Green Screen Vs Projection 

Is the green screen dying?

Green screens - or Chroma key technology - have been a staple part of filmmaking for many years. First introduced in the late 1930s, it was soon recognised as one of the most inventive techniques for creating effects in film and television broadcasting.

Green screening is the secret to pulling your subject out of the real world and placing him or her into a digital domain. The finished effects are awesome. But it’s not all as simple as it sounds.

There is a painstaking art to reach the desired result. There are many complexities and disadvantages to this technology too, from imperfections to heavy post production. One of the most vital factors when using green screen; lighting can cause a massive headache.

Ensuing experiments with newer technologies are proving to be more flexible, cost effective and avoid these difficulties; in fact, lighting becomes a benefit.

These technologies include LED and projection mapping. Of late we’ve seen an increase in the use of projection mapping to replace green screen; changing the production set up and ultimately the result. Rapid advancement in these technologies, the rise of 4k projection and the rumoured product launch of an 8K projector will pave the way for detailed, realistic backdrops and may even be brilliant enough for close up shots.

Infamous film Director, Joseph Kosinski had the idea to shoot as much of a movie ‘in camera’ as possible. The team filmed actual footage on location then projected onto huge screens which wrapped the set. There were many other advantages to doing this such as, being able to use reflective surfaces and the light reflections of the projection providing a natural lighting of the actors. Adding another dimension to the footage were the reflections of the content in the actor’s eyes. The actors felt they were right in the environment and could ‘immersive themselves more deeply into the story’.

The result was a ground-breaking all-in camera visual effect. It seems a real alternative may have emerged.

Other examples include AMVBBDO creating a 30 second ad for Hewlett Packard’s latest video conferencing monitor, where HP’s innovation projection was used instead of green screen to create a more ‘real’ look rather than a CGI aftereffect. In addition, they were also able to build a set they could not have achieved with green screen, using real plants along with other green and blue objects.

Honda and Fujitsu adverts also illustrate how projection can create the all-in camera visual effect. Honda’s ‘evolution of stunts’ was filmed with one take showcasing the various tricks and skills of a stunt person in different environments, whilst Fujitsu’s ‘digital transformations’ advert highlighted the movement away from green screen and meant various locations could all be filmed in one place.

Even with all of this in mind, the movement from green screens to newer tech is only being experimented with now, and it will be slow gradual process. We also cannot disregard that many memorable films would not have been possible without the green screen or Chroma key tech.
Posted by Lauren Abbott on 14.05.2018
We're pioneering specialists in light + pixel technology. We turn any surface or environment into amazing content using projection-mapping, OLED/LED or lighting design. We create brand impact, powerful storytelling and technical innovation.
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