Green Screen in Nonprofit Video

You are probably wondering why we would shoot someone in front of a bright green backdrop, or green screen as it is called, for a nonprofit video.  This technique is usually saved for movies with special effects.  You may remember a long time ago when “The Invisible Man” was a TV series.  You would laugh as a hat and a pair of gloves, sans body, would be seen moving around a room.  This was accomplished by shooting the character in front of a solid screen of color, and later removing that color with editing software, just leaving the character visible.  It’s called Chroma Key.  Think of it like Photoshop where you want to “cut out” a head shot from its background.  The beauty of this technique is that it allows you to put any background behind the image, creating a composite.  So, in the case of the photo above, even though we were shooting Drexel’s extraordinary robot in Philly, by using a green screen we were able to composite the interior of a space ship, making it appear as though the robot was a member of a crew.  What kind of nonprofit would want this type of video?  One that was doing a spectacular space themed gala, of course!

Let’s look at some other reasons why this green screen technique can be helpful for nonprofit videos.  First, you can save time.  For example, if you need to interview multiple people and they work in various locations across town, it may be impossible to set up equipment at each location and still have enough time to make all the visits.  Also, these same people cannot afford to be away from their offices while we set up the equipment.  Then there is the cost savings.  Since video rates are charged by the day, it is not cost efficient to shoot five different people on five different days.  So, what we encourage is scheduling all five people on the same day.  Again, we can set up in one room and take care of everyone.

Green screen offers many editing options.  We may insert a color background that is appropriate for the branding of the organization, which results in a  modern style.  Or, we may get fancy and shoot either photo or video background plates for a more classic style.  For instance, we had one client, a private school, that wanted to feature their historic interiors in their video;  however, it was impossible to shoot the interviews in these rooms because students and teachers were always occupying them.  So, we arranged a short shoot after school to capture these rooms when they were free, and later made a composite with the interview clips.  The results were flawless and the audience  responded warmly to the video’s message about the school’s future plans.

As you can see, green screen can be a nonprofit’s best friend.