How A Green Screen WorksHow A Green Screen Studio Works

How a Green Screen Studio Works

by Adam Saada
Studio Manager, Beverly Hills Studios, LLC

Beverly Hills Studios - green screen studio
Taylor Swift and Nick Lachey appear to be in New York, while actually shooting
at Beverly Hills Studios in Los Angeles

What's a green screen?
You've probably heard a lot about using a green screen in video productions, but do you know exactly what a green screen does? If not, this explanation should help. Green screen technology has become a major factor in what people like to call "movie magic". Viewers watch what looks to be something shot in real life and later realize that almost nothing in the video was actually real. The talent, generally actors or hosts, is usually the only real element on a set, and the rest is added in later using post production.

Using this technology, the creative possibilities are endless. You could have an animated character interact with a human in a virtual environment,  or even make someone who is actually 6 feet tall, fit into the palm of someone else's hand .

Place your talent anywhere... without leaving LA!

Through the magic of green screen technology, Taylor Swift and Nick Lachey appear to
be in New York, while actually shooting at Beverly Hills Studios in Los Angeles.

Green screen studio rentals in Los Angeles are quite common. The actual term for a green screen is chroma-key. Chroma-key is a special effect technique used to remove  a background and replace it with a super-imposed background. This is done by taking all of the green within the video frame and replacing it with something else. It is most commonly understood as the technique used for a weather person in a news show putting themselves in front of a map. However, this technology is used almost everywhere in video production.

Using special effects and post production, you can turn the green background into just about anything. Many cable and internet shows using professional hosts are shot in front of a green screen.

Beverly Hills Studios - green screen studio

The Benefits of using a Green Screen
There are many reasons why using a green screen can benefit your production.

  1. Controlled Environment
    It's a controlled environment. This means you don't have to worry about outside factors. If you planned to shoot a scene of actors walking down the beach and talking, the weather becomes a huge factor and could ruin the shoot. Instead, shoot your subjects up against the green screen where you can get clear audio, and replace it with a beach background in post production. Having a controlled environment is crucial on a production set because time is money. If your shoot is getting delayed because of uncontrollable factors, the best thing to do is eliminate them by using a green screen studio.
  2. A Green Screen Can Save You Money!
    It can be very cost-efficient. You could shoot all of your scenes in one room and add in different backgrounds later to make it seem like you shot at multiple locations. You could also make it seem as if you were shooting at a place that would have cost you a lot of money, thereby increasing your production value. Also if you are looking to shoot a production that is far away and requires a lot of travel expenses, you could avoid paying travel expenses by shooting the entire production in a green screen studio and only send a small crew to pick up the background visuals to be added in post-production. Just think about how much time and money that could save the production.  You could shoot an entire season of shows at one location and in a matter of days, and change the background out to make it seem like you have visited many locations.
  3. More Choices!
    Virtual sets allow a myriad of choices. You could place your talent behind a news desk with the monitor behind him and perform a full news segment with graphics. On virtual sets, the virtual desk can even have reflections in it from the subjects and the live monitors behind them. Technology has come so far that we don't even know what's actually real.
  4. Make Magic!
    You can perform the "impossible." Most sci-fi films are shot in front of a green screen and all of the special effects are what make it called "movie magic". This would not be possible without the use of a green screen.
Beverly Hills Studios - green screen studio
A host on a green screen set is placed at a desk on a virtual set at Beverly Hills Studios in Beverly Hills.

Even some virtual sets have real objects and set decorations in them.. This is because the talent on set might pick up objects from the set, or because they wanted to decorate the set further.

Beverly Hills Studios - green screen studio
This green screen set utilizes real set objects, and only the background will be digitally inserted.

There are many more ways you can dress the set by using real objects, which creates an environment that has no creative limitations. You can make a green screen studio into almost anything your mind can imagine. Whether you are looking to shoot a film, TV show, hosting segment, or any other type of video production, using a green screen could bring many enhancements to your production....and allow you the creativity to have any location you desire, without the expense of traveling to get there.

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