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Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > Advice please, bedsheet for green screen Search   Reply
Photographer
JimBobLc
Posts: 199
Martinsburg, West Virginia, US


I need to do a shoot the green screen I ordered will probably not arrive in time, also I have to do it on site (a club with models in street shoes) and I am concerned the actual green screen would be damaged and I may have trouble setting it up. So I am thinking of taping it to a wall/floor then have the models do their poses standing on the sheet.
I will need to have the photos retouched I am sure, and I am wondering if any advice on how to get best results/avoid hassle for retoucher?
I will also shoot a few without the green screen so even if it doesn't work I have back up.
I am thinking of offering a few packages to the models of what to put in the background of the green screen.
What do retouchers see as the things young models want the most often in their backgrounds, if I wanted to print out a few samples to show the models of what they could have put in, I don't know dragons and fairy wings and tombstones and whatever it is retouchers see younger people put in their backgrounds that wouldn't be too difficult to do but would excite them, make them want to get those pics instead of doing something with instagram? Thanks!
Feb 04 13 07:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marin Photography NYC
Posts: 7,235
New York, New York, US


If I were you, I would shoot it on white, forget the green! If the models aren't far away enough the green will spill onto them and good luck getting that out in PS. White is easier to mask out than green. Just my two cents...
Feb 04 13 07:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DG at studio47
Posts: 2,365
East Ridge, Tennessee, US


seems like you set up a shoot without doing enough homework? would have been best to get the green screen FIRST, practice with it, then schedule your shoot. You have so many questions about every aspect of the shoot, I predict a fail if you attempt to do the work without more homework and practice. sorry to be such a downer, but I think you need to dodge a bullet and bow out. think about it? best wishes OP
Feb 04 13 07:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Darryl Varner
Posts: 725
San Jacinto, California, US


DG at studio47 wrote:
seems like you set up a shoot without doing enough homework? would have been best to get the green screen FIRST, practice with it, then schedule your shoot. You have so many questions about every aspect of the shoot, I predict a fail if you attempt to do the work without more homework and practice. sorry to be such a downer, but I think you need to dodge a bullet and bow out. think about it? best wishes OP

I would have to agree. It sounds as though you're in over your head.

Feb 04 13 07:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JimBobLc
Posts: 199
Martinsburg, West Virginia, US


Thanks for a useful & helpful response smile
I do intend to take some shots without using green screen either way. Fortunately I still have a few days to try out green screen at home (bed sheet or see if local Ritz has one) and see if it is worth the trouble.

Marin Photography wrote:
If I were you, I would shoot it on white, forget the green! If the models aren't far away enough the green will spill onto them and good luck getting that out in PS. White is easier to mask out than green. Just my two cents...

Feb 04 13 07:55 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Pictus
Posts: 1,020
Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Colored BG(background) have a bad tendency to spill its color over the FG(foreground) sad
As a retoucher I prefer dark gray BG for blondes and white BG for the others.
For a good extraction we need good contrast between the FG and BG, how you illuminate is a key element...

May help:
http://www.digitalanarchy.com/demos/chr … hting.html
http://vimeo.com/53470129
Feb 04 13 11:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kent Art Photography
Posts: 2,841
Ashford, England, United Kingdom


Green Screen was primarily intended for moving images.  You will probably get more realistic results using a white background.
Feb 05 13 12:50 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JustTheDarkness
Posts: 59
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


Ditto.. Nightmare results with digital and green. The anti-alias blends the green to the outer edges sometimes no matter how I light it. I find white with the right lighting works perfectly, and you have the benefit of much better light control.
Feb 05 13 01:05 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
a100photography
Posts: 3
Kirkland, Washington, US


White background is better.  Find an assistant who knows what they are doing. Backdrop is only part of the equation.  Poorly lit photography, poor staging, inexperienced grips, bad wardrobe and makeup...  Build a bad portfolio and you shall reap what you have sewn.
Feb 05 13 01:08 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cardmaverick
Posts: 28
Salt Lake City, Utah, US


I would recommend you get a paper background instead... fabric has a tendency to be all wrinkled and if you're lighting isn't right, it just becomes a huge disaster. I swore off fabric backgrounds years ago.
Feb 05 13 01:33 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DG at studio47
Posts: 2,365
East Ridge, Tennessee, US


Cardmaverick wrote:
I would recommend you get a paper background instead... fabric has a tendency to be all wrinkled and if you're lighting isn't right, it just becomes a huge disaster. I swore off fabric backgrounds years ago.

true. I started with large fabric BG's made of heavy material, weighted and stretched. fabric has its place. my best results were with seamless paper.

Feb 05 13 01:51 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
pellepiano
Posts: 2,279
Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden


Yes, paper is the best I think. I also started with green screen fabric. A real hassle to not have it super wrinkled.
I then started with paper blue screens and do this still. Although now when refine Edge in Photoshop si quite capable, I would probably go for white or grey backgrounds, to get away from the color spills ( especially here in my small apartment, its hard to have separation between model and background, which means more work in post ).
Feb 05 13 04:05 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
GregBrown
Posts: 783
Atlanta, Georgia, US


I don't know WHY people think green screen is a great option- I guess they've seen too many "How we made Harry Potter" behind the scenes videos. As one BRILLIANT retoucher has already posted in this thread- Grey is the way to go.. or white...  There's just too much bounce light adding green to the subject when using  green screen. I have worked with Jim Fiscus on a number of occasions- almost EVERYTHING was shot separately, and composited later. On a light grey background... so the bounce light on the back of the subject stays at a minimum, and the only light recorded was what he placed there intentionally.

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/060416/20/4442f14853d89_m.jpg
Feb 05 13 04:30 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JimBobLc
Posts: 199
Martinsburg, West Virginia, US


Thanks all for advice. I already purchased the green screen fabric but since it does not look like it will arrive in time anyway, I guess I can experiment at my leisure when it does arrive, probably easier to get the wrinkles out if I set it up in my studio than try to use it on site. I guess if I have some success with green screen extraction with green fabric, next time I can upgrade to gray/white paper etc and hope for better results. Even though some failings have been pointed out from specialists here, with artistic interests, I think the non-specialist customer would probably be happy with the results for more practical applications.
I guess if I have a white wall background, simple solid colors in the foreground, I can still get a useful extraction by paying to have it done manually for a few pictures I want to do that with.
Feb 05 13 07:13 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JimBobLc
Posts: 199
Martinsburg, West Virginia, US


Gray/white sound better now, but green screen is very well known, it seems very common many photographers think of it first even it isn't best, only in hind sight are people saying to use gray. 

DG at studio47 wrote:
...would have been best to get the green screen...

Feb 05 13 07:28 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mark Salo
Posts: 8,346
Olney, Maryland, US


JimBobLc wrote:
I do intend to take some shots without using green screen either way. Fortunately I still have a few days to try out green screen at home (bed sheet or see if local Ritz has one) and see if it is worth the trouble.

Do you still have Ritz in Martinsburg?

Feb 05 13 07:30 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JimBobLc
Posts: 199
Martinsburg, West Virginia, US


Yes, according to Google, at the mall on Foxcraft. The mall is not doing well though, so I have to check see if it is still open.

Mark Salo wrote:
Do you still have Ritz in Martinsburg?

Feb 05 13 07:36 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jacob Davis
Posts: 858
Boulder, Colorado, US


I don't agree much with the sentiments about greenscreen. You must be careful with lighting to minimize spill, which usually means more equipment (light for the background, separate lighting for the model, keep the model away from the background).

If one has the software to handle it, extraction is made easier than photoshop allows, especially where transparencies are concerned.

On the subject of spill, software like PhotoKey5 offers very good "de-spilling". If I don't get my lighting right, its spill correction can usually handle most of the work.

The only time I find chromakey technique lacking is when hair is frizzy. I usually work with that by running the initial extraction in PhotoKey, masking the hair from the extraction process. The result is a PNG that still shows the model's hair against the chromakey background, with everything else edged against the transparency. Then it's Photoshop's Refine Edge to get the hair right.

If your image processor works with chromakey, they'll know this stuff, but you can do this to help:

1. Light the background evenly.
2. If the background is green, don't shoot blondes, and avoid yellow  and green clothing.
3. Keep the models away from green screen. You mentioned they might stand on the green sheet; that could be awful to work with. If it's necessary, make sure their shoes and lower clothing are dark. No white, it will reflect the green too easily.
4. Make sure the person you send this stuff to can handle green spill, just in case.
5. Talk to said person ahead of the shoot. You may be able to exchange ideas about lighting to help with the whole process.
Feb 05 13 09:00 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cardmaverick
Posts: 28
Salt Lake City, Utah, US


Greenscreen is most useful for video. It is, when shot right, the fastest way to pull a matte. The issue of bounce light is the big drawback since it is colored and not neutral. Any background has this potential unless it's pure black.

An old school trick for green screens is to use a softened magenta color backlight. It combines with the green light to neutralize spill... it's a very 80's solution to the problem, but not necessarily easy to pull off well.

A more modern solution is to purchase a really high end greenscreen made out of the same kind of reflective paint that is used for road lines. That's probably THE best solution as it doesn't cause any spill yet you wind up with a very strong exposure for the green screen. It's pretty ingenious, but it's also limited in size and pricey.

When it comes to fine details like hair, a lot of people don't realize that the real issue isn't you're background - it's your sensors bayer filter / optical low pass filter setup causing headaches. Hasselblad sells a special digital back that can move it's sensor around and produce a true RGB image with no need for guessing what each pixel value should be. The fine details it produces are incredible. No fuzzy looking hair strands, which are a byproduct of insufficient sampling at the sensor level, made worse by the OLPF.
Feb 05 13 02:57 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JimBobLc
Posts: 199
Martinsburg, West Virginia, US


Well, I went to Wal-Mart and got the most vile, puke green plush throw blanket I have ever seen for $6.99 or so. I stretched it out on a sofa with clothes pins, it was taut but to my eyes there was a pattern in the plush material, and of course light was hitting it from different angles with parts clearly lighter or darker than others. However, the entire blanket disappeared completely in the Green Screen Wizard demo. There is some reflected light from the green against flesh color and I have not seen what it does with hair.
Feb 05 13 04:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cardmaverick
Posts: 28
Salt Lake City, Utah, US


This looks like it should do the trick for you. It has some pretty nice built in spill removal tools that can be tweaked.

http://www.photoshopgreenscreen.com/
Feb 05 13 04:59 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
terrysphotocountry
Posts: 4,111
Rochester, New York, US


Marin Photography wrote:
If I were you, I would shoot it on white, forget the green! If the models aren't far away enough the green will spill onto them and good luck getting that out in PS. White is easier to mask out than green. Just my two cents...

This pass Sunday I used white (High Key) in one area and Block (Low key) in a second area! The white can be edited real good.

Feb 05 13 08:22 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JimBobLc
Posts: 199
Martinsburg, West Virginia, US


I actually have a large sheet of black felt with vinyl backing I used years ago for a project. Looks to still be in good condition except it has been folded for years and has creases. I suppose ironing on low heat might help that? But then I have to transport it. Maybe I can cut off a portion.
Feb 06 13 04:08 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
TheStarvingArtist
Posts: 27
Jefferson City, Missouri, US


their feet will be moving the fabric and it will cover part of their feet as they move around, so you will lose that part of them in the process. I quit using green and go with white, black, and gray, depending on what they are wearing. It can be a pain dealing with the reflected green giving a green tint to the model.
light the background from the side so the reflected light does not bounce back to the model. Or bounce the light off the ceiling.
Feb 06 13 06:19 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
TheStarvingArtist
Posts: 27
Jefferson City, Missouri, US


A customer is a customer, I have never met a customer who was not critical about the results. Any way, its your reputation, and once your customer shows your work to the public it is out there and you will live with it.
Feb 06 13 06:31 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Light and Lens Studio
Posts: 1,394
Sisters, Oregon, US


Bed sheet for green screen - Bad Idea. Wrinkles.
Green screen for stills - Bad Idea unless you invest in special software to process it
Doing Your First green screen at a paid shoot. - Worse Idea

Some great advice has been posted here. Better pay attention.
Feb 06 13 06:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Silver Mirage
Posts: 1,578
Plainview, Texas, US


You definitely need to be practicing NOW. This is not something you can count on getting right on the first time out.

I'm with the retoucher above - medium to dark gray or white, depending on the model's outfit and hair color. Green can be very hard to handle unless you use very even light and specialized software, plus the color tends to contaminate the subject. You need a hard floor under your backdrop, and it will show wear/damage from shoes after a few models. Either plan on retouch or use something like seamless paper - or for white possibly tile board.

A sheet will work fine, provided you and hang and light it so as to eliminate wrinkles. The main thing is to get a clean area immediately around the model - you can deal with the edges in retouch if necessary. Set the background lighting and exposure so the white just barely blows out, or is right on the edge, then light your model for best skin tones while preserving highlights. I think Zack Arias says something to the effect that the larger your shooting space the fewer cuss words you will use setting up. You need to keep the light on the model and the light on the background as separate issues. Be careful of any areas of the model that might blend into the background, such as highlights on hair or shoulders.

A general tip for using sheets as background: Poly-cotton no-iron sheets work best. Run new sheets though the washer and drier about 3 times to completely get rid of folds from the packaging. There is no way to keep them wrinkle free in transport, so the best alternative is to have them evenly rumpled. When the come out of the drier the last time hang them or keep moving them around until they are completely cool, the then roll or wad them evenly for transport. If you really need flat you can carry a steamer and use it after you hang them.
Feb 06 13 07:03 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gabby57
Posts: 408
Coppell, Texas, US


A fellow here at MM once suggested cyan which makes a lot of sense.  No skin tone and few if any natural hair colors have significant cyan components.  So, if needed a hue /sat adjustment layer can be used to change the background to whatever works best for extracting a particular image (though blue eyes may need to be unselected).

If you know the final background will be bright, high key, use white.  The last extraction I did is the most recent shot in my portfolio here, I used an 8' octabox as the background.

Since I don't do much shooting and time isn't that big a deal to me, I've found Topaz Remask to work well with a variety of backgrounds, not limited to solid colors.  If you look really hard it does leave a bit of a halo sometimes, but you really have to look for it.
Feb 06 13 08:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JimBobLc
Posts: 199
Martinsburg, West Virginia, US


Seems like if the subject is far enough away from the backdrop then a low aperture causes the backdrop to be out of focus and reduces problems from wrinkles etc. In the tests I did, when the subject was touching the green sheet (on a couch) there was some reflection on the skin that was touching. But really not that bad, and the software easily took care of the green screen. I was pretty impressed with the results from a green throw blanket I found at Big Lots for $3. I used green duct tape to tape it to the wall. The tape stretched it out eliminating most wrinkles. And the green tape also disappeared in the software. I painted some props with apple green acrylic paint from Michael's, and they also disappear. Wrapping them in the same duct tape also works.
The problem going on site is, the duct tape will peel paint off the wall lol. And you look like the Mad Professor as you tape a blanket to the wall with duct tape.
Feb 10 13 08:04 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JimBobLc
Posts: 199
Martinsburg, West Virginia, US


Silver Mirage wrote:
...A sheet will work fine, provided you and hang and light it so as to eliminate wrinkles. The main thing is to get a clean area immediately around the model - you can deal with the edges in retouch if necessary. Set the background lighting and exposure so the white just barely blows out, or is right on the edge, then light your model for best skin tones while preserving highlights. I think Zack Arias says something to the effect that the larger your shooting space the fewer cuss words you will use setting up. You need to keep the light on the model and the light on the background as separate issues. Be careful of any areas of the model that might blend into the background, such as highlights on hair or shoulders...

Thanks very good advice.

Feb 10 13 08:08 pm  Link  Quote 
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