Happy Fourth of July! As I thought about all of the pyrotechnics of the coming holiday, the special effects the video crews will use to produce that TV special with the Boston Pops and the fireworks from the White House lawn, I had to reflect on my own special effects moment from earlier this week, a green screen video shoot.
The project we’re working on has a learning agent that guides participants through the course. We’re using a combination of still photography and audio along with green screen video. The shot went great, but we did learn a few tricks for future green screen videos:
- Use a teleprompter. Even if it’s just a few short sentences, it’s hard to remember marks and the script. And since you really want the talent to hit the marks, lessen the burden on the script side.
- Bring sticky notes! If the learning agent is pointing to buttons on screen, you’ll need to mark them off on the green screen, but sticky notes on the monitor will make sure the people watching know the agent is hitting the mark.
- Keep it short. Green screen videos are shot in one take, if possible. Thirty seconds to a minute is really about all you need. Another reason the teleprompter is key, too.
- Use props. The learning agent feels more comfortable when he or she has something to do, besides walk across the screen. Props that illustrate key points give him or her action to take. Picking up a book from a table can be easier than trying to talk to the camera.
- Set cues for moving hands or changing position. Not everyone feels comfortable on green screen. Offering suggestions of when to move their hands or even walk a bit on screen can be helpful for new talent. We recommended keeping your hands above your waist, as you’re more likely to gesture with them naturally as you speak.
- Have hairspray. Editing green screen can get complicated if the learning agent has lots of fly-aways. The hair will get edited out when the background is removed. Our wonderful talent was thoughtful enough to bring her own, but next time I know I’ll have an extra can with me!
If you’re getting started with your own green screen video shoot or any video shoot for that matter, check out I Came, I Saw, I Learned for production tips and tips on purchasing the correct equipment for green screen.
What other tips do you have for producing green screen? I definitely want suggestions before I do our next video shoot!