Imaging Spectrum Blog

Chroma Key Tips and Tricks from Bill V.

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Customer ask, “how do we take photos of people on the moon?”, Chroma key of course.

Blue or green? Optically and software wise, chroma key blue is a better color for chroma key knockout. However, it is too close to blue eyes, blue jeans, blue shirts. Chroma key green is not as popular of a color for people to wear. I do not recommend a green screen backdrop unless you are using chroma key software.

Things you need for chroma key photography

  • At least 1 to 2 lights, Softboxes or umbrellas, or one of each
  • A background light and/or a hair light is helpful
  • A DSLR camera with Manual settings
  • Chroma key backdrop
  • Chroma key software (Darkroom Core or Darkroom Booth)

Set up your green screen, try to get the wrinkles out of the backdrop (sweep backdrops work great).

Set up your lights, at least one above the camera. If you have two lights, place each at 45 degree angles. You can also have 1 main light and one fill light at 45 degrees. Use hair and/or backdrop lights as you like. Your subject should be at least 4 to 6 feet away from the backdrop.

Set your exposure and your white balance to your lighting. Auto white balance will not work with chroma key. Take test shots to get your exposure correct. If you are printing, make a test print. When your exposure is correct, use your software to replace the background and set your chroma key.

If you want to learn more about using chroma key photography come to Bill’s talk on chroma key at the PPA Imaging USA in 2019.

Bill Vahrenkamp, Cr.Photog., leads technical operations at Imaging Spectrum.


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