The best green screen work starts with a smooth flat green screen with good color saturation and even light reflection. The best way to achieve a green screen like this is to paint a wall in your studio space. This eliminates all the hassles of getting the wrinkles out of a fabric screen. Painting also frees up a considerable amount of floor space by eliminating the need for stands and other support gear.
It is tempting to run down to the local paint store, order up a gallon of their greenest looking paint, and start painting. But, choosing the wrong paint will start a frustrating chain of events that delivers nothing but wasted time and disappointing results. The whole green screen process is a balancing act. You need a very narrow range of colored light to reflect off your screen and get captured by your camera. The paint you choose will have a major impact on what your camera sees.
Check out these related articles:
The Ultimate Green Screen Resource Guide
Become a Home Office Video Lighting Instant Expert!
How To Setup a Home Office Green Screen Studio
How to Build a YouTube Channel and Publish Videos That Get Views
6 Easy Ways To Improve The Sound of Your Videos
The Difference Between Professional Green Screen Paint and DIY Options
Professional grade chromakey green paint, