How to use green screens to boldly go to the stars

Green Screen technology, also known as chroma-key, is a technique for make-believe. We are most familiar with it as the weather map on the evening news. The person reporting the weather points to places on the wall that s/he cannot see, it’s only on the TV screen that the map is visible. How do they do that?

We started with a software called SparkoCam, because we learned of it from our online Toastmasters club. What fun to join an online meeting and appear to be in the mountains, or at the beach, instead of in your messy office! We saw so much potential in using green-screen for our video presentations that Jim found some green paint and covered the wall!

The way it works is that you have two layers of images: 1 – the real world layer, Jim and the green wall behind him and 2 – the virtual world of any image or video you have. The ChromaKey process ignores anything green in layer 1, or whatever color you specify. That color simply disappears, becomes transparent, and in its place layer 2 shows thru. If the picture of Jim here is layer 1, and a photo of Mount Everest is layer 2, then – anywhere there is green, you will see Mount Everest. That would primarily be the green background, but, if Jim chose to wear a green shirt, it would appear transparent and his head would appear to float in the air by Mount Everest.

You can even use a video as layer 2. Jim has now graduated beyond the SparkoCam software and is experimenting with OBS – Open Broadcaster Software. Check out how we can now present our seminars from our virtual shuttlecraft in space.

Green screen is not something we intend to teach, we just think it’s cool and wanted to share. If you want to learn how to do it, you can learn the same way Jim did, from EposVox, Michael Daniels, and Andrew Hatchett