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Planning guide for green screen video shoots

So why "Green Screen"?

We tend to shoot quite a bit of Green Screen with Nestlé. All the recent Graduate, Careers, One Nestlé and CEO "Nestlé and I" and "2015 Induction" videos were all shot with green screen.

Why?

Two main reasons: to save time and to control the "look".

In the case of the Trevor videos, it allowed us to pre-set all the equipment without interrupting him in his office. He then popped up to the Drumstick Room at the allotted time, had a bit of make-up added, read through the teleprompter a couple of times and off we went. Whilst he was out at a meeting, we then went down to his office and shot a few "view" backgrounds which we then added in during the edit. To have actually shot him in situ using those views would have been very challenging as we need to add a lot of lighting to balance him with the background.

In the case of the Careers and One Nestlé videos, again it was for ease and speed. Green screen allowed us to set-up and then wheel the various executives in one after the other for the One Nestlé shoot. For the careers shoots, it avoids us having to set up in multiple locations, disrupting the people around us. It also means we're not hunting around trying to find backgrounds that will work. We can shoot those separately afterwards!

On which point, we now have quite a library of "Nestlé" backgrounds that we can use!

If you are booking a green screen shoot, please keep the following in mind:

  • VENUE CHOICE:

    We need quite a large, quiet room for a green screen set-up. Our preferred room is the Drumstick room as the furniture can easily be moved out of the way, it's quite a long room with a reasonable width. This gives us plenty of space to set-up the green screen and enough depth to keep the speaker a good distance in front of the screen. This is important so as to avoid green reflecting back on the speaker which happens if they're too close to the background. It also has a good ceiling height as the green screen frame is about 3.0m although this is adjustable. The other advantage with the Drumstick Room is that noise interference tends to be quite minimal. If you need to use a different area, then please use the dimensions of the Drumstick as your reference point.For green screen, we also need a room that can be blacked-out as we need to carefully control the light. If the room has windows, we need it to also have good black-out blinds.

  • VENUE ACCESS:

    We will need access to the room or area you have booked for the shoot 90 minutes prior to the start time in order to allow us sufficient time to bump the video gear in, set-up the green screen, cameras, microphones, lights, etc.

  • PARKING:

    For a shoot, we generally need parking spaces to be booked through reception for the crew. If the shoot is taking place in Building D, Crystal and AJ are used to us coming in so the normal procedure is that they allow us into the car park loading dock to unload our gear. They then provide us with a lift and carpark pass. We then move the vehicles out to the outside car park if there are no spaces available underground.

  • FORMAT:

    In the booking form, there is an area to provide more details about your requirements. It would be helpful if you would let us know:

    - how many people we will be filming during the session;

    - if the presenters/interviewees will be talking directly to camera or off-camera (basically, if it's a message directly to the viewer, it should be directly to camera; if they're talking about something more generally, then off-camera, with answers that incorporate the question,  is the normal approach).

  • TELEPROMPTING:

    If the format of the shoot is direct to camera, you should consider adding the teleprompter and operator option. Many people claim they will be fine without a prompter but, once in front of the camera, even the best live presenters can sometimes freeze. If the pieces-to-camera are very short, we do have an iPad prompter in our kit that we can bring along at no extra charge. It is a bit fiddly to use and we wouldn't recommend it for long pieces-to-camera but it can be useful. Again, please request it in the booking form as we don't tend to bring it along to all shoots.

  • BRANDING:

    Please send us any branding elements and guidelines you have created for this project. We will use these in the titles and name supers.

  • SPEAKER DRESS GUIDELINES:

    • The most important dress guide for green screen is NO GREEN CLOTHING! The point of a green screen is that anything green goes transparent. This allows us to drop in different backgrounds behind the speaker. So, if the person is wearing a tie with green stripes, those stripes will become transparent when we replace the green with the new background so the background will then be visible through the person - not a good look! Even blue/green shirts can be a challenge so please advise your participants to avoid greens at all costs. If in doubt, ask them to bring along spare ties, shirts, etc., just in case. 

    • The usual other video dress guidelines also apply: NO fine patterns and prints, herringbones or thin pinstripes as these can cause a shimmering effect (moiré pattern lines) on video which is distracting to the viewer. We have found that the very fine herringbone on Polo pale blue shorts can cause an issue as although they look like a solid colour from a distance, the video camera picks up the fine pattern and "strobes". So, bold patterns and plain colours are preferred from our perspective.

    • And just to make life really difficult, pure white and pure black tops/jackets/shirts, as well as any bright red and orange colours tend to render poorly on video. So, if male speakers intend to just wear shirt sleeves and no jacket, then a blue, grey, light coloured or bold striped shirt is preferred. Ladies, jewellery can also be a problem as dangly bracelets, earrings and necklaces can jangle and be distracting on the audio.

    • And finally, ladies, ideally not a dressin case we need to attach a wireless radio microphone - we need to clip the wireless transmitter somewhere so a skirt or jacket pocket make that a lot easier! 

  • GREEN SCREEN SET-UP REQUIREMENTS:

    The green screen set-up is relatively straightforward. We put up a large green background, light it very evenly, then put the presenter a few metres in front of it and light them separately. Our challenge is to place them so that they are completely backed by the green screen but without it reflecting back on them. We tend to keep the lighting on the participant relatively flat as this will then work for most backgrounds.

  • EDITING:

    After the shoot, we will aim to provide you with a first cut within ten working days. If you need the video faster than that, please let us know beforehand and we'll schedule it accordingly.

  • VIDEO DELIVERY:

    • To speed up the video review process, we use a system that allows you to easily supply feedback on our edits. This password protected solution allows us to share the video with whoever needs to provide feedback and allows the reviewers to easily leave comments on what they're viewing. These comments are then collated and listed in one place to make it easier for us to manage and make the required changes. No more emails or spreadsheets of changes for you to bother with.

    • Once you've hit the "Approved" button on our review system, you can then simply hit the "download" button  to accessed the finished video. We can also provide Dropbox or password protected Vimeo links if those options are easier for you. For internal distribution within Nestlé, you'll then just need to upload the final mp4 file onto the in-house Contiki video distribution platform.

  • PUBLIC ACCESS TO THE VIDEO:

    If you would like to make the final video available for public viewing, we can remove the password protection on the Vimeo file. We can also format it and upload it to YouTube for you if you would prefer. Remember, you will need signed permission forms from your speakers and Nestlé branding/legals may also need consulting beforehand too!

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