Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fun with Green Screen Technology, "A Chorus Line," Priscilla Beach Theatre, Priscilla Beach, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Priscilla Beach Theatre (PBT) is currently in rehearsal for "A Chorus Line." I did a photo session recently that utilized the "Green Screen" technique that is the subject of this post. You photographers out there who follow this blog may find this interesting.

The actress above is posed in front of a "Green Screen." A key light is placed low to the right side and a fill light is placed high to the left side and another touch of fill light is placed to the front. I did not use a flash. "Green Screen" is a widely used technology especially in the video/TV world. Almost every television weather forecast utilizes the technique to superimpose the weather reporters in front of various weather screens.

I am a simple man - I use amateur point-and-shoot cameras and amateur software - I was anxious to see how using parts of the Green Screen technique would turn out.  I did not use the specific Green Screen software but made do with the features already on hand in my software of choice, Photoshop Elements 14.

Using the "Expert" edit mode, the first step was to "Select and Copy" the actress as shown above using the "Quick Selection Tool." Next I used the "Select - Refine Edge" pull down menu to refine the edge including capturing the wispy hairs to the right of her head.

The next step was to "Paste" that image on to a different background and position and size it using the "Move" tool.

This background was included in the Elements program.

This background I downloaded for free from the internet.

Same actress with a slightly different pose.

If I just want a solid color background, I can use the "Adjust Color - Replace Color" function and replace the green with blue for this example.

Back to the "Select, Refine Edge, and Copy" technique.

Then "Paste" that image on to the new background, use the "Move" tool to position and resize it.

Specialized type or logos can be added using the same techniques or, one can simply click on the "Type" icon and apply the fonts available in Elements.

A different actress, same techniques.

"Adjust Color - Replace Color" function and replaced the green with purple.

"Select, Refine Edge, and Copy."

Then "Move" to position and resize and  - voila!

I like the bokeh backgrounds.

A different actress, same processing technique.

Same actress, different pose, same techniques.

It worked pretty well if I do say so myself!

As has always been a goal of this blog, I seek to use simple, relatively inexpensive cameras and software, but strive to achieve great images that can be used to tell a brief story.  I have reached the conclusion that it's not so much the equipment but, what one does with it is what matters most. Since my use is targeted for small screen viewing - smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop rather than hard copy or enlargements, I find this technology perfectly adequate.

And yes, I do make it sound easy here but, I assure you I spent way too many hours figuring it out and here I am making it seem easy.  (Next time it will be easy since I took and kept good notes).

As with all things photographic, it was both fun and challenging and exasperating to figure out how to do all this.  As many of you know, in Photoshop, (Elements or the Full Program), there is usually more than one way to do the same thing and it took a while to sort it all out - instruction manuals, You Tube video tutorials, asking Amy. (I am one of those men who can ask for directions - well, sometimes anyway - and reluctantly).

One of the challenges I avoided this time around was using a "real" background.  When doing so, one must be mindful of light source direction and shadows or else the finished image will look fake. It was a great experience - I look forward to doing it again sometime!

For this Priscilla Beach Theatre run of "A Chorus Line, " almost all of the tickets have already been sold for the 11 performances scheduled during July so PBT Owners Bob and Sandy Malone just added three more shows to try to meet the strong demand.

For tickets and information, contact PBT at 508-224-4888 or online at .

Support local live theatre - here or wherever in the world you may live. Their presence in our communities enriches us all and provides performance opportunities for aspiring actors and actresses.

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