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What Is “Green Screen” And How Can It Help My Business?

“Green screen” is a filming technique that enables a video editor to change the environment around a person or a product without incurring any of the costs that would be involved if you tried to do it in real life. So let’s say you have a product (a silver box) or a person (a CEO) that you would prefer to film in New York for convenience sake, but would like to brand regionally to Arizona.

By shooting against a bright, unnaturally green backdrop, it’s easy to select the box or CEO and replace the background with a desert scene through a window. Voila! A new environment with none of the costs.

Many businesses can benefit from using green screen to create dynamic and exciting videos on small budgets, because the background can be anything. A recent client, for example, wanted to create a video that walked potential clients through a new web-based event management software solution. Deadly dull, right? A PowerPoint snooze-fest, yeah? You bet. But by using a green screen shoot and a spokesperson choreographed to the walk-through, the software program became the environment and the spokesperson became the guide illustrating how this integrated software with 14 modules actually worked. All with a single shoot day in New York, and the rest was postproduction.

We find green screen works especially well when using a spokesperson to demonstrate aspects of technology, such as with the event management software client. That client’s primary demographic was female, late 30s-early 40s. So that was our spokesperson. She was non-threatening, our script was in plain English, and the demonstration was exactly what the user would experience. But it also works well with any product or corporate message that could benefit from regional branding, the “special effect” of changing environments as the main concept of the video, or creative manipulation of backgrounds.

All in all, a good green screen concept and shoot can save you on budget and time. The expertise required to pull it off is in lighting (the wrong lighting choices make it hard to separate the green from the layer of the video you want to keep) and in postproduction, as making the relationship between the subject matter and the new environment realistic can be tricky.

Here are some of the undeniable advantages of utilizing a green screen:

Versatility You want a professional, corporate video set in an office environment. Your office, however, is too poorly-lit, disheveled and cramped to shoot in. Not a problem. With a green screen, you can super-impose any background to fit any vision. Your “office” could be a beautiful, bright, open space … or it could be on the moon (not that we would recommend that). Instead of shooting at multiple locations and wasting valuable time and money, you can do it all in a single green screen set.

Cost-Effectiveness Travel, location rental and insurance costs can be cut down or eliminated altogether when you choose to shoot in a green screen studio.

Portability Any location could potentially be transformed into a green screen studio, given that there is enough room. It can be easily transported and set up, often within an hour.

No Delays No need to wait for the right weather to come along. No need to spend all day adjusting the set under the fickle sun. No need to wait for location availability. A sizeable room, a competent crew and green screen equipment are all you need. Once you have addressed those factors, you are good to go.

Extended Usability Green screen allows great flexibility in post-production. Textures, colors, logos and other branding elements can be added to the background for enhanced effect. These details can be adjusted later if an organization goes through a re-branding process. And additional footage can also be added smoothly, since nothing is set in reality.

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