Week 2: Setup and Filming - Primal Video

Week 2: Setup and Filming

In Week 2 we cover everything you need to know to Setup & Film awesome Green Screen videos.


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Apps Mentioned

Reflector2: Share the screen of your iPhone or Android. Great for framing your shot on a laptop/desktop PC when using the rear-facing camera on your Smartphone.

A Prompter for Android: Android Teleprompter App.

Prompt Smart: iOS Voice Controlled Teleprompter App.

Green Screener App: Use your smartphone to analyse lighting consistency on your green screen to help achieve the perfect lighting setup.


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Session Notes: “The Setup”

Green Screen Setup, Positioning and Height

Position the green screen as far away from your camera as possible, while still allowing you to frame your shot how you want it. The green screen should be set at an appropriate height/position so it fills up the background in your shot when you are in position to shoot. For smaller green screens, this will generally mean repositioning if you shift from sitting to standing.

Remove all major wrinkles in your green screen by ironing or using a steamer if possible. Small clamps or bulldog clips can be used to help pull the material tight to eliminate wrinkles in the fabric (this works particularly well on foldable/portable green screens).

Positioning Diagrams (Visual Guides)

Equipment Layout: 3 Light Setup


Equipment Layout: 4 Light Setup

Lighting Placement and Setup Guide

Two Softbox lights:

Positioned in front of, and off to the sides of your green screen.  The lights need to be angled back towards the center of the background.

Depending on the size of your room, the lights should be positioned less than half way between the green screen and the camera; slightly behind where you (or your talent) will be positioned in the shot.

The lights should be adjusted to an appropriate height so the center of the light source (bulbs) is level with the center of the green screen.

Adjust the intensity of the lights until you have a consistent, bright backdrop.

These lights should NOT be used to light yourself or your talent, ONLY the background.

Front / On-Camera Light(s):

Positioned as close to your camera as possible; ideally on top of or next to the camera. Generally 1 light is enough here.

Set the intensity or brightness high enough to light yourself (or your talent) well, but not too bright as to cast a shadow on your green screen.

For the best results, you need to find a balance between the two Softbox lights and the Front/On-Camera lights so that you (or your talent) are lit well, and there are no shadows on the green screen. If you find the front/on-camera light is casting a shadow on the green screen, either reduce its brightness OR increase the brightness of the two Softbox lights to offset and remove the shadow on the green screen.

Your (talent) Positioning

You (or your talent) should be sitting or standing mid way between the green screen background and camera. The two Softbox lights will be on either side of you, and slightly behind (towards the green screen).

Camera Positioning

Position the camera as far away from the green screen as possible while still allowing you to completely fill your shot with just the green screen. Zoom or position as needed to crop out any additional background elements.

Camera height should be set to just below your (or the talents) eye-level when in position to shoot and looking directly at the camera.

Camera Settings

Recording format: 1080p minimum and at the highest bitrate (quality setting) possible for your camera.

NTSC (USA): Frame Rate: 30fps (frames per second)

Shutter Speed: 60 (1/60) minimum – if you need to adjust, use a multiple of 30 (90,120 etc.)

PAL (AUS & UK): Frame Rate: 25fps (frames per second)

Shutter Speed: 50 (1/50) minimum – if you need to adjust, use a multiple of 25 (100,125 etc.)

ISO: Start with 100 and increase to brighten your shot if required.

Aperture (f stop): This will be camera and lens specific.  The lower the number, the brighter your shot.  I’d suggest 2.8-4 if possible, or as low as your camera supports.

White Balance:

Cool Light Globes: set to around 5000-6000K

Warm Light Globes: set to around 3000-4000K

Lots of cameras have White Balance presets built-in.  Check your camera’s manual or on google to find out which presets will match close to the ranges listed above. 

Typically Cool would be ‘Overcast’ or ‘Cloudy’ Preset modes, and Warm would be the ‘Light Globe’ preset.