Green Screen Photo Booth
On Pinterest you always see those cute photo booths at parties, but it never occurred to me to use a green screen until my son’s recent Star Wars birthday party. Since Star Wars is all about the FX, I figured we ought to add some to our party too. And it blew the kids’ minds!
What was surprising was how easy and cheap it was. Granted the results aren’t as good as a professional service, but hiring somebody costs at least $700!
I was able to do this using items I have around the house. The only thing I had to buy was the green screen app. And now that I have all the pieces together, it will be even easier to do it for the next party.
Keep in mind that there are much more in-depth tutorials out there, but this tutorial is great if you just want the basics without getting bogged down in all the technicalities.
Green Screen Photo Booth Tutorial
Step 1: Get the screen.
Surprisingly, a green screen is cheaper than you would think. You can get ones on Amazon for under $15!
But for ours, we already had a green bed sheet that we just attached to the bookshelf with clamps.
Of course a green screen will work better, but fabric works well too if you make sure it is a nice bright green, that there are no wrinkles, and that it is thick enough to not be see-through. We found that the sheet worked just fine for our purposes and it was free!
Step 2: Set up the Lighting
If the lighting is poor, you will have a hard time getting a crisp image. The goal is to get things as consistent as possible so that there isn’t any uneven coloring on the screen.
To do this you will need a couple of light sources. You will want at least two lights pointed at only the green screen and then two lights for the subject. This helps prevent shadows on the screen. Positioning your subject a few feet from the screen also helps.
I had to play around with the lighting a bit, but was able to get decent results with a couple of garage lights and a desk light.
Diffusing the light can also help soften the light and reduce shadows. Eventually I would love to get a lighting set, but for now I just grabbed some parchment paper since it handles high temperatures without catching fire. By folding it in half, stapling the sides closed (staples won’t melt like tape), and cutting a slit in the back, I was able to make diffusion filters to hang over the lights.
Step 3: Green Screen App
The easiest and cheapest way to get the results you want is a green screen app. I looked into a few and my favorite was the Green Screen by Do Ink, but you will need an iPad to use it.
For the Star Wars party I was able to save some Star Wars backdrops on my iPad and then layer it with the video while I was shooting. It was so easy to do and the kids could see the results right away. If you are really fancy, you can also airplay the screen to another device so that people can watch the effects happen live.
We even did a few videos. The app will actually let you layer videos, but I haven’t had time to play with it yet.
While this green screen photo booth set up won’t impress any professionals, the kids thought it was amazing and that’s all that really mattered.