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How to Light a Green Screen Set

Lighting a green screen isn’t complicated. In fact, the best steps you can take are to go back to basics. While there are tons of ways you can light a green screen set with advanced techniques and tricks, the basic lighting techniques that you learned when you first started in film are the foundation of a well lit green screen set.

Beverly Boy film crew green screen

We’re showing you how to light a green screen set in a few simple steps.

Light Talent First

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Before you light the green screen you should work on appropriate lighting for your talent. Keep in mind that before you light the talent you need to know important details regarding what the background will be when the green screen is produced.

Details as to background light source and direction will help you to ensure you are not using a backlight on your talent that interferes with the key light from the background or other mishaps.

Be Mindful of How the Light Looks

Before you light the screen, make sure you have providing the best essential lighting for your talent. Light that is too bright will make the skin look unnatural or washed out.

Light that is too dark will leave shadows that could interfere with the green screen. Light your talent as you would in any other film setting before you focus on lighting the green screen.

Position the Key Lighting

Key lighting is an essential element for your green screen set. This isn’t about how much light you can add to the set but rather how well you light the set to produce a natural appearance that accentuates your talent in the most appropriate manner for the production. Position the lighting so that you can use the emission to your advantage.

Light positioning with green screen will vary by genre just as it would if you were not using green screen. Depending on the style of film, whether horror or drama or some other genre, the lighting should be used to accentuate the facial features and shape of the subject. Be selective with the lighting and don’t use more than necessary.

Use Soft Lighting

green screen setup

Soft light that flatters your subject and is forgiving and full will help you make the most out of a green screen set that is limiting the use of overabundant light. Use soft lighting to cast a consistent light across the set for an even screen view.

LED panels and higher illumination light panels or exterior light sources can be used to produce a balanced tone. Adjust color temperature settings so that you don’t have to adjust color after the shoot.

Depth of Field

Light the green screen and then include any key lights to help create a stronger sense of definition between the talent and the green screen so that the depth of field isn’t flat. Adjust the lighting as needed to produce the desired depth.

These are just a few steps you can take towards lighting a green screen set. The best lights for green screen studio shoots vary based on individual project needs and preference.