We outline an easy way to make a green screen at home for filmmakers on a budget
Making your own DIY green screen is a great way to save money when you’re a filmmaker on a tight budget.
This is especially the case if you want to make one suited to your own custom dimensions or you want to have a portable version to take to different locations.
We’ve rounded up some advice of how to get started on making your own and some tips to remember when you do.
DIY green screen tips: Choose your fabric
The most important thing to remember is to try and make your green screen as crease free as possible so there are no cracks in the image when you get into post-production. Another crucial thing to remember is to use non-reflective material so it doesn’t reflect your lighting set-up when you try and film.
Most green screens you can buy are made with cotton muslin, which you should be able to pick up by the metre from most fabric shops. But, you can also buy a cheaper alternative piece of non-woven material from amazon for just £5.95 for 1.6 x 2.1 metres, which also comes with a handy seam to hang it up with.
DIY green screen tips: Work out how much you need
Make sure you measure the amount of green screen you’ll need before buying to avoid getting stuck waiting for more material to arrive. If you need to make your screen wider, you might have to sew some different sections of material together. But, if you’re neat and use a sewing machine, this shouldn’t end up appearing in the final shot.
Our tip for creating a smooth seam is to iron the material along the seam after you’ve sewn it up – but be sure to work out what heat settings you can use with your fabric!
DIY green screen tips: Make a stand or attach it
One way to secure your green screen is to use green duct tape, which you can get from amazon for £3.94, to attach it to the wall.
Another option is to make a stand from PVC pipes if you want your green screen to be portable. Depending on the size you need, you can get these online or in building supply shops. Make sure you also get some pipe connectors so you can easily build your screen.
Our tip is to make sure your frame is measured well to suit your screen, which will have to fold around it, and to keep your screen nice and secure using some photography clips, like these ones on Amazon for £5.99 for four.
You can also get quite creative with frames, like this filmmaker who uses mic stands to hold up his screen.
DIY green screen tips: Avoid shadows and make sure it’s even
Our best tip for avoiding shadows is make sure your subject is standing far enough away from the screen to avoid this. You also might need to play around with your lighting fixtures to create the most even screen you can.
There are some apps available to help you with making sure your screen is even, such as Green Screener on iPhone or Android for £9.99, which we previewed when looking at the best filmmaking apps for your smartphone. It splits your green screen into bands so you can see how even it is and so you don’t get any discrepancies in post-production.
DIY green screen tips: Get editing
Most editing software systems allow you to change the background in post-production, so now’s your opportunity to get experimenting. Check out these tutorials on using the tool in Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X if you’re stuck.