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Thread: Best green screen material on a budget?

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    Default Best green screen material on a budget?

    I've been looking all around the web for a cheap green screen set up and besides paint (which I cannot paint my walls), I've read that cloth is much better than plastic. Now, I believe this since cloth doesn't reflect--- but I imagine cloth has lint and other furs on it that may mess up the green screen effect. What is the best budget route to go with this?

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    Junior Member Max555's Avatar
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    I actually purchased from a pro photography shop a green background, it came as a 3 meter width and from memory was approx $14 AUD a meter. Cloth would work easily as good and lint would not be that much of an issue in my experience. The key to Green/Blue screen is to have it evenly lit so it presents as one color that can be easily masked in your editing software. It doesn't even have to be green/blue, just a color that is not representative in your subject and a material that doesn't give off much reflection so that it does not create a color cast on your subject.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max555 View Post
    It doesn't even have to be green/blue, just a color that is not representative in your subject
    it needs to be saturated though. it's not just the "color". a pale green consists of almost equal parts of all colors, with just a little bit more green. and some colors that seem pure are actually not very saturated at all, like pink and lime green. it's also better if it's a "primary" color like red, green, bue, magenta, yellow or cyan. makes it easier for the keying software.

    /matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by daveman123 View Post
    I've been looking all around the web for a cheap green screen set up and besides paint (which I cannot paint my walls), I've read that cloth is much better than plastic. Now, I believe this since cloth doesn't reflect--- but I imagine cloth has lint and other furs on it that may mess up the green screen effect. What is the best budget route to go with this?
    I picked up a piece of green muslin cloth from my local fabric store. The lady there said that people come in nearly every day asking for it for greenscreen purposes. It cost me roughly $15 for my 8 x 10 piece. I've also sewn on another piece to make it larger (the seam keys out nicely). Keep it as clean as possible, but you don't have to worry about small pieces of lint, etc. as they will not show.

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    i bought plain as plain green fabric at wal-mart for under 5 dollars per square yard. I did a whole wall for less than 20 bucks. The hardest part is getting good even lighting for pulling clean keys.

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    I built this little 3'x3' screen for some headshots last year. I used Wal Mart fabric and it worked flawlessly, and that was in SD. Of course, it's really easy to light on this small of a scale...




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    have you considered a 9' paper roll? these can be purchased for ~$50 from B&H

    go to home depot and get a 10' section of PVC pipe for a rod and hang from the ceiling with screw hooks. I have this setup in my garage for portraits (not green paper though :-) )

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    The best cheap fabric I've used is from WalMart and it was a green apple color of flannel. Very little spill which you'll get a lot more if you're using a more cotton / poly material.

    Painted canvas / muslin works VERY well also.

    I've bought bright green (close to chroma) paper from Xpedex and used that with success.

    If you go the material route, you may need someone to stitch the pieces together and to create rod pockets if you're looking for something a bit more portable.

    If you do a lot of green screening, www.eefx.com can't be beat. Not really cheap but there isn't a better fabric option IMO.

    cheno

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    i took a piece of plywood (around 6' by 8') and taped on an old white sheet, and then two layers of green plastic "party" tablecloth over it... It works amazingly well considering it cost me about $4.
    Here's are two videos i made using the green screen;
    http://www.vimeo.com/1048393
    http://www.vimeo.com/1003480

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    I bought 3 yards of green fabric on sale at JoAnne's for like, $0.99 USD/yard, on sale. I bought 2x 1 yard of PVC pipe and taped the material the pipes like a scroll, so I could stretch it between the two or hang it from one and use the other as a counterbalance. Works awesome, and cost around $6-7.

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    great suggestions but i still think yuu need to consider the saturation. most greens aren't actually that saturated which makes it a lot harder to pull a clean key. the example posted above is a good example of a horrible one. the thead subject includes the word best, and while it says budget it doesn't say cheapest.

    /matt

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    Previously geeking out over 2/3" Scarlet. Scarlet-X...not so much.
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    At least here in Finland, Ikea sells very cheap green, saturated cotton fabric, called "Ditte". It's decently close to our studio's "real" greenscreen, which is painted with Rosco DigiComp Green. Slight yellow tint, but not bad. Though i'd rather not do it, occasionally we've used it succesfully to extend the greenscreen when we need a wider shot.



    In the above image, the fabric is not as good as it could be (wrinkly, not lit properly) but you should get the idea.

    PS: our greenscreen itself is made of regular household plastic carpet, then painted with proper Rosco greenscreen paint. Depending on definition of "budget", it's the best reasonably priced way that i've ever come across to build a seamless greencreen cyc that's "portable". It's simply hang from the ceiling or wall, and the carpet automagicly takes the proper shape. Our 4 meter wide, 3 meter tall greenscreen which runs aound 5-6 meters on the floor (some of it under the gray carpet seen in the image) cost around 6-700 euros all included.
    Last edited by Halsu; 2008 October 25th at 21:59.
    *Balanced audio hack* *Variable ND filters* *HV20 vs. Film* "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." (George Orwell: Animal Farm)

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    Green screen needs to be pure NTSC green. You must also look for a green screen that does not bounce too much green back. But the main thing is to get one that is perfect NTSC green.

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    Senior Member Breeze's Avatar
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    @Halsu,

    I just looked up the fabric on the ikea site and it is indeed a bit yellowish and not really the RGB green so I don't think it's much use for proper chroma keying



    Our 4 meter wide, 3 meter tall greenscreen which runs aound 5-6 meters on the floor (some of it under the gray carpet seen in the image) cost around 6-700 euros all included.
    That much??

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    Previously geeking out over 2/3" Scarlet. Scarlet-X...not so much.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breeze View Post
    I just looked up the fabric on the ikea site and it is indeed a bit yellowish and not really the RGB green so I don't think it's much use for proper chroma keying
    Proper is relative. It's pretty good really, as long as it's evenly lit and wrinkle free.

    Not a match to true greenscreen paint though.

    That much??
    The paint alone was 450 € for three coats which was required for good results - three gallons of Rosco DigiComp Green, around 150 € a pop at local film equipment rental house here in Helsinki, Finland. I looked up the paint at B&H, it's much cheaper there ($ 100 a gallon):

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...omp_Green.html

    The rest was for the plastic carpet - it's quite big, i recall 10 X 4 meters.

    Or was i 8 X 4???, anyway, it's big.
    Last edited by Halsu; 2008 October 25th at 22:02.
    *Balanced audio hack* *Variable ND filters* *HV20 vs. Film* "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." (George Orwell: Animal Farm)

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    Senior Member Breeze's Avatar
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    The paint alone was 450 € for three coats which was required for good results - three gallons of Rosco DigiComp Green, around 150 € a pop at local film equipment rental house here in Helsinki, Finland. I looked up the paint at B&H, it's much cheaper there ($ 100 a gallon):

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...omp_Green.html

    The rest was for the plastic carpet - it's quite big, i recall 10 X 4 meters.

    Or was i 8 X 4???, anyway, it's big.
    Alrighty, I assume you do alot of greenscreen work? Your studio looks nice!

    Anyway, I was going to buy the fabric from Photosel on Ebay, they have it pretty cheap. But there's an Ikea near to where I live and if this will give acceptable results, I might as well go buy a piece there. I actually need to use it only once (atleast I've got no chromakey-related shots planned in the future, but then again you never know what might pop up) so maybe I should just take the risk & try the Ikea piece first. It's only a few bucks...

    Thanks for bringing it up Halsu!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Breeze View Post
    Alrighty, I assume you do alot of greenscreen work? Your studio looks nice!
    Thanks for the compliment!

    Yep, i do quite a lot of greenscreen stuff - some of it is shot at our place, some not. It depends on the scale of the production. Our studio is small after all.
    Our goal for the studio is to get at least one full day paying gig every two weeks - that would pay the rent - so far we've exceeded the goal.

    Here's an example of a bit bigger setup, from a bigger studio, but using the same principle (we had it custom made for the shoot, using cardboard instead of plastic carpet for cost and weight reasons):




    I should just take the risk & try the Ikea piece first. It's only a few bucks...
    Yep, it's not a huge investment really ;-)

    If you get the ikea fabric, don't overlight it. If you look at the shot from our studio, under those lights, the darkest parts of the fabric look the best.
    Last edited by Halsu; 2008 October 26th at 07:17.
    *Balanced audio hack* *Variable ND filters* *HV20 vs. Film* "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." (George Orwell: Animal Farm)

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    Howdy, pilgrim! Duke's Avatar
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    daveman123,

    I'm assuming you haven't tried too many chromakey setups yet, so there are a couple things you may not have kept in mind.

    First, it doesn't have to be green. It can be any color that your talent doesn't have on them. Blue is also common, especially if your talent has any green in their eyes. (Maybe if they have a hangover and their skin is green too. hahhah) Blue just doesn't work with blue eyed people unless you're looking for a Twilight Zone look.

    Second, the closer to a pure color the easier it is to key, BUT your NLE has a tolerence setting. Just due to the unevenness of lighting, a wrinkle or seam, you won't be setting the tolerence to 1. So if the color of your screen isn't absolutely pure, it is often just fine because you will automatically have some tolerence. (That being said the less tolerence the tighter cut you'll get.)

    If you paint use flat paint. Paint can be custom mixed for pretty cheap, just bring something thats nearly a pure green to sample. Here's the funny thing. Green is a mixture of blue and yellow pigment. There is no pure green paint, period. Only pure green light. Your goal is to have paint that absorbs all wavelengths except green.

