My Green Screen
With the royal drums beating, the infamous green screen made it's way down the crowded street and finally bestowed it's presence upon my doorstep. The green screen arrived in a very thin box with different colors on each side, just like the green screen itself (top two images). Once I pulled it outside of the box I was pleasantly surprised to find it also came with it's own circular shaped carrying case (bottom left image), with handles! Dare I unzip? No time like the present. I pulled the zipper slowly, eyeing the edges with adoration when somewhere around three fourths of the way down it popped out with such a force that it busted fully open and every cell in my body, screamed in shock! You have no idea how big 5 X 7 really is when it shows itself with out warning. Or, just how big 5 X 7 really is. Anyway, of course I had to test it out right away. I broke out the camcorder and made a short test film. When I introduced it into my editing program I wanted to just be able to pick a keyer and select the color from within my scene to be excluded, there for clearing the way into transparency to show through to my 3 d image below. Using Discreet keyer it did that pretty well, but I noticed that some of the neck (and shirt collar) was also transparent in places. I could mask the neck, but I had some problems controling the layers and even with that figured out I'd have to animate each of those along the scene duration. I tried to use Linear keyer, but it actually left a lot of the original background color in. There are three variables, two of them on my end that could be improved upon, the lighting in my house is soft and warm which I can tell leaves my footage dark and difficult to differentiate colors from. I probably should look into a nice background light, I would need to find one that is portable and requires minimal space since I barely have any left! The second, is that my Sony Handycam has always had a yellow spottiness that I can not eliminate even by going through the manual and tweaking the settings. Yellow is the wrong color to have lingering around when you are trying to key green. The Handycam is a couple years old but I am waiting on a Hello Kitty Camcorder that actually has better specs if you can believe it. I'll see how that works out. The third variable is that my screen is not as bright as I had anticipated, and it is also a velvety texture as opposed to some of the shiney slick surfaces that I have seen in some of the others. I'm sure that this must be to avoid over exposure or shadowing, but it doesn't help with my dull lighting. Perhaps this type of screen is more geared towards photographers? I ended up masking out the whole thing with tiny little points for rotoscoping, but my problem is that there are a whole a lot of them (with less there were obvious and bad looking cut off sections). There are so many that I have to be careful with manually animating each one since the tedious visual work has given me a migraine. I can only do it in small chunks, which will take for ever. There must be a better way. Anyway, the funny part of the story is when I was trying to put the screen away, well it wasn't funny at the time. There were no instructions, so you have to figure out how to put it back into that tiny little circle on your own and it is not intuitive. You can't do it by yourself, hours were spent trying to twist the thing into it's original state. Mind you, as you are trying to figure out how to compact it, it also has a tendency to take you by surprise and pop fully open again, knocking things off tables, pushing you into the wall and spooking the dog etc. I went on the internet and discovered many others in the same predicament. I tried many variations and this is what I eventually came up with: stand in the center of the green screen, with the shortest dimensions between your head and your feet and the longest at your sides. Fold the sides together like a hot dog bun, all the while staying right behind it and at the center. Now, keep it in place while taking your arm and bending down to the floor and grabbing the bottom, pull that bottom flap up and all the way over the top, now the three parts can slide into each other. Hopefully this experience will help some one!