Process Screen Photography

Process screen photography is the use of a pure-chroma or high-contrast screen as a background during photography in order to separate a foreground object from this background. The foreground object may then be added or composited into another scene. There are several types of Process Screens for various situations.


The most common type of Process Screen photography is the use of blue or green screen when shooting Live Action foregrounds for compositing into another background. Similar process screen techiniques may be used when photographing Miniatures and Automobiles. However, as these are often static subjects, Red Phosphour or Hi-contrast (white screens) may be used in conjunction with repeat-pass Motion Control techniques to provide an optimum matte edge.

I've been shooting and compositing various types of process photography for over 25 years, taking solid cues from such industry pioneers as Jonathan Erland. I use his Composite Components Digital Blue & Green Screens whenever logistics will support it.
Shooting Chroma Screens underwater requires careful consideration. I have that experience and know how to get it right.

I have even employed the use of Front Projection and Reverse Front Projection screen photography, though it's rare that I can justify their use anymore. It's more often easier to clean up a compromised chroma screen than to live with the compromises that the projection systems offer. However, the clip below, from Poseidon, demonstrates a situation where a front projection system was the only way to deal with the highly reflective stainless steel surfaces.

Image #1 :From the Motion Picture  "GI Joe" - The Live Action foreground was shot as a Daylight exterior blue screen. I always recomend that if the composite is to be a daylight exterior, the blue/green screen foreground needs to be photographed as a daylight exterior element. The background was photographed using VistaVision. Excellent Digital Composites by Digital Domain.

Image #2
From the Motion Picture  "Poseidon" - The Elevator Shaft set was wet and reflective, so traditional Chroma Screens weren't going to work.
Instead, a "Gray Screen" was used to provide High Contrast Matte Edges. Excellent 3D Set Extension and D
igital Composites by Giant Killer Robots.

Image #3 :From the Motion Picture "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island"-  Shot in an underwater tank, painted Digital Green all the way around, the foreground was photographed using a Native Stereo Twin SI2K camera system in a Hydroflex housing. Virtual Environment, CGI Jellyfish and excellent Stereo Compositing done by Pixomondo . .

Image #4 :From the Motion Picture  "Poseidon" - The Kitchen foreground set was almost all stainless steel. Highly reflective.
So a Front Projection Blue Screen was used, which eliminated virtually all blue reflections.
Excellent 3D Set Extension and Digital Composites by
CIS Hollywood which has since been folded into Method Studios.

© 2014 Boyd Shermis Visual Effects, Inc .