    Cloth is most common, not because it's better (the wrinkles are harder to deal with) but because you can fold it up to use another day.

    PS. Your assumption about plastic is correct. It reflects and creates hot spots. Muslin is usually used because it's flat.

    Hope that helps,
    Duke

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke View Post
    Second, the closer to a pure color the easier it is to key, BUT your NLE has a tolerence setting.
    Most decent keyers have an eyedropper tool too. The key isn't made based on just the traditional pure green/blue/red channel difference, but a bit more sophisticated color difference methods. Some keyers even accept a reference image of an empty greenscreen stage, and create the matte at least partially based on that. So in practice the most important thing is to have as much separation between the fore- and background colors as possible, the exact hue isn't that important.

    If you paint use flat paint. Paint can be custom mixed for pretty cheap, just bring something thats nearly a pure green to sample. Here's the funny thing. Green is a mixture of blue and yellow pigment. There is no pure green paint, period. Only pure green light. Your goal is to have paint that absorbs all wavelengths except green.
    This is not entirely true. It might very well be, that there's no green pigment available when mixing paints at a hardware store - but green pigments do exist, and as far as i've understood that's what is used with "real" greenscreen paints - which also explains why the price is so high.

    PS. Your assumption about plastic is correct. It reflects and creates hot spots. Muslin is usually used because it's flat.
    Of course painted plastic doesn't reflect any more than any other painted surface.

    Also, there's dedicated greenscreen plastic sheets available, which have a (somewhat) matte finish and an extremely even color. One such sheet can actually be seen in that pic of our studio, under the talent (we needed to quickly extend the floor a little, and didn't bother to remove the carpet we use to protect the "real" greenscreen floor just for this single shot).
    Last edited by Halsu; 2008 October 26th at 10:23.
    *Balanced audio hack* *Variable ND filters* *HV20 vs. Film* "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." (George Orwell: Animal Farm)

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    Quote Originally Posted by monkeynutsjr View Post
    Green screen needs to be pure NTSC green
    if you're using an analog keyer maybe. digital keyers have no problem with any color you like, but as i said it needs to be saturated. that ikea fabric, i actually have some here for other reasons, probably works ok. if it's a bit yellow it shouldn't matter much, but i looks like there's plenty of blue in there too?

    /matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattias View Post
    if it's a bit yellow it shouldn't matter much, but i looks like there's plenty of blue in there too?
    As perfect as possible VS. Ain't perfect but passable ;-)

    Eyedropping the greenscreen area of that example pic from our studio, in HLS mode, in photoshop, from a random good looking point gives:

    H:120º
    S: 64%
    L: 67%

    Doing the same with IKEA fabric on the same shot gives

    H: 98º
    S: 62%
    L: 59%

    ...considering the large margin of error when using a single pixel sample, this shows that the IKEA fabric is more or less as saturated as the real greenscreen paint, it's just a bit different hue.

    The greenscreen paint is very close to pure green hue on this shot, the IKEA fabric is 20 degrees off towards yellow (or in other words, it has roughly 30% more of the red component).

    With a different color balance, the IKEA could be measured as rather pure green too, but this would also mean the foreground had a blue tint.

    In practice, we can assume that the real greenscreen has better color separation from human skin (which is strong in the red / yellow domain too), but the cheap fabric is still what i'd call "usable".
    Last edited by Halsu; 2008 October 27th at 08:04.
    *Balanced audio hack* *Variable ND filters* *HV20 vs. Film* "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." (George Orwell: Animal Farm)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halsu View Post
    With a different color balance, the IKEA could be measured as rather pure green too, but this would also mean the foreground had a blue tint.
    A thought: if one used daylight balanced lights (i.e. daylight fluorescent tubes) to light the greenscreen, and tungsten balanced light for foreground, the IKEA fabric could be really nice, actually...
    *Balanced audio hack* *Variable ND filters* *HV20 vs. Film* "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." (George Orwell: Animal Farm)

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    or the green tubes made specifically for this. i use them all the time, works great.

    /matt

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    I just came back from a trip to NYC and at B&H's used section i found one of those pop up green screens in "New" condition for $40. i was buying my new tripod there that day so i didn't have enough extra cash to buy it :-(.

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    There is also Reflecmedia. It used to be drastically expensive, and didn't have available adapters to fit smaller filter sizes (ie hv20/hv30) but they just dropped the Microlite Package which is built specifically for these smaller cameras. As far as green screen materials go, you can't beat it, as you also get a professional looking backdrop (the gray it comes in) and it's completely portable, for all location uses. Some of the other solutions in this thread although useful, they just don't seem as versatile. Just my opinion

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