My reception space used green screen to extend the height of the set so I decided to show on the model where it would be placed in relation to the action. In the actual space it would be hung from the rigs just feet above but could be also fixed to the top side of parts of the ceiling to secure it. There may also be a need to fit part of it behind lighting so that the space below can get sufficient light to create the right effect. Any lighting rigs can be removed digitally.
The last image shows the green screen position in relation to the set and the rest of the build.
It’s surprising how many films and TV shows use green screen to create set extensions. Some like Game of Thrones, The Hobbit and World War Z are more obvious productions in which green screen is used to add effects of explosions or distant landscape. Others like The Wolf of Wall Street,where the locations are more achievable using actual locations still use green screen in a studio. I’m not entirely sure whether I’m amazed at how real they look or whether I’m shocked at the lack of in camera effects/location work but it shows what can be done entirely on computer. Given the video that I watched from the making of Titanic in an earlier post, you can speculate that the CGI choices are made based on the cost of building a set or flying cast and crew out to appropriate locations or the preference of the Director.
This is a selection of pictures that demonstrate green screen usage.
The Wolf of Wall Street
The Great Gatsby
Game of Thrones
World War Z
The Lord of The Rings
All available at http://ubertoday.com/before-and-after-photos-show-how-misleading-visual-effects-can-be-in-our-favorite-movies/ [sourced on 12/07/14]
The choice of location is important for some of these productions but maybe less so for others as entire backgrounds, buildings, even windows appear to be digitally added. But whether there is a small amount of set build or location used, decisions are made creatively, even down to the choice of floor or lighting in The Wolf of Wall Street image that is filmed in a studio. The production designer will have to be involved in this decision-making at some point in the creative process. The use of CGI can mean more time for the production designer to oversee other aspects or so that streets don’t have to be closed. More often that not, budget controls the choice of set/CGI etc as does the script or the type of film.
I’m taking the route of “as much in camera as possible”. The street alteration that I’m designing is perfectly achievable in an actual location using set dressing with CGI doing the job it was intended for, visual effects; that of extending a location which would be difficult to achieve purely on location given the story is set 50 years in the future . CGI is a tool that can enhance a scene, make it possible to suspend belief for those few moments rather than be imposing, obvious and synthetic. Some of the films work better than others. Personally I thought The Lord of The Rings worked better than the Hobbit; The Lord of The Rings films appearing much more organic on-screen and real.
Before And After Photos Show How Misleading Visual Effects Can Be In Our Favorite Movies. Available at http://ubertoday.com/before-and-after-photos-show-how-misleading-visual-effects-can-be-in-our-favorite-movies/ [sourced online on 12/7/14]
I thought it was important to understand the green screen process, particularly within the sound stage environment as I am designing a set that incorporates green screen elements. I looked at various videos and books and came up with a few pointers in terms of what is needed.
The position of the green screen:– This needs to be at least 8 ft from the actor being filmed (though video suggests 10-15 ft)
Lighting:- Both the screen and the actor have to be lit. The best results can be achieved by using a three-point lighting set up to lit the screen as evenly as possible.
Green Screen:- Needs to be hung in such a way that there are no or few creases or shadows that will make the post-production process more difficult. Fabric needs to be non reflective.
Footage:- Two sets of film footage is needed, one of the actor in front of the green screen and one that is replacement footage such as a matte painting or scene.
I also found a video that explains some of the processes.
My problem is that the area that needs to be green screened is the ceiling. I found some studio images showing part of the ceiling screened but there needs to be lighting rigs and the image shows this.
The question is, is there a way to green screen a ceiling and allow lighting or does the scene need to be pieced together filming several scenes with more than one green screen shot? Or, does the screen even need to extend that far?
This studio image below shows a green screen ceiling with lighting rigs in front of the screen. I need to research this further in terms of the practicalities and find out how easy it is to film this and whether the lighting rigs would just be digitally painted out like the scaffolding support was in Inception.
As my project requires me to use green screen due to the restricted height of the sound stage, I need to look at green screen and how it is used to create set extensions. One of the important features of the reception area of the Medical Research Centre is the creation of height and as the height of the stage is a little over 10 metres and needs to appear to be several floors below ground it needs a form of green screen/set extension to achieve this.
What is green screen?
It is a technique that was traditionally known as a travelling matte that allows actors to be shot in a studio environment and then is removed in post-production (sometimes production) and replaced with a different image. This can be anything from an external location background through to an architectural extension like my project design. Any colour can be used but blue and now green are used as they are the complement of the colours that make up the base colours of human skin tone. (Byrne, B., 2009)
What is a matte painting?
Matte paintings are usually of a location and used to extend a set, combined with live action, models or animation to create a composite image. Traditionally these were painted onto glass sheets and combined with optical techniques such as rear projection. Today they are painted digitally, then combined with the live elements of the shoot. (Rickitt, R., 2000)
I will need to create a design of a matte for my sound stage extension, so I am now looking at examples of green screen shots before finalising any designs. I found a selection of videos to show a few ways that a green screen can be used.
I thought that the second video was particularly interesting in the fact that they used a green screen technique combined with a scaled model and made a composite shot to save thousands of dollars. Theoretically this could be done with my interior as the character of Clayton only walks through the space. So instead of building a full-scale set in the sound studio, a model could be used with perhaps some small elements of set to create realism.
The Walking Dead uses a combination of real sets and real falling debris and green screen/set alteration to create a scene in which a helicopter falls through the ceiling. Realism here is created by using a combination of techniques. Green screen is only one part of the sequence.
Green screen can be used as a small part of a scene composite to allow real people to merge seamlessly, to extend a set, to allow stunts or to create a set in its entirety. What’s important, whether green screen is used or not, is that the design or visualisation of the scene is a collaborative process between the Production Designer/art department/VFX/stunt coordinators/ the Director etc. whether it is a CGI scene, scaled model or full set.
BYRNE, B., The Visual Effects Arsenal. Oxford: Focal Press, 2009.
RICKETT, R., Special Effects:The history and technique. London: Virgin Books, 2000.