So next I wanna talk about lighting the background. Getting into the fun stuff here. So lighting the background is very important. The most important thing about lighting the background is keeping it nice and even. So if the background isn't lit at all, it's gonna be too dark and there's not gonna be green anymore. It's either gonna be black or like a dark forest green. That isn't green screen. So you actually have to have some light on it. Keeping the background evenly lit is very important. Wrinkles, shadows, and hot spots are going to increase the extraction time. So wrinkles are gonna add darks and lights to it. So highlights and shadows, patterns to it. Hot spots are gonna make it brighter than green screen. It's gonna be more of a white. So it's not gonna be easy extracted. And shadows are going to make it obviously darker and not the correct green so it's going to be harder to extract. One big problem I see photographers do is that if they for example, this is a green screen, th...
ey're gonna pose their subject like right back against the green screen for some reason. It's just like somehow they have the urge to do that. That is not a good place to pose your subject. Right up against the wall of the green screen. A you're gonna get a whole lot of spill no matter what you do from that green background pressed up right against your subject. It's gonna be easily show up on their legs and their hair and all that kind of stuff. The other thing, their subject's shadow is gonna go right on to that green screen and it's gonna be harder to cut out too. So lot's of problems by posing your subject close. Move your subject away from the background. I would say a minimum of four foot. And if you can do more the better. So if you can go six foot, if you can go eight foot from the background, it's gonna be much better and easier to extract. The camera's gonna see the subject better as far as you're gonna have a little bit of bokeh between the subject and the background. And it's just gonna be overall easier. Okay again one more time, move your subject away from that background. Very important. So here's an actual diagram. So I have this diagram up here. And this is green screen not lit. One of the easiest ways to evenly light it, is just put a single light out front. However putting a single light out front is not gonna be very flattering to your subject. It's gonna look like they have a deer in the headlights, right? Like you might as well have a point shoot camera with the flash right on top and trying to photograph your subject that way. So instead to get even lighting we're gonna move one light off to the side which typically unless you have a very small green screen, it's not gonna make it all the way across to that far side of the green. So instead I'm gonna add a second light and two lights at equal power and equal distance are gonna evenly light it. Well you can't be too hot or too much power, or too little power but somewhere in between. If you're a meter junkie and like to meter your stuff I'm usually kind of a power of F8 out of the lights. To give you a ballpark. And by the time it gets to the background it's around six three to get the proper exposure. But I'm just mainly looking for an even lighting. It doesn't have to be those exact settings, just even lighting on the background. So we're gonna set this up for real so you can actually see the green screens being set up. You can kinda see the problems of the issues of the green there and then we'll come back and show you a couple other things and then start photographing the model. So for this as I'm setting up this green screen, you can kinda see how there's some wrinkles already in it. You're just gonna have to spend some time pulling this tight using clamps or tape or whatever. And getting this pulled very very tight so it doesn't have as many wrinkles. And so he's gonna work that side there. I'm gonna pull this out. And we're actually gonna photograph, kinda depends if you'd even use a floor or not. If I'm gonna do closeups or just head shots, I wouldn't even bother with the floor. Not having the floor is going to have less opportunity for any light to bounce up. But for the most part what I do, I like to show three quarters or full body athletes and subjects. So I'm gonna go ahead and pull this out. And you can see I would just have to spend a bunch of time making sure there's no wrinkles in the floor. And probably securing it because by the time I get this perfectly secured and the first kid walks out on top of it and like slides and like hey and then I gotta secure it all. You know pull it back tight. So you'd have to tape it down, weight it down whatever. Even when you weight it down it'll still get a little wrinkled maybe over someone's toe. So just have to be something careful with the cloth. Again it's less expensive and if you're first getting into green screen maybe you don't want to have a heavy investment in this background so you can try cloth out and then eventually if you decide you love it you can upgrade to the nicer stuff that will certainly make your life easier. So anyway we are gonna set up these lights. So I'm gonna pull these out. Kinda about a 45 degree angle and about an even distance away. The lights I'm using are Godox 2T 600's from gomolight.com and I'll have a slide for that here in a minute. But I love these lights. They are very very nice and not that expensive for what they do. They're amazingly powerful, have all kinds of features as far as high speed sync, and they recycle fast. So they're very very nice lights. And again they're quite affordable. But I'm gonna make these the same height just about. And again the same angle. Same distance out. And it should be a fairly even light on the subject. We might have a little bit of, we might have to raise this up just a little bit. We'll see if we get any shadow from that, from our hair light right now. But I'll give it a test shot. And I am shooting as far as power wise on this, I am at an eighth power. So we can just see. He's gonna make sure this tethered thing is working. Should I go ahead and take a shot?
Yeah go for it.
Uh let's see. Get my focus down here. So that's nice even light across there. I do have a little bit of shadow just hitting right here. And we're not using, we're actually using the flash and not, you see some modeling lights on the lights here. But we're not using modeling lights. It's not a video light. I'm actually using flash to capture my subject. She's probably gonna be doing some movement and different things like that. I like the flash and not video lights. You can use video lights but that's a whole another game about talking about stuff. But I would probably just raise this up a little bit or move it out of the way. We're not using, this hair light is not going off right now. I'll just zoom in, I'll just cut that off a little bit. So I'll pretend that the athlete was doing that. And so you'll be able to see. I have a little bit of wrinkle in the background. But for the most part that's a very, very even background. Again this light has just a little stripe on it. But I could easily move that off to the side. It just has a lot of weight on it right now with all our sand bags holding that down. So this is a very easy option. However it is very generic. Having a subject out here right now, it's gonna be a little bit even flat lighting because lights coming from both sides evenly. And so it's not as pleasing all the time. So a lot of times I will adjust this and tweak this a little bit more for my lighting situation. So another thing that I can do is actually turn on a backlight. So we're gonna go over. Let's see we're gonna slide this closer just to show you that they don't have to stay at the same spot here. So I'm gonna move this one a little bit closer and maybe even bring it in just a little bit here. What I would do with this, or why I'm moving it closer is now it's gonna have a little bit of variance on the subject. If I have the subject sitting here, she's not really being lit as much by this light anymore, it's more by this one. So we're gonna have some dynamic, some more soft lighting on this side, there's a little bit more shadows going on. I can make it look a little more grungy and hard and more like a night shot sometimes or things like that. Give them some dynamic lighting. So if I move this light closer, what I would have to do, before it was the same power, as it gets closer if I want the same power on the background I'm just gonna have to lower the power, right? Just that. So I'm gonna lower this one down to like maybe a quarter power. And I'm just controlling all the lights from my camera here using the godox trigger. So I'm gonna go down to sixteenth of a power. And I can take this shot and that's fairly even lighting except for a couple, again, a couple wrinkles. I would just have to spend some time pulling that out. But we're talking about the even lighting across this right? So by moving that closer and shutting that light down just a little bit less on that power, I still have that even light but now when I bring a model into it, it's gonna have the opportunity to give her some more dynamic lighting.
Ben Shirk is an internationally award-winning professional photographer.  Growing up in a log cabin near a small farming community of Wilton Iowa, he spent his days exploring the woods, swimming in rivers and developing his imagination.
In this class I teach the first and most important thing when it comes to making good composites - lighting (both subject and green screen). This is not a photoshop class although I do give a quick demo at the end to illustrate my purpose of using green screen and the ease of adding a subject to a scene if they are lit correctly. The main purpose of using a green screen is because there are actions and plug-ins that make extracting super fast and easy. If you enjoy spending time manually extracting your subject then you can ignore the green screen part and shoot on any background as long as you remember the tips I give you for lighting your subject properly. Hope you enjoy!
a Creativelive Student
Ben is an amazing photographer that is highly creative. Not sure this course fully reflects what his images convey to his clients. The course seemed rushed but did get to key basics for green screening. While typically I don't like when instructors promote their products, his extraction action is solid. Definitely worth the discount if you want to be able to systematically process volume. I think if you are beginning in composite photography that Joel Grimes and Ben Shirk can definitely give you the knowledge needed to be successful.
Ben Shirk is for me the best in his field, a source of inspiration for years
besides for 2 years I come to the WPPI to see it
A mentor for me
and these techniques are just magical and bluffing!
Many thanks to him and creatrivelive for this course
I had already buy his action PS for a few years :) and fully satisfied, this course is perfect to understand and master the technique