Green Screen Background – Learning About This Component in Detail

In film making and video production, a green screen or blue screen is a background made up of a solid color, typically green or blue, against which images are placed for compositing. The chroma key technique is used to composite two images together by eliminating the background in the first image and replacing it with the background in the second image.

The green screen effect is achieved by filming actors or other performers against a solid color background, typically a shade of green. When used in front of a blue screen, actors can be filmed performing without any clothes or makeup on, as the blue backdrop will become their new skin tone. This allows filmmakers to create special effects that would otherwise be impossible, such as making an actor fly or putting them into a “Star Trek”-like teleportation scene. Green screen backgrounds are also employed in the imaging of video games, such as green hills and other landscapes.


Green screens can be used to create effects for space scenes but are most commonly used on set during the filming of modern-day movies or TV shows that require actors to appear as if they are inside an enclosed structure with no windows (or only one window), where the outside cannot be filmed normally due to darkness. The green screen effect was first created for use by special effects artist Tony Puryear, who wanted to make Harold Lloyd’s 1924 classic film comedy Safety Last! More exciting by creating a dramatic tornado sequence utilizing stop-motion animation; however, there were problems matching up footage of the live actors against the completed background animation.

In order to solve this, Puryear came up with the idea of using a green screen behind Lloyd and the other actors in front of which they would perform their scenes. This would allow him to composite an image of the completed background onto footage of the actors later on, without any need for post-production matte paintings or other tricky effects work. From then on, the use of green screens became widespread in movie making, and can be seen in many classic Hollywood productions such as The Three Musketeers (1948) and Ben-Hur (1959).

How it works:

A chroma key compositing system usually combines two images into one by eliminating unwanted parts of each image using color keying. In order to create a green screen background, the actor is filmed against a solid green background. The camera then captures the Chroma key signal which removes the green color from the image leaving only the actors against a transparent background. This background can then be replaced with any other image or video footage desired, making it appear as if the actor was performing in that location.


Green screens are used in many different ways and for various purposes. Some common applications include:

  • Green screens are often used by weather reporters to show weather maps and graphics behind them instead of having to stand in front of a boring studio wall.
  • In advertising, green screens are often used to place products in exotic locations or famous landmarks for marketing videos.
  • Green screens are often used in TV broadcasting to insert images of live news reporters’ video feeds.
  • Green screens are also commonly used to remove background clutter from an image, which is typically referred to as a “Chroma key”. This effect can be achieved by using software with impressive Green Screen or Blue Screen capabilities.
  • Green screens are now being used extensively in the entertainment industry for filming music videos due to their ability to place artists in front of CGI backdrops.
  • Green screens are also used for creating backgrounds behind stage performances of famous artists. Green screens are also used to enhance live theater by projecting an image on the background of the stage during a performance.
  • Green screen compositing is now more accessible than ever before with several Green screen software applications available for personal use or download. Green screen programs can be downloaded and used to create special effects, such as green screen chroma key color keying, roto scoping and CGI compositing onto solid colored images in real time without having to do any complex rendering.
  • Green screens are commonly seen in television shows that employ green screened chroma key technology such as “American Idol” and “The X Factor”.
  • Screen software packages have become so advanced that Green screening is even possible using nothing more than a webcam.


Green screens can be used in many different ways to enhance images, videos and live productions. Green screen software has become less expensive and more accessible than ever before which gives green screens wider application in today’s media world.

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