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Bringing Green Screen Production to Online Conference Design

by | Mar 22, 2021 | Blog

The switch to online and hybrid events has come with challenges and advantages. Within this model, conference organisers can set up a studio at nearly any given location. This could be a venue, a hotel, a university or research facility, or even in the own office space, which leaves a more ample budget for alternative event design. Green screen production for online events is an emerging trend due to the technique’s ability to create higher engagement levels.

At Congrex we have used the past year to gain some experience in novel conference design. What follows is an array of useful insights from our experience with green screen production so far.

Green-Screen-Studio-2

GREEN-SCREEN STUDIO IN BASEL

Our fully equipped green-screen studio is now available for rent in Basel. We can provide specialist support with state-of-the-art equipment. Record or live-stream your presentation, panel discussion or interview with professional quality audio and video.

Green Screen Production and Its Benefits in Online Conference Design

Green screen production involves using a virtual background superimposed over a live image. The technique consists of two stages. First, a scene is recorded in real-time by placing a green background or screen behind the subjects. In the context of conference design, this could be a panel discussion or a keynote speech. The second stage involves removing your green and replacing it with the desired background (which can be an image or a video) using dedicated software.

RELATED: A Guide To Help You Host Virtual Conferences

Although initially this technique was used in the film industry, it can be incorporated into virtual video conferencing with important benefits, including:

  • An enhanced visual experience that facilitates learning and engagement. A well-chosen green screen background can help create a coherent whole and add a deeper dimension to the visual processing of information. This is important considering that 90% of all information that we process nowadays is visual.
  • A strong experiential focus that results in online video conferences of a highly immersive nature.
  • Flexibility, because the green screen effect is more than just a background – it also offers opportunities to elevate the organiser’s creative branding strategy.

The Basics of Green Screen Production

This technique works on the principle of contrast, which means there needs to be a high contrast between background and foreground. Low contrast would cause the foreground to disappear or blend into the background and would make it hard for the main subject to be singled out in post-production.

RELATED: How to Ensure Hybrid Conference Success

This is one of the reasons why neon or bright green are often chosen as the background colours since this shade of green is easily distinguishable by software tools. Moreover, since there is no such thing as a green skin tone, using a green screen background ensures the subject stands out instead of being washed out into the background.

For optimal results, the green background must be smooth and solid. It is possible to use green cloth, a painted wall, or green paper, but irrespective of the material used, the background should not be a reflective surface. Alternatively, there are ready-made solutions like retractable or pull-down green screens, which are similar to the projector screens used for presentations.

In addition to a good green screen, you will need:

  • A high-resolution camera.
  • A set of lights (two at the very least).
  • Editing software, also known as chroma key software. Some are free of charge; others require a one-off payment or a monthly subscription. See an overview of the options here.
  • A computer to run the software on.
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Tips for Getting Optimal Results

Having a professional green screen setup will make the post-production and editing process easier. Here are some useful tips:

1. Choose a lighting setup

Since the subject will be standing in front the green screen, you want to choose the angle and lighting conditions that minimise halos and shadows. Some suggestions to achieve good lighting include:

  • Use soft lights.
  • Use at least one light to illuminate the green screen, another one to light up the subject, and one placed above the camera. The goal is to ensure that the green background is evenly lit without gradients or over/under exposure. Here you can read about a practical setup example that only uses two lights.
  • Have people stand between 8 and 10 feet off the screen. Being too close in front of the green screen will cast shadows. For the same reason, avoid placing lights at an angle when illuminating the subject.

2. Stabilise the camera

Blurred or shaky footage cannot be edited smoothly. You may use a tripod, and it may also be necessary to adjust the shutter speed to anything between 1/80 or 1/100.

3. Do a test run

Test the setup before the conference to determine how to best position your speakers. You want to ensure that no one moves or makes gestures that extend beyond the green screen – otherwise they will disappear in post-production.

It is also useful to advise speakers to avoid wearing green clothes, as these will be absorbed into the background when editing. Reflective surfaces are a challenge to edit, so run some test footage to check for possible reflections from the floor surface. To this effect, it may be worth considering a coved green screen that not only covers the background but also curves under the subject to cover part of the floor.

Once the final footage is recorded, it is time to get into post-production and to replace the green screen with the desired background. Since there are many software tools available, it is not within the scope of this paper to offer step-by-step advice. However, each editing tool has detailed guides and tutorials under the “Help” tab.

Conclusion

Green screen production is cost-effective, easy to set up, and can help create a more consistent and realistic online and virtual experience. In view of the excellent results obtained so far, at Congrex we would like to encourage organisers to get creative with this technique and apply it to online event organisation.

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Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings, including the management of hotel rooms and strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 45 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations.

Green-Screen-Studio-2

GREEN-SCREEN STUDIO IN BASEL

Our fully equipped green-screen studio is now available for rent in Basel. We can provide specialist support with state-of-the-art equipment. Record or live-stream your presentation, panel discussion or interview with professional quality audio and video.

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