Your social media feeds were probably flooded with photos and clips of people wearing green this weekend. And since your friends have very willingly supplied you with all this footage, why not practice your green screen skills?
For those unfamiliar, a green screen (or blue screen, or really any color screen that doesn’t match a person’s skin tone or clothing) is a tool used in film and television production that allows editors to erase and replace the color of said screen. This is accomplished through a tool called a “chroma key.” Essentially, setting a chroma key tells the computer to ignore a certain color in a picture or video. Once that color is gone, a new image or video can be placed underneath the original, filling the now-transparent area.
Here’s an example of how a green screen and chroma keying look on-air from “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”:
Chroma keying can also be used strategically to eliminate parts of bodies or entire people, which is why you may see people wearing polyester/spandex suits that are all one color—better known as “chroma key suits” or “morph suits”—in behind-the-scenes clips of your favorite movies and TV shows.
But every now and then, you’ll see someone accidentally wear the same color as the screen that’s being taken out. And when that happens, it’s usually pretty funny.
Now it’s not necessary to have a screen in the background to chroma key—you can do it on any video as long as you select a color in the frame.
For example, White House press secretary Sean Spicer wore a green tie during last Thursday’s press briefing:
and Buzzfeed’s Jesse McLaren took advantage of that:
Here’s how you can replicate this effect for Spicer, or any footage you come across where someone is wearing green.
Here’s how to green screen
I recommend doing your chroma keying in After Effects, and that’s the process I’m explaining. However, it can also be done in Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer, or even Photoshop.
Fix those edges
Congratulations! You’ve successfully gotten rid of Sean Spicer’s tie. You can now place any footage you like underneath all of your other layers to replace the tie. To celebrate your accomplishment, here are some fireworks for you: