – improvise. The blinds in the classroom were blue so I flipped the lights around and filmed him separately in front of those. Worked a treat.

Grinch.00_01_30_00.Still003 Grinch.00_01_30_02.Still002Grinch.00_00_39_07.Still001


Top Traps

The first 4 of our Top Traps for film makers can be found here.

Top Traps




Rather than pass a Sunday afternoon watching telly, Rory and I popped along to the local cemetery and shot this for the Raindance 14 Second Horror competition.