Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

The magic of chroma key (part 2) // A second look at green screen technology on Sidepodcast

Published by Mr. C

In part 1 of our behind-the-scenes look at chroma keying, we covered humble beginnings and the nightmare's encountered therein. In part 2, let's look at how we solved some of the issues while creating ourselves some brand new ones.

Going pro

We struggled on with the duvet cover for as long as we could (ironing it actually made a significant difference) but the truth is, it just wasn't good enough. We made a total of 13 videos before giving in and purchasing a professional green / blue screen.

Christine in front of a screen and the replaced background

The new backdrop made its debut on the Italy preview show and the results were instantly impressive. The screen folds away inside a soft bag which means some creases are still apparent, but when opened it remains flat and is very luminous in colour, making post-processing a relative breeze.

On one side you get green material while the reverse is blue, meaning that if Christine decides to wear clothes of similar shade to the former, we simply flip the thing around. Life's so much easier with the right tools isn't it?

Why do you have to go and make things so complicated?

After a couple more straightforward videos we decided to try something a bit different, so during the off-season we made the Christmas Message video, which was particularly complicated because it was the first shoot we'd done with the host seated.

Christine seated in front of a greenscreen

The newly acquired backdrop is 5ft by 7ft which is plenty big enough to film a large chair and its occupant, but we suffer from severe space restrictions meaning that all of the furniture had to be removed from the room just to get the video camera far enough away.

The shoot took two days meaning that the room was out of bounds during that period and seeing as some of the removed furniture included the bed, it meant sleeping in the living room until we were done. Oh yes, that's how dedicated to the Sidepodcast cause we are. First we can't sleep because the duvet cover's hanging upright on the wall, and when we solve that problem, the bed leaves the room.

Camera obscura

You may have noticed by now that Christine doesn't appear to have any legs or feet in the videos and that's purely down to problems with space. While the backdrop is willing and able, there's simply no way we can move the camera enough distance away to fit a whole person in the viewfinder. For the time being we're simply limited to half a person, whether they be sitting or standing.

One final thing to mention is that for the last two F1 Rewind show's, we didn't use chroma technology at all. We simply hung a plain backdrop from the ceiling and pointed a couple of pretty lights at the thing. The result means much less post processing work and that's something we're going to look more into in the future because backgrounds are taking us much longer this year.

In the past we spent a small fortune buying various images and movies from iStockphoto, this year we decided to make our own. How we've gone about doing that though, is a story for another day.

Any comments or questions on either of these two posts, please do shout us in the comments. We are all ears, and quite worryingly, are always here.