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Pinnacle Studio 15 Articles and Tutorials
What is Green Screen?
Chroma key is a technique for mixing two images together, in which a color (or a small color range) from one image is removed (or made transparent), revealing another image behind it. This technique is also referred to as color keying, colour-separation overlay (CSO; primarily by the BBC), greenscreen, and bluescreen. It is commonly used for weather forecast broadcasts, wherein the presenter appears to be standing in front of a large map, but in the studio it is actually a large blue or green background.The meteorologist stands in front of a bluescreen, and then different weather maps are added on those parts in the image where the color is blue. If the meteorologist himself wears blue clothes, his clothes will become replaced with the background video. This also works for greenscreens, since blue and green are considered the colors least like skin tone. This technique is also used in the movie industry. source Wikipedia
How are Green Screen Techniques Created?
The principal subject is filmed or photographed against a background consisting of a single color or a relatively narrow range of colors, usually blue or green because these colors are considered to be the furthest away from skin tone. The portions of the video which match the preselected color are replaced by the alternate background video. This process is commonly known as “keying“, “keying out” or simply a “key”.
In analog color TV, color is represented by the phase of the chroma subcarrier relative to a reference oscillator. Chroma key is achieved by comparing the phase of the video to the phase corresponding to the preselected color. In-phase portions of the video are replaced by the alternate background video.
In digital color TV, color is represented by a triple of numbers (red, green, blue). Chroma key is achieved by a simple numerical comparison between the video and the preselected color. If the color at a particular point on the screen matches (either exactly, or in a range), then the video at that point is replaced by the alternate background video.
A chroma key subject must not wear clothing similar in color to the chroma key color(s) (unless intentional), because the clothing may be replaced with the background video. An example
of intentional use of this is when an actor wears a blue covering over a part of their body to make it invisible in the final shot. This technique is used in the Harry Potter films to create the effect of an invisibility cloak.
Blue is generally used for both weather maps and special effects because it is complementary to human skin tone. However, in many instances, green has become the favored color because digital cameras retain more detail in the green channel and it requires less light than blue. Green not only has a higher luminance value than blue but also in early digital formats the green channel was sampled twice as often as the blue, making it easier to work with. The choice of color is up to the effects artists and the needs of the specific shot. In the past decade, the use of green has become dominant in film special effects. Also, the green background is favored over blue for outdoors filming where the blue sky might appear in the frame and could accidentally be replaced in the process. Although green and blue are the most common, any color can be used. Red is usually avoided due to its prevalence in normal human skin pigments, but can be often used for objects and scenes which do not involve people. Occasionally, a magenta background is used.
With better imaging and hardware, many companies are avoiding the confusion often experienced by weather presenters, who must otherwise watch themselves on a monitor to see the image shown behind them, by lightly projecting a copy of the background image onto the blue/green screen. This allows the presenter to accurately point and look at the map without referring to monitors.
The biggest challenge when setting up a bluescreen or greenscreen is even lighting and the avoidance of shadow, because it is best to have as narrow a color range as possible being replaced. A shadow would present itself as a darker color to the camera and might not register for replacement. This can sometimes be seen in low-budget or live broadcasts where the errors cannot be manually repaired. The material being used affects the quality and ease of having it evenly lit. Materials which are shiny will be far less successful than those that are not. A shiny surface will have areas that reflect the lights making them appear pale, while other areas may be darkened. A matte surface will diffuse the reflected light and have a more even color range.