How to Make a Green Screen Video: A Step-by-Step Guide

By Cecilia Hwung | Last Update:

Are you looking to improve your video editing technique by using green screens? Do you want to learn how to make a green screen video for your pet project? In this green screen video guide, we'll teach you how to use green screens and edit your videos.

Today, it's easy to create videos and clips. Did you know that on YouTube alone, 720,000 hours of video get uploaded daily? Whether you want to make a movie or review a channel or film, a green screen can improve your video. Keep reading to learn how to use a green screen.

Make a Green Screen Video

What Is a Green Screen

A green screen is often anything that's colored green placed on the background of the subject. This screen is green because the color is often the least used one in most situations. Before, these screens were originally blue, but green slowly became the ideal color for their purposes.

These were the chosen colors because they don't fit the natural skin tone of most people. Green stuck around because it's harder for our skin to produce green tones unless via artificial means. This makes it easier for the subject to stand out once editing begins. 

These screens work because of the help of the Chroma Key tool. When using this tool, you separate your image or video into different layers. You'll be separating them based on the colors, hues, and tones found in each frame or image.

This separation is what allows you to remove or add elements to your shot. It's a great way to simplify or enhance any scene, especially when used as a backdrop.

Where Are Green Screens Often Used

As you can imagine, being able to manipulate backgrounds has a lot of uses nowadays to create an immersive and engaging piece of content. For the most part, mainstream media outlets like movie studios use these to add a lot of elements to their shots. Broadcasting studios also use green screens, often when delivering weather reports to the people.

Even YouTubers and Twitch streamers use green screens to look more professional. This also applies to students and influencers. They use them on different social platforms or online classes to become more engaging.

How to Create Your Own Green Screen Background Footage

Creating a green screen background for your own projects doesn't have to be hard. All you need are the proper tools and equipment, and to adjust your setup accordingly. When thinking about your setup, though, there are two ways for you to go about it.

Method 1: Create a DIY Green Screen Effect Video

The traditional method of doing green screen backgrounds is by creating your own physical setup. You will need a large green cloth, lights, and appropriate video editing software.

Step 1: The most important step is to ensure lighting remains even across the fabric. Even the slightest shadows might register differently in the software. This could lead to visual glitches while editing.

Create a DIY Green Screen - Step 1

Tips: You can fix this by adding two lights in front, a backlight, and a key light to eliminate shadows on the green screen. And the backlight will help separate the subject from the background, which prevents the video footage from looking flat and gives you more freedom since you need not worry about light changes.

Step 2: Make sure that your green screen is wide enough and keep it wrinkle-free as small wrinkles and folds become highly visible in the final product.

Create a DIY Green Screen - Step 2

Tips: If you don't have a large enough screen to cover the entire shot, you can add small sheets to fill in the gaps. You must make sure that the tones and shades are the same, though. Otherwise, it will become more difficult for you to edit your footage later on.

Step 3: Use a tripod to stabilize your camera while filming. A stationary camera also makes sure that the shot doesn't pan all over the place. Shakes can interfere with the placement of elements on the green screen, distorting the background.

Create a DIY Green Screen - Step 3

Method 2: Download a Green Screen Background

If you're short on budget, you may want to use software that adds a green screen background for you. The tool tracks the person in front of the camera. It then uses an algorithm to figure out where to place the digital background.

You can download these green screens through different websites like Shutterstock or Videezy. You can find simple green screen backgrounds on these websites.

Download a Green Screen Background

You can even find different elements that you can use in your scenes. These websites often have a lot of pre-shot footage of different elements in their archives. This means that you need not shoot these specific scenes anymore on your own. You can even find different shots where the green screen background is on different areas like the screen of a mobile device.

This method saves you a lot of production and post-production time. You'll only need to edit the scenes you want on the appropriate backgrounds. What limits this method, though, is that you're often only given a limited time to use the material you get from any website. This means it's best to use this method for short clips. This way, the time limitations won't be an issue. Consider these when going for TikTok videos or such.

How to Edit a Green Screen Video

The brunt of the effort in filming a green screen video comes from the editing process. Here's what you need to start editing your video.

Start by looking for good software that can handle heavy and extensive tasks.

Check out this guide to discover some of the best green screen editing software.

Once you have your footage and software, follow the next steps to complete your green screen film. Some software may have different tags but usually follow the same process. For this example, we'll be using OpenShot.

Step 1: Import Your Video Data.

Upon opening your software, import all the data you'll use onto the dock. Once imported, drag the green screen clip onto the dock and double click on it. Doing this brings you to the editing panel, where you can work on the finer points of the clip.

Make a Green Screen Video with Openshot - Step 1

Step 2: Adjust the Green Screen Settings.

Once you've placed all the clips you want to use on the workspace, go to the Effects menu and drag Chroma Key onto your video clips. Select the exact color of your green screen, and Chroma Key will make it transparent throughout your clips. 

Make a Green Screen Video with Openshot - Step 2

Step 3: Position Your Background to Your Main Clip.

The last part of the process is lining up the background clip with your main clip. Place the background video on top of your green screen clip on the workspace. This is how you replace and remove the green screen with different video options.

If you want to learn how to make green screen videos the right way, this part is the most important. Seamless positioning makes the scene and green screen clips line up perfectly. If colors begin to leak onto the background clips, you can fix them right away.

Make a Green Screen Video with Openshot - Step 3

You only need to go to the Fuzz tab on OneShot. Enter a value to reduce the color spill of your clips. Once that's done, it will allow for smoother clips.

If you're looking to practice your skills, OpenShot is a great place to start. It's a free and open-source video editing software on various platforms.

What You Need to Use the Chroma Key

Before you start filming your green screen video, you need to set up a few things first. Your green screen needs to be up. If you're using green cloth, it's best to keep it draped down so it's smooth and straight.

You also need to make sure that your actor doesn't have on anything green. When you film, make sure the subject or actor is at least six feet away from the green screen. It will minimize spills and unwanted shadows appearing on the green screen.

Don't forget to set up your lighting, as well. Use separate lighting for your foreground and backdrop.

When you set up your lighting, make sure the subject uses lighting that matches the background you plan to add. For example, if the actor will be standing on a beach at sunset, the lighting should match that scene.

The last thing you need is a high-quality video editor, like VideoProc. Good video editors will make your videos look professional-looking and fine. Look for video editors with a Chroma Key tool for video production.

The Bottom Line

We hope you enjoyed reading our guide on how to make a green screen video. Now, you know how movie studios and online video creators work on their more fantastical pieces. With this guide, you can now express your creativity in the same way, too.

Do you want to check out our other green screen editing tips? Are you interested in learning more about the other uses of the VideoProc video editor? Check out the main page or visit our contact page if you have any questions about it.

About The Author

Cecilia Hwung is the marketing manager of Digiarty Software and the editor-in-chief of VideoProc team. She pursues common progress with her team and expects to share more creative content and useful information to readers. She has strong interest in copywriting and rich experience in video editing tips.

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