Greenscreen Made Easy

By Jeremy Hanke & Michele Yamazaki

Greenscreen Made Easy by Twisted Metal by Jeremy Hanke and Michele YamazakiThe use of greenscreen in movies has become ever more prevalent and, as is usual with these things, the technology behind it has become cheaper and more readily available to amateur and semi-pro filmmakers. But this doesn’t make it any easier to get right. As with most technology there is no single plug-in or one-size-fits-all solution that will work for everybody and, in fact, getting it right is a much more complex marriage of lighting, shooting, matching and keying that is often more luck than judgement and, until now, there has been little in the way of cheap and easy to use resources for the keen amateur to look to for help and inspiration. Thankfully that has now changed with Jeremy Hanke & Michelle Yamazaki’s new definitive guide to getting it right, brilliantly titled ‘Greenscreen Made Easy’ – I love it when things are kept simple.

Written with the indie filmmaker in mind ‘Greenscreen Made Easy’ follows a beautifully logical path through the entire process of pre-production, production and post-production from buying or building your greenscreen (or blue, and it explains that as well) through shooting your backgrounds, lighting for greenscreen, positioning your actors, techniques for clean keys, prepping for post-production, getting rid of artifacts, different plug-ins, blending, colouring, making it believable and using CGI backgrounds.

It’s not a thick book and the writing is straightforward and easy to understand but it is incredibly detailed, listing specific brands to look for and giving indicative prices for everything they talk about as well as listing exact set-ups for cameras and lights, particularly lighting which is the one single thing that will make or break your greenscreen shoot. They’re small things but they really lift this from a book of greenscreen theory to a serious how-to manual that will walk you through real options, real issues and real results. There are tutorials for After Effects, Magic Bullet, Motion and a bunch of other editing packages and tips for making the end results as realistic as possible and it’s also packed to the gunnels with excellent pictures and reference diagrams making a fairly complex subject very easily digestible.

So, if you are a serious amateur or an indie filmmaker looking to get started with greenscreen then, really, look no further as this book has all the advice and information you could need. I know first-hand the pain of sifting through endless online forums and and websites trying to figure out how to make greenscreen work and then spending hours in post-production cleaning it up because, inevitably, you got it wrong on the day; this book will save you all those countless hours of pain, aggravation and heartache. It’s one of those books that you will keep next to you while you work and it will become one of those indispensable reference guides for years to come, a must have.
Greenscreen Made Easy is published by Michael Wiese Productions and is available from, Blackwell and all good bookstores.

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