Filming a drummer with a green screen at
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Old April 16th, 2009, 10:33 AM   #1
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Filming a drummer with a green screen

Hi all,

been reading all the posts on green screen stuff.
Havent found anything with this query (as yet anyway) so wanted to post up the question.

I am about to do a green screen shoot with a drummer.
I have a large green screen studio that I am getting on the cheap.
It has minimal lighting so I will have to find out what is best to bring in.
I am shooting on a sony z1p. the final output will be for the web.

I am mainly concerned about the fast moving drumsticks.

Has anyone shot this type of thing before, if so do you have any tips?

shutter speeds
progressive frame format... (does my camera even offer that function??)
drum stick colour??
reflectiveness of the drums themselves (is this a problem??)

etc, etc.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated...
please let me know if I need to add any more info...


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Old April 16th, 2009, 02:36 PM   #2
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fast moving stick are not really a problem.
I have done that already and got more problems with green reflected in all the metallic part of the drums. I used matte scotch tape to limit this, but it was a real challenge.
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Old April 18th, 2009, 05:50 AM   #3
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hi giroud.

thanks for the reply..

Does anyone else have any tips or techniques that may help?


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Old April 20th, 2009, 02:34 AM   #4
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I think you will find this "very challenging." I would suggest shooting a drummer against a solid like black or white instead of greenscreen. Unless the sticks are always in perfect focus there will be noticeable artifacts. And usually you need to use some kind of matte choker to soften the edges, which will eat into the sticks. As said before, if the kit has reflective materials like chrome, that is going to be challenging in post. Shoot on a tripod so you can mask out some stuff prior to pulling the key.

You need a good amount of diffused light for the greenscreen and I would probably go for diffused lighting on the drummer and kit as well since there are many reflective surfaces.

Lastly, you have to think about the audio. Drums recorded with just one mic sound pretty bad. Its actually pretty difficult to get good recordings with drums, as you need room mics, overhead mics, and an array of mics for the snare, bass and toms. Many people put two mics on the snare, one over and one under.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old April 20th, 2009, 04:03 AM   #5
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I was lucky that I was filming someone playing an electronic kit - so the chrome question wasn't a problem. But as mentioned the choking will eat into your sticks. Though because of the speed of movement, people don't really expect to see them that clearly. Shutter speed is a creative decision to be making too. Do you want Dave Grohl/Queens of the Stone Age No One Knows; hyper real, fast shutter or the more real blur that slower shutter will bring (in which case the sticks being grey/blonde blurs doesn't matter too much) Also our talent had spikey hair, which was considerably less by the final version...
Some might suggest that interlaced will give you cleaner fast movement - but I think progressive is fine if you can use a tripod and avoid pans. I don't shoot 50i anymore, but I wouldn't hesitate, if it meant getting good stable unjerky footage to start with. There are loads of de-interlacing software options now.
One thing I did find useful was to have some strong blacks - ie don't overlight everywhere have some shadows and they will help you when it comes to keying.
The reason we shot on green was for options afterwards - but in the end we just put a graduated colour in - so for the hassle it would have been easier to just shoot it that way in the first place.
There was an overhead camera too, which needed keying, but that was easier and cleaner with the lighting we used. Good sound as mentioned means going through a mixer and having the snare, bass drum, toms, hi-hats and overheads all on their own specialist mics and channels - but I am sure you would be doing that. Compressing some of those tracks might be useful too. Close miking will elimate the room boom too.
James Cumpsty
Edius/XH-A1/Cineform/Rode/DPA/HG-10/SG Pro2 Flip/
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Old April 24th, 2009, 03:56 PM   #6
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Primatte is capable of keying translucent items like veils and smoke without destroying detail. Keylight requires setting thresholds in order to get a solid matte, and that can kill subtle details and erode edges.

But Primatte lets you select what "is green" and "not green". In fact, I was able to key a guy wearing a green shirt! Fortunately it was a different shade of green (that's what happens when I forget to send a memo).

So motion blur should work, too. The main thing is to make sure your green screen is as consistent as possible and in the "sweet spot" of the exposure curve.

As with any keying job, shooting in progressive is highly recommended.

I keyed a fight scene but that wasn't done under optimal conditions. The next time I shoot some green screen I should try rapid movement. But just offhand I'd say that Primatte, like Ultimatte, can handle motion blur without too much trouble.
Dean Sensui
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Old April 26th, 2009, 07:46 AM   #7
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Your shooting with the Z1U?
When I shoot with swords or weapons I always need to mask them separately because they disappear while in fast motion (they are reflective metal though). I would shoot so that the sticks are mostly in front of the performer (as opposed to the green screen) or from an angle above where they could be in front of the drum kit. Shoot however you'd like, but if it were me I would be sure to get some shots like these incase it proves to be a keying nightmare.
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