24 June 2021
The Best Budget Green Screen Kit & DIY Green Screen
Budget Green Screen
It's unlikely these days to see a popular Hollywood movie that hasn't used a green screen for at least some of the scenes. The use of a green screen used to be limited to big-budget films with huge crews, lights, and engineers but times have changed! Shooting with a green screen is now an option for the average filmmaker because the price of green screens has come down to under $100. Maybe you are a YouTuber looking to replace your backdrop or an indie filmmaker looking to make a scene look like it's in a different location, either way, you can achieve these objectives with a budget green screen! If you want to have your mind blown by the power of the green screen in the cinema, check out this before and after of some Hollywood films. In this article, we will go over what a green screen is, why to use a green screen, where to buy a budget green screen, and more.
What is a Green Screen
Before we jump headfirst into the world of green screen let's discuss the basics of what a green screen is! Basically, a green screen is a colored background that you want to later remove from your shot and replace it with a different background. One of the most common uses of green screens is on the daily weather channel. When you see the weatherman with all the diagrams behind him, that information isn't actually there in real life. The reporter is in front of a green screen and the green area is being replaced with the graphics of the weather. The background is removed through a process called chroma keying where the green area is keyed and the background becomes transparent. Once the background is transparent the editors can place any background in there. To another extreme example of green screens in action watch this behind-the-scenes video of some Spiderman and some other Hollywood movies.
Where to Find Budget Green Screen
Although you could build a DIY green screen the cost of a budget green screen kit has gotten very low! Usually, it makes more sense to buy one of the best budget green screen kits for $50-$100 instead of trying to build your own. Below we will outline a DIY green screen plan and two types of budget green screen kits; a pop-up green screen and a studio green screen. It's important to note that you will want good bright lighting to make these green screen kits work well. We have suggested one green screen kit at the end which comes with an entire lighting setup.
DIY Cheap Green Screen
We strongly advise against building a DIY green screen background because they are so cheap to buy but if you are still interested here is how to build one! You can build your DIY green screen at home with essentially no tools. Find some bristol or poster board like this at your local store. Print out this green color on a color printer. Simply tape the A4 sheets of green paper to the poster board and set it up behind your camera. As a DIY lighting for green screen, set it up near a bright window or use a lamp that you already have to evenly light the scene. There you go, your own green screen for about $6! For a video on how to build this green screen setup check out this short video.
Pop-up Green Screen
The pop-up green screens are a great idea for filmmakers that are on the go and will be shooting in non-studio environments. However, when you go the popup green screen route you are usually sacrificing quality and size compared to a studio kit. We recommend checking out the Neewer pop-up green screen for a budget green screen that will work in any environment. The beauty of this kit is that it is reversible as it has a green and blue side that you can easily switch around.
The Emart Green Screen
Getting a studio green screen is usually a better idea as they come with the support stands and clamps to set it up for a full day of shooting. We recommend the Emart green screen for a great in-studio budget green screen solution.
The Neewer Green Screen Kit + Lights
If you really want to step up your game this Neewer green screen kit comes with an entire budget green screen lighting setup and is only $180. Having proper lighting while using a green screen is extremely essential to getting a realistic-looking shot. If you don't have lights and aren't shooting outside it would strongly recommend getting a full kit like this to make your green screen productions high quality.
Editing Your Green Screen Shots
Once you've shot your scene with the green screen it's time to chroma key out the background. As long as you have light up your green screen well this should not be too difficult to achieve. You can now chroma key on your mobile phone using the Splice Video Editor which is a huge win for filmmakers on the go! If you want to edit your green screenshot on your computer you can use Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, or After Effects. For one of the most thorough tutorials on how to shoot and edit your green screen footage check out this tutorial by Parker Walbeck.
Green Screen Summary
With all the budget resources available, it is a great time to be a budget filmmaker! The fact that we can purchase a low-budget green screen for under $100 opens up a whole new world of opportunities to the average filmmaker. We can no longer make excuses that we can't do something because we don't have the proper expensive gear. Grab yourself a green screen, get out there, and start replacing some backgrounds!