Lighting lighting’s all about the lighting.

Get the lighting wrong and your chromakey looks bad.

I have been trying to help a friend to improve his YouTube submissions by suggesting he use greenscreen. For those of you who are not familiar with “Chromakeying” or “greenscreen” (sometimes called bluescreen), it is the method by which you can replace the background in a video with anything from a skyscape to a weather forecast. Think of the weatherman standing in front of a map of the US warning of impending storms in Florida. What is behind him is a green screen made of green material or a wall painted green ( or blue in some cases). Also superman flying ..thanks to chromakey (sorry if I keep interchanging the words..but they are the same thing). The reason by the way that they use either green or blue is because it is the furthest away from our skin tone. Also you have to be careful not to wear either color when doing this type of video work.

I am more used to lighting small sets for lego minifigs or clay puppets for stop motion than for full size human beings!. As a result I realized that you need alot more light for larger sets that you would for stop motion movies. It took many attempts before we got the lighting right ..including having to borrow another 1000 watt lamp from my brother in law.

Now for the “cheap” part. We used Wax 2.0 which is free. But I have to say its chromakeying is primitive. It does not allow anything other than color picker and tolerance. The color picker is an obvious must. The tolerance on Wax is too sensitive. The scroll bar is too small and you really have to take great care when moving it really slowly to pick out the keying color. Also there is not low / high threshold or hue saturation or luminense, blur control etc.

Greenscreen setup

Greenscreen setup

However it’s free …so I guess we cannot complain too much. But if I was doing it again I would consider investing in Sony Vegas, or After effects. But for small scale chromakeying for my stop motion I am happy to stick with Wax for the moment.