Color-saturated fill light for a better composite
Here’s a useful technique that I came up with for shooting certain kinds of greenscreen stuff…
- Make the fill light a saturated color (that’s different from the screen and the subject’s clothes etc, duh).
- In post, isolate that particular color and then tweak it to match the hue of whatever the natural bounce light would be in whatever environment you’re compositing them into.
- Though keep in mind that it’s always better to just use a colored fill light that matches your particular background plate. This technique is more for cases where you have to use one setup for several varied backgrounds.
For example, you can use a saturated magenta for the fill, and then use the secondary color correction in Color Finesse to tweak just the saturated magenta to appear bluish if they’re supposed to be standing on the belly of a giant, naked sleeping smurf or whatever. Another great thing about this technique is that you not only can control the hue and saturation of the fill color, but also the luminance of the fill, and quite easily at that. Of course, this technique will only be useful for certain shots, depending on the lighting and blocking.
Here’s a straight forward example of this technique from a shoot I was DP on. Because of last minute schedule changes, I had to shoot numerous bits of Snoop Dogg in just one setup, even though they took place in a multitude of settings. We could’ve shot him in neutral color and depended on conventional color correction to help color him into the background, but that usually looks pretty rookie & unsavory in my opinion, since any color adjustments to affect the “bounce/ambient” light will also affect the entire subject’s color, even the areas being illuminated by the key light. So with a magenta fill, we had some tweakable “ambient” light to match the backgrounds in post.
You can see from the original footage on the right that not only was I able to easily change the hue & saturation of the magenta fill, but also the luminance. More examples from the exact same lighting setup below…
Also, note that in these examples (which I composited & color graded myself) the tweaking of the magenta fill was done with just the “Hue and Saturation” effect in After Effects due to what was available on that particular workstation. Theoretically, Color Finesse’s secondary color correction would’ve given even better results.