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What to Wear for a Green Screen Shoot

Many of our clients ask us what they should wear when we film them in front of a green screen, in which we reply with a simple email telling them basically what they can’t wear.  I’m going to explain why you can’t wear certain things in front of a green screen and what looks best when participating in a green screen shoot and hopefully if you are one of our clients, this will help you choose an outfit that makes you look the best in front of a green screen.

Green and blue screens are used in TV shows, blockbuster films, etc. to create a background that would be to costly to construct.  You would most commonly see these screens used by your local meteorologist while forecasting the weather.  The reason why we predominately use green in our studio is because digital cameras not only retain more from the green channel but it also requires less light, therefore resulting in a better quality.

The point of a green screen is to separate the subject from the background by removing or “keying” out the green.  This is why it is important not to wear the same color as the background.  I found a video on YouTube that adequately demonstrates this point.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsoRgkh0fYo

Notice how her green shirt disappears with the green background.  Although a certain shade of green is easier to key out than others, no shade of green should be worn in front of a green screen unless you want to be a floating head.  This also goes for white or black backgrounds.  In front of a white background you should not wear white or light colors and in front of a black background; black or dark colors.  The reason for this is because through the lens of the camera, the white shirt you are wearing and the white background may blend together, once again virtually making you a floating head.

Also you shouldn’t wear anything with stripes, patterns, or anything shiny or reflective.  These may result in a waving pattern or shimmer in the video because of the way the camera captures the image and the outcome looks unnatural and ugly.  This goes for any shoot with or without a green screen.  It would be a good idea not to wear glasses in a video shoot either because of the reflection of light off the glasses as well as they might reflect some green from the green screen, so please wear contacts if you have them.

Okay so I told you what you shouldn’t wear and you are probably thinking to yourself, “If I can’t wear any of that… What else is there?”  Neutral shades work the best, as well as pastel colors (although no shades of green).  If you are in front of a white backdrop, it’s okay to wear darker colors as well as lighter colors in front of a black back drop… and that’s it!  Now you know what to wear and a little bit about why.  Hopefully I prepared you enough for your green screen shoot so you look like some big Hollywood star.  Good luck!

-Tom Grenier

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