Getting the Best Green Screen Chroma key lighting setup on a budget

Getting the Best Green Screen Chroma key lighting setup on a budget

Do you struggle with green screen lighting
like this guy because if you I have something you need to know, stay tuned to find out. One of the biggest problems with doing green
screen or Chroma key work is to make sure that the light behind you is even on the green
screen because even with the best green screen material, if you don’t have an even light,
it ain’t going to work well. But there is a way you can do it, it can cost as little
as a few dollars, it produces a good even light and it works better than a lot of standard
studio lighting like this and best of all it also works really well on white backgrounds. Now even with a really good green screen and
this is a muslin material which stretched out and it has all creases pulled out of its
a really nice and smooth you need good lighting and even lighting to give you a good key.
Now I’m using these lights here at the moment, these are standard studio lights and as you
can see the fluorescent tubes mounted in the studio boxes. Now that looks like it’s producing a really
good key but actually we need to see how this looks on the Chroma key software or something
which can see what the Chroma key software will see, to see what it really looks like. Now in order to see what your Chroma key software
is going to see, you need something which is far more sensitive than your eyes and here
we have an app for the iPad and the iPhone and is called Green screener and is by of
a company called Hollywood camera work. Now what this does is it looks at the green screen
using the camera of the actual mobile device and it will then show what it sees as the
levels of light and colours these and ideally what you want is the whole thing to look completely
green and what we got here is we got to hotspots of green and that’s caused by the two lights
and you can see that is an uneven lighting pattern and this is going to cause a problem
in your Chroma key software because to try and even this out in your Chroma key, you
have crank up the tolerance a lot more and that means going to loose edge detail, you
lose detail on hair and on semi-transparent materials. You may end up doing them more
and more masking and multiple keying. So to try and get this lighting right in the
first place is really very important this got me thinking that studio lights do actually
do a good job but they just not tall enough and not long enough, you can see here this
is the length or the actual height of the actual green screen, it needs to be much deeper
and it needs be a better more even coverage . So it got me thinking what can you use that
has a good even lighting output that is not going to be another set of expensive lights
and I think I found the answer. So this is what I have come up with, it is basically a ceiling light which is mounted on a studio standard lighting stands. Now as you can see
this is actually a 5 foot length tube so it’s much longer and buts got a much more even
throw of light from top to bottom. These things are available really cheaply sometimes they
even throw them out in to skips when they’re refurbishing factories and buildings and shops
so they are easy get hold of. If you can’t find one second hand you can
buy them new really cheaply but there are couple of things or recommend you get rather
than just the cheapest possible thing from the hardware store. Now one of the things
I would recommend is actually get these type of tubes, these are daylight balanced tubes
they produce the 5300 Kelvin light output and these are made by Philips and called Master Graphica and these are the 950 in 58 watt, 5 foot. Now the thing about these is they will produce
a balanced light which matches then the rest of the studio if you are using daylight balanced
lighting equipment they don’t have to worry about inconsistent lights. Normal fluorescent tubes, normally run around
about 4400 Kelvin or lower, so that means you’ll get a mix of lighting and you don’t
want that when you actually try to keep a consistent balanced lighting setup in your
studio. Now when it comes to the actual light fitting
there are two types, there’s the normal ballast types which run on the mains and run at the
mains frequency and then there are the electronic ones. This one is actually an electronic one
they look exactly the same for the outside the only difference is that ballast unit inside
is either electronic or it’s just a normal coil based one. If you’re using the normal ones then the output
from the tubes ,will have a perceivable flicker at the mains frequency of 50 or 60 Hz. Now
you might not see with your own eyes that the camera can certainly see it and it can
be picked up if you use a different frame rate. In the UK you need to use 25 or 50 frames
per second, in the US and other parts of the world you would need to be 30 and 60 frames
per second to stop any visible flickering or hum bars appearing on the actual video
output. Now if you want to run at 24 frames per second
for example and a lot of people like to do that, then that’s the cause problem because
if you’re using the normal ballast type ones you will get this difference bar affecting
on your video output. This is where the electronic ones come in.
These run at 30,000 times a second so there is no perceivable flicker to your eye or to
the camera so that what i would recommend you use an electronic one and the
tubes rather than just the normal ballast one. Now as I say you can pick these things up
cheaply if you’ve got somewhere where there may be doing a refurbishing and you want to
use just the normal ballast ones but i would recommend you try and get hold of the electronic
ones and it probably means you don’t have to buy a new one. Now this whole set up including the actual
electronic ballast fitting, the reflector, the aluminium reflector here and the two tubes comes
in under £60. I have got two of these units and combined that means £120 it is less
than half the price of one of these studio lights. The only other thing I added to it is a little
metal bracket which I got from a hardware store and effectively bolted on the back there
like that. I got my studio lighting stands which is my normal lighting stand i had anyway.
There is a hole drilled in it and it literally just drops onto the top, there like that and
put a nut on top there to stop it coming off and there we are. So now lets see how this
works in comparison to the studio lights on the Green screener app. So lets see the difference, we got the strip
lights now mounted on the stands and they are lighting up the green screen. Immediately
even if i stand out of the way you can see the green screen looks a lot better but look
at the actual Green screener app. You can really see the difference here this is no
big hot spotting to either side here literally you have complete band right the way across
here. It’s much better green screen that will key much better than the last one you won’t
have to crank up the tolerance trying get that edge of a green screen really even. Now you can get away with more detail and
on hair and transparencies and just a better key all the way around that this is the sort
of thing we’re looking for really and ideally we would want it green everywhere in the but really the difference between that and that is very very minimal and that
going to work very well. So for something which costs less than half
the price of one studio light we now have a got a much better green screen or Chroma key lighting system.

87 thoughts on “Getting the Best Green Screen Chroma key lighting setup on a budget

  1. Hi thanks for the video. I'm in the UK too, and am trying to build one of your light rigs. Could you direct to where I can buy a double reflective casing from? And also the ballast fitting? I'm not sure I've found the right parts. Thanks for any help you can offer. Thank you 🙂

  2. i'm in USA, and it looks like the 5 foot length is not a standard here.  48in. or 96in.  Your idea is excellent!  All your green-screen work in your other videos is fantastic.  Any thought about hanging a third light from the ceiling, or is that unnecessary, considering how good your green screen effect works now?  I'm going to try to put a couple of the 48in. lights together.  Thanks!

  3. Hi again, I was also wondering whether you could direct me to instructions on how to wire the fitting easily to a UK 3 pin plug? Is there some kind of adapter kit available? Thanks

  4. Sorry, one more question. Does the electronic ballast come with the fitting for the tubes? or is it separate? Thanks

  5. Hello,

    Great video! I have an issue with a green screen and you're just the guy I need!!

    Scenario: I have a photo booth, shiny green vinyl backdrop, tight space, only small hole in frame from which to fit 1 studio light.

    My options as far as I can see are:

    1.Buy a less reflective background – muslin cloth?
    2. Paint the existing background with chromakey paint
    3. Keep thinking

    Which single thing would you recommend for me to do first to try solve the problem?

  6. I'm grateful for your input. Thanks. The background I use is stored by rolling it up tightly – paint may crack and peel under this pressure if used often?

    Is this an issue and would you recommend something else now that I've brought this to your attention?

    Best regards

  7. Great – I'll go with that!

    Last thing – would you recommend somewhere to buy this?

    I'll post some of the results to show the fruits of your advice 😃

  8. sorry to bother you but i was wondering if you can lend a helping hand and be able to share where you bought your light units from. I'm really sorry to ask but I'm really struggling finding the electronic ones. thanks for your time. a job well done. great video. a big thumbs up. 

  9. Thanks for the help. I have one question wich chroma key is the best because there is alot of brands that I don't even know and I really want to buy one.

  10. Not sure if the fixure we bought is electronic or not. How do you know? If it turns out to be a standard fixture what specific light bulb would have the least flickering? Not finding information on Kelvin, and frequency of bulbs when googling information. Our fixture is a focal point model FAV, four foot single fixture. Having lots of problems with umbrella stand lights with the hot spots showing up.PLEASE HELP!!!!

  11. I'm completely new to this. I just bought a big green cover and I already have my camera. Can I use the light thing that stands 5ft tall for my lighting only?

  12. I'm sick and tired of all these videos where people want to be entertainers. I don't want to be entertained! I want to know how it's done, God dammit! Very annoyed.

  13. thank you for the well done and will filmed and well taught video, sir!!
    I learned a lot from this! Just subscribed to your YouTube Channel and u can call me a fan now 🙂

  14. Question:  How strong is that lighting, and is it strong enough to balance with a portrait taken at around f8 (with a normal 100 ISO?  I imagine that this technique is better for video than for photography.  I'd love a reply, from anyone who has info!

  15. Thanks – a lot of useful information. I am looking to build my own mobile studio to film videos of clients in their offices.
    By the way, 'normal' fluorescent lighting gives me migraines, do you think the electronic ones might be the answer?

  16. thanks for tips,I am considering purchasing some led work lights for a green screen job I have next weekend but now you have me thinking.

  17. Is there an alternative to daylight rating? I use 3600k studio lights. I could put a gel on the 5300k units I guess

  18. such a great video! i'm looking for something new. i'm currently using 2 – 500 watt studio lights with barn doors to light the green screen and it's alright but with hotspots. I need something cheap and effective and low power. thought about LED work lights.  Thanks!

  19. Could you tell me what specs need to be on the fixture and what specs separately have to be on the bulb do you have any other bulb brands you suggest. I live in the USA. Is it the picture that you worry about these cycles per second?

  20. Very helpful video. One quick note on flicker with older-type fluorescent-light ballasts: The key is to set the shutter speed to match the length of a cycle of the mains frequency, that is, 1/50 or 1/60. This solves the problem even when shooting 24 fps in North America with 60 Hz AC current. In fact, older HMI lighting units used in film production had the same flicker problem, and the solution was to use a 144-degree shutter angle to achieve a 1/60 of a second shutter speed. The idea is that if every frame catches a full cycle of the light, you shouldn’t see a brightness difference from frame to frame.

  21. Excellent video with clear advice that makes sense. Already found the app for my android tablet and purchased it.
    Believe it or not, I'm having trouble finding the fitting like the one in your video with a mirror reflector. I have no problem with the light though. could you say where you got the fitting from?

  22. I have kids with braces on top of many other bills. Therefore, I really have to watch my budget on "hobby material", LOL. So I had to settle for the "regular ballast" fluorescent light fixtures. My question is, if I film at 60FPS and then later render it out to 24 FPS. Will the flicker still show up?
    I've subscribed to your channel. Thanks for the information!

  23. Hello, first of all congratulations for your videos . I just have a question, I'm preparing my Chroma key scenario with a very cheaper budget and I would like to ask you if I use a fluorescent tube just like you but rather use 5.7kelvin I used 6.5kelvin with 5k lumens. Does it make any different at all?

    To be honest I read in the characteristics of both lights that the 5.7k it's for graphics and media use and the 6.5k it's for office. So I'm asking if it's made a huge different or not because 6.5k are pretty much cheaper.

    I would really appreciate hearing from you

    Thanks in advance

  24. hello!! thanks for your video!!   My chroma key ready !! For now I 'm using LED tubes short . When I have money I buy tubes to implement this technique !!      ———————-        i live in Argentina , Buenos Aires! Greetings to you!!!: p

  25. How are these lamps?
    Thanks for reading

  26. Hi  I live in the USA and am having problems finding that specific model number locally.  Yes, Phillips website says they make those bulbs — just having problems finding them easily in Los Angeles.   Do you or anyone else responding on this thread have suggestions for similar florescent bulbs that do just as good a job.   Thanks for the excellent tutorial.  …Rowby

  27. Hi

    WHat do you think of these new type LED "flourescents"   

    5Star Lights T8 LED Light Tube 20W(60W equivalen



  28. Thanks for your reply. I'm also seeing on Amazon 4000k led fluorescent replacement and 5000k. Would either of these be a better choice than the 6000k — so far as being less "blue"?


  29. Hi, I have found companies that sell the Philips Master Graphica 5300K tubes, but I am unable to find anywhere that sells the fixtures, with reflector, like you have in the video. Can you tell me where you got them from please?

  30. Hi,

    Thanks for this excellent video 🙂
    I'm about to build a cyclorama wall:
    – Height: 4 meters
    – Width: 5 meters

    Do you think your solution will be valid for this size?
    How about lighting the floor?


  31. I thought you was selling your own lighting equipment and I was about to move on but you wasn't! Great video, thanks!

  32. What a great job you did of this video! It was funny, educational as well as ….well shot (nice to have good audio too). Thank you for doing this!

  33. Thx for this great tutorial – special the app.
    I only have 10 feet cam to green wall and i got a lot of spill.
    Any hint for the light setup? What do you recoment for this roomsize?

  34. I'm a long time YouTuber but new to green screen and did my first video using it the other day. Seeing I had some time to look for videos on the subject of lighting I found your channel and this video. Well done. I learned a lot from it. Thumbs up and a new subscriber from Newfoundland, Canada. Happy Holidays.

  35. Thanks for the info. Just setting up green screen for my channel for the first time. Recorded my first rough video last night. So much potential. Cant wait to get deeper into it.

  36. Sir, I managed to find the Philips Graphica lights here in Spain, but I now wonder what kind or brand of electronic ballast you recommend? Thanks for your invaluable information.!!!

  37. This is really helpful and a great idea! Thank you for showing a before and after results. Most videos fail. The light you are using is not available in the US could you offer and alternative? I'm guessing you could use any 5k high CRI bulb correct?

  38. Cool! Check out what I did with a puppet and a chroma key background:

  39. Hello ! nice video and thank you for your advices !

    i have a question !
    i'm in europe, i've buy some cheap electronic ballast set of 2x 36w each (120cm)

    pointing the camera on the tube i can see flicker on every shutter angle of my blackmagic camera except 270 degrees (every frame rate works flickerfree with this angle) flicker is visible on my subjects, not only the tube.
    i didn't notice it at first use, it works with any tube i put on

    do you think the electronic ballast can be broken ?
    do you have any explanations on this ?

  40. Really informative. I was just curious about a couple of things. With your lights positioned as they are, would moving them closer make a difference? Also, most lights are soft boxes, so is there any way to further diffuse the light coming out of them? It looks like you have the bare bulbs and no diffusion at all.

  41. Hi great info, will this work ok for still photography ? and anywhere in the uk that do the type you have with the reflector on it, have had a look around the the net and cant find any.

  42. this was a great tutorial. Do you happen to have any links to the type of light fixture you're referring to? (electronic ballast vs traditional ballast).

    And is it literally Electronic Ballast vs Magnetic Ballast? I shoot in 24p 99% of the time and don't want to purchase the wrong type of ballast.


  43. Question. Im using my green screen but what is happening is, when i hold
    up, like a can of corn u buy out the store, i edited the footage with
    my program but the background is bleeding through the can. I tried the 3
    point lighting but it's still coming through the can. What am I doing

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