Friday, December 5, 2014

Greenscreens: Swipe Left or Right

It’s fascinating just how effective greenscreens can be when used in filmmaking. It seems that nowadays almost every movie uses a greenscreen at some point. And the unique thing about watching these movies is that we aren’t necessarily taken out of the moment, nor are we completely convinced that what we see is real. It’s a strange mix of wonder and confusion, with a hint of skepticism.
And luckily I was able to stumble upon a wonderful article by Buzzfeed, called “27 Before and Afters That Show the Power of Special Effects.” Put together by Tanner Ringerud, it’s basically a list of 27 films that have heavily used greenscreen in their production process: from The Avengers to King Arthur. But the thing that I recommend most about reading this article, is playing around with the sliding option they have on the before and after pictures. Sliding left or right will reveal exactly what was greenscreened in and what type of effects were put over the final product.
You can see where lighting is set up, and with a bit of staring you can kind of piece together why exactly they chose to go with the choices they made. Likewise, you can see what kind of characters were put into the movie in post. Such as Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s a saying that goes around that claims you can learn a lot just by watching how something is done. Be it from behind-the-scenes to production stills, there’s always something we can learn even if it’s just from swiping back and forth on a picture.
I definitely recommend this article to anyone who’s interested in seeing how important a skill with greenscreens is, from lighting, to blocking, and far beyond. Greenscreens can create galaxies, giant creatures, blood-thirsty zombies, and much more. They are the unrecognized characters in the film-production process. Ones that shouldn’t be overlooked. Because they build worlds. And that’s what filmmaking is all about.

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