The 7 Best Green Screens

Updated May 30, 2018 by Steven John

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Now you don't need a massive travel budget to produce photographs and videos with backgrounds from anywhere in the world. These green screens allow you to digitally insert anyone or anything in front of whatever scenery, color or image you like. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best green screen on Amazon.

7. Square Perfect 4037 Professional

This Square Perfect 4037 Professional screen is thirteen feet by ten feet, making it one of the larger options available in its price range. It has rod pockets that allow for a quick setup and which keep the cloth stretched and taut during use.
  • resists color fading
  • backed by satisfaction guarantee
  • prone to wrinkle easily
Model 403710x13 green screen
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Andoer Backdrop

The non-woven composition of this Andoer Backdrop almost eliminates the chance that your image will pick up shadows crated by seams or stitches that can ruin the effect of a green screen. It also, however, means this screen rips and punctures more easily.
  • very low price tag
  • folds easily for storage
  • stands are not included
Brand Andoer
Model KRQ1428113415084D2
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. LimoStudio Chromakey Green Suit

Sometimes the best green screen is the one you strap onto your very own body. The LimoStudio Chromakey Green Suit allows an actor to be digitally removed from a scene, allowing for amazing effects, ranging from puppetry to CGI images.
  • easy to see through fabric
  • highly flexible material
  • one size fits most
Brand LimoStudio
Model AGG779
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. ePhotonic Chromakey Kit

This ePhotonic Chromakey Kit comes with everything you need to start creating trick photography or videos, save for the camera and the subject matter. An order includes a green sheet, a supportive frame, and lights, complete with stands and softy boxes.
  • perfect for three point lighting
  • lights work with standard outlets
  • slightly overpriced option
Brand ePhotoinc
Model pending
Weight 40 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. AW Cotton Muslin Chromakey

This AW Cotton Muslin Chromakey sheet measures ten feet by ten feet, giving you plenty of room to position two adults, larger products, and other items that need to be filmed or photographed prior to their editing into another context.
  • overlocked edge resists tearing
  • good price point
  • ideal for portraiture
Brand AW
Model pending
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Fancierstudio H69G Chromakey Kit

The Fancierstudio H69G Chromakey Kit is affordable enough for the student photographer or filmmaker, yet large and durable enough for professional use. Its green screen measures nine feet in height by six feet across and is supported by an even larger frame.
  • light bouncing umbrellas included
  • machine washable material
  • easy to adjust light stand height
Brand Fancierstudio
Model U15
Weight 30.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. CowboyStudio Reversible Background Panel

When unfurled, the CowboyStudio Reversible Background Panel measures a generous five feet by seven feet. Yet it folds down to measure just 30 by 30 inches for storage. It has both blue and green sides, convenient for various types of photography.
  • comes with zippered case
  • loops for hanging if needed
  • great reviews from owners
Brand CowboyStudio
Model bg panel
Weight 4.1 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

How Does A Green Screen Work?

If you’ve never used a green screen, you’d be forgiven for finding them a little mysterious. Actors stand in front of a giant piece of bright green fabric, a team of computer wizards hits a few buttons, and the next thing you know those actors are in space, or underwater, or in some fantasy realm that doesn’t exist on our earthly plane.

It’d be easy to imagine that the strange, otherworldly images that end up in movies and TV shows are somehow projected onto the green screen in post, but this doesn’t quite hit the mark. The reality is that green screen is all about subtraction before it can be about addition. When an editor gets footage of an actor in front of a green screen, he or she uses the technology at their fingertips to subtract all the elements of the frame that contain that specific shade of green.

Only after this subtraction takes place can the other backgrounds, characters, and effects be placed in the frame with the actor. It can easily get a lot more complicated than the process as I just described it, but that’s the gist of it. Fortunately for editors, compositors, and other digital post-production professionals, the software used to substitute computer generated backgrounds for the green screen has become more and more advanced as the use of the technology has become more ubiquitous. It takes little more than a few keystrokes and mouse swipes to separate an actor from the background and put whatever you want in its place.

If you want to find out just how easy it is for anybody to swap out that green background for just about anything, take whatever green screen you purchase and tape yourself doing silly things in front of it, post it online, and ask your community to add a background. You’ll be tickled, and a little horrified, at the results. Who knows? You might even go viral.

How To Make A Green Screen Look Good

Just because it’s easier than ever to tape footage in front of a green screen, dump it into editing software, and swap out that background, that doesn’t stop users from finding infinite ways to make that new background look horrible. Fortunately, a few smart techniques and investments can take your green screen work from amateurish to professional in no time.

The first thing you need to do is light your green screen evenly. Changes in light intensity result in changes of perceived color value both to the human eye and to editing software. Most editing suites have the ability to recognize the industry standard chroma green, as well as shades created in either direction by under and overexposure. If you have too many color values, or too drastic a color shift from a poorly or unevenly lit green screen, however, your editing software might not recognize all of it. That means you’re going to have to go in and splice your actors away from the background through keyframes, which will require an immense amount of time and effort.

This problem has become so universal that there are some apps you can download on smart devices that will use their cameras to measure the light reflecting off your green screen, and these can tell you what adjustments you need to make to maximize its effect. At the end of this process, you might realize that you need a better set of studio lights, ideally something in the daylight spectrum that has a high CRI value, which helps ensure accurate color reproduction in-camera.

Once your green screen is well lit, you might run into another issue: green reflections on your actors. Light is inevitably going to bounce off your green screen, and if it splashes on your actors, it can cause the background replacement to creep into their clothes or their skin. Even if it doesn’t effect the background replacement, it can throw off your color grading or at least cause the audience to wonder why there’s a strange green reflection in your actors’ eyes.

Once you’re in post with a well-shot bit of green screen, make sure you know what lenses each setup used, as well as what T-stop the lens was set to. If you were using a shallow depth of field on set, and your actors’ faces are sharp, then the background has to be appropriately out of focus. If the background file you’re using is too sharp, there are defocusing effects you can apply to it to make it seem more realistic.

A Brief History Of Green Screen

Before the advent of green screen and blue screen, the most common technique used to replace the background behind actors was called rear projection. Essentially, you could set up a projector behind a white screen hung behind your actors, and whatever you projected onto the screen would appear behind your actors. This was most often used for driving scenes to make it seem like the car and its passengers were traveling from one place to the next, when in fact they were sitting stationary in a studio with a production assistant bouncing gently on the bumper to simulate movement.

Blue screen came next, and is actually older than you might think, getting its start in the 1930s. It’s important to remember that most films produced in the first 20 years of blue screen were black and white, and that this particular bold shade of blue didn’t occur in much clothing. Years later, as similar blue colors crept into our daily fashions, actors and wardrobe designers had to avoid them, lest their tie suddenly match the background of the shot.

The answer to this problem was green screen, an industry standard called chroma key or chroma green that came into being as digital cinematography supplanted celluloid film in both film and television. Blue screen is still occasionally used, but thanks to its universality and its rarity among wardrobe items, it seems that chroma green is here to stay.

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Last updated on May 30, 2018 by Steven John

When not writing or spending time with his family, Steven tries to squeeze in some mountain climbing. In addition to writing for several websites and journals, Steven has published multiple novels.

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