Importance of Animation Pre-production for Successful Projectst

Blue Screen VS Green Screen: Choosing the Best for Filmmaking

You must have observed that the look and feel and the type of movies gradually changed from, say for example, the 1940s to the 2020s.

This is mainly due to the way movies were filmed and shot. Technology advanced and changed over the years, and so did the genres and types of movies. 

The use of digital post-production began in the 90s and exploded in the 2000s. It changed the way how movies were edited and developed after the primary shooting. It was easier to change the minimal yet crucial details like colour grading of the films in post-production compared to that when done while filming. 

Overall the shift from traditional ways of changing the details while shooting to changing the details in post-production was rooted in cost savings. It was much cheaper to make minute changes digitally after a particular shot compared to doing it during the shooting process. Because, obviously filming is super-expensive!

With this in mind, let’s come to the main topic of this discussion. CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) - one of the most important additions that became more than just complementary to digital post-production.

CGI is moderately expensive but cheaper compared to a fully original film shot.

CGI goes way back to the year 1950s but it was in the 90s when it truly became a thing!

So, how does CGI work?

To keep things simple for this article, we will touch upon the main and the most basic techniques of CGI: The usage of Green and Blue Screens. We’ll also dive into the differences between them.

Let’s get started.

What are Green and Blue Screens and Why Are They Used Specifically?

Simply put, green and blue screens are used to quickly cut out subjects from their background and compose them on top of something else. This allows filmmakers to put real people in front of unreal environments.

Now, scientifically speaking, the reason behind the usage of these colours in specific is that humans do not have green and blue colours in their skin tone. This is why, it is easier for the camera to carve out the green/blue background easily from the scene.

Now, you must be wondering, if they serve the same purpose, then why choose one over the other?

Why Choose One Over the Other?

Reasons why green screens are great!

  • Provides wardrobe flexibility: Leaves room for filmmakers to try out a wide range of colours for their actors’ outfits since green is not a commonly worn colour.

Reasons why they’re a bummer!

  • Limited use in nature scenes: Green colour is present in a majority of the nature scenes making green screens unsuitable for such shots.
  • Lighting challenges: While using green screens, uneven lighting and shadows can result in inaccurate composting.

Reasons why blue screens are great!

  • Minimal colour spill: Compared to green screens, blue screens have less luminance and thus produce much less colour spill resulting in accurate composting.
  • Can handle minute details better: Minute details like shadows, wrinkles, hair, etc, can be edited and handled better due to less luminance.

Reasons why they’re a bummer!

  • Needs much brighter lights: Since blue screens have less luminance, it requires very bright light panels for them to light up.
  • Limited wardrobe options: Blue colour is not so uncommon when it comes to actors’ outfits and thus it results in limited wardrobe options since blue colour can blend in quite easily with outfit colours.

Final Verdict: Which One is Better?

To be completely honest, the answer is not that simple. choosing one over the other purely depends on the kind of objective you’re trying to achieve.

For example, a green screen is suitable for bright daylight scenes because it does not require brighter light panels and reduces the amount of work required to make the scenes great due to its higher luminance. 

On the contrary, it would not be the best choice to use green colour for darker background scenes since it will require a significant amount of effort to edit colour spillage on the outlines of the subject and make it workable.

On the other hand, the blue colour is perfect for dark shots and does not spill a lot of colour on your subject.

Hope you liked this small breakdown of Green and Blue screens for filmmaking. 

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