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Forums DSLR Video Lighting for DSLR green screen shoot

  • Lighting for DSLR green screen shoot

  • Jessica Marasovic

    February 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm


    I am a photographer with a small studio (60 m3) and a backdrop of 9′ x 12′ .

    I only have photographic lights (2 x elinchrom 400w) and wish to purchase some continuous lighting equipment to allow me to shoot green screen video and a pull a key easily from the footage.

    What kind of lights would be best as well as any general tips and information I may need to take into consideration would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

  • Richard Harrington

    February 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    DSLR and greenscreen is not a great combo due to the compression.

    If you insist on doing it… then go with broad lights like KinoFlos and evenly light the background.

    Also get as much distance from BG and FG as possible,

    Richard M. Harrington, PMP

    Author: From Still to Motion, Video Made on a Mac, Photoshop for Video, Understanding Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Studio On the Spot and Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5 Studio Techniques

  • Jonathan Ziegler

    February 22, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    DSLRs have some unique challenges when shooting green screen, but have some advantages over video.

    1- DSLRs use a compressed format – keep you ISO low, keep your light bright. We found fluorescents particularly useful, but you need a lot of them. Light the hell out of the green screen. It should be bright enough to shoot by itself at ISO 100, shutter between 1/60 and 1/125, with an f-stop around 5.6 – I don’t recommend higher (found it better to limit DOF to keep the green screen out of focus unless you are tracking points, but that’s another story). You will light your subject separately and will need another set of lights to do it.

    2. A narrow DOF is your friend and foe. If your shooting at an f2.8, you get lots of light, but also fuzzy edges. Now you have to hope you have the software to handle pulling the matte.

    3. Green gets everywhere. It reflects into the shadows, appears in the highlights, wraps around the subject. You get the idea. Since it sound like you only have the one side, this may not be an issue, but be looking for it.

    4. Did I mention you need lots of light? I like fourescents because they provide even light on the green screen, then you need to light your subject separately. I like daylight balanced cfls and daylight balanced tubes. The tubes are great for the screen mounted above and pointed down and towards the green screen and then use cfls and/or tubes to light your subject. Did I mention they should be balanced? I like daylight balanced.

    5. Covert. Transcode. The native file format can be dodgy. Prepare to trancode to an editing format like prores 422 for apple or cineform for PC – I think, I’m not a PC person anymore.

    All that said, it is possible to use a dslr to shoot green screen. Is it as easy to do as a regular (non dslr) camera? Yes and no and it depends on what you have and know already. Plenty of people are doing it, but I suggest using a film workflow rather than a video workflow. You mentioned being a photographer and wanting an easy key – the suggestions above will help, but practice will make perfect.

    Jonathan Ziegler

  • Jessica Marasovic

    February 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Thanks to both of you for all this information! It answered a lot of questions and I’m pretty excited to give it a go!

    Cheers 🙂

  • Ben Edwards

    February 23, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    There is a great tutorial here –

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  • Jessica Marasovic

    February 24, 2011 at 11:30 am

    thank you Ben!

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