“Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see,” — Benjamin Franklin. The art of optical illusion and digital trickery has been explored in the filmmaking industry through the magic of the green screen. Whether through independent film, music videos or the Hollywood big screen, your imagination can take you anywhere. Learn how to shoot on a green screen in this installment of Film School Tips!



The art of optical illusion, double exposure and invisible trickery dates back to classic filmmakers such as John P. Fulton (Invisible Man, 1933) and Dr. Ludwig Burger (The Thief of Bagdad, 1940), and to legendary directors like Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings, 2001) and George Lucas (Star Wars, 1977). The genius and craftsmanship of filmmaking has transcended time with the evolution of video techniques such as the traveling matte, the glass shot, the black screen, yellow screen and blue screen to the now digital takeover of the green version screen! A quality Film School education can teach you how to best utilize this valuable filmmaking tool.

Award-winning filmmaker and F.I.R.S.T. Institute Film and Video instructor Trent Duncan gives us useful tips and tricks on using the infamous green screen. Chroma key compositing can be seen in everyday video production from Hollywood movies, music videos, commercials and more! Every aspect from surface area, color temperature, intensity, over/under exposure, light type and light positioning will determine the quality of your project. The magic of this tool is that it can put you or your subject in any environment you choose and give your project the enhancement, professionalism and creativity you seek!

The green screen allows you to place real actors into an imaginary world or vice versa, a 3D character in a real world scene. However, some are more purposefully noticeable than others. For example, the dynamic environmental imagery seen in Kanye West’s music video “Bound 2” clearly uses green and blue screen effects. On the other hand, the not-so-noticeable scenery seen in the final fight scene of Marvel’s Avengers was a total recreation. Every detail from Captain America jumping off the bridge onto the exploding bus, to the recreation of downtown buildings, street signs, and fire hydrants to emulate New York City was done with visual engineering.

With special effects and digital illusion, creativity has no limitations! Whether independent film, music videos or the Hollywood big screen, your imagination can take you places way beyond the stamps in your passport. Want to create a perfect video? Want to learn how to make a movie in a setting far away from where you’re actually filming? Following Trent’s tips and tricks will put you on the path towards success and give you the industry standard tools you need to create professional work of art. The rest is up to you! Are you ready? Lights, Camera, Career!


At F.I.R.S.T. Institute, one of the best film schools in Florida, we can help you navigate the vastness of the Film and Video industry and equip you with the skills and knowledge that you need to get the attention of the right people, including skills like how to shoot on a green screen and even how to make a movie. You’ll get invaluable information from faculty at F.I.R.S.T. Institute like Duncan who are working film and video industry professionals who have a passion for mentoring the next generation of filmmakers.  You’ll have everything you need to stand out from the crowd and present yourself in the best possible light.

Give us a call or reach out to us through our website, and we’ll answer all of your questions and help you in every way we can! You’ve got a bright future ahead of you, and we’d love to help you get there.