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Lighting the Green Screen

When lighting for green screen shooting, keep in mind that the foreground subject matter will eventually be composited into a background plate. Pay close attention to the background plate, and reproduce any lighting effects that would fall on your subject matter within the background on the stage. Here are some do's and dont's that should help you get started.


  1. Light your foreground subject matter first, without the backing lights on. 
    • If the backing lights where on, the reflected light from the backing would seem to illuminate the edges of your subject matter. 
    • This is a false assumption, since the Ultimatte process will treat the reflected light as blue spill and suppress it, leaving your subject matter with a dark edge. 
    • Lighting your subject first allows you to cast shadows onto the backing. 
  2. Apply a side light to fill in the edges of your subject matter. (This will cut down on the amount of blue spill in areas with less illumination.) 
  3. For best results, there should be a 1:1 ratio between the backing and the foreground subject matter. 
    • The 1:1 ratio allows for shadows falling on the backing to be composited. 
    • The 1:1 ratio also allows for areas of brightness in the foreground to appear transparent/translucent. 
  4. There should be a consistent brightness and color temperature at every point in the backing. 
    • This should be verified by a waveform monitor or incident light meter. 
    • The waveform should register a backing brightness around 60IRE. 
  1. Use colored back lighting on your foreground subject to correct the spill from the backing. 
    • Ultimatte will automatically suppress the blue / green spill. 
    • Your subject matter will have a colored light shining on them after the blue / green is removed. 
  2. Light the foreground with fixtures that have a different color temperature than the backing fixtures. 
  3. Shoot your foreground and backing far from the 1:1 ratio. This will effect Ultimatte's ability to reproduce shadows and transparency correctly. 
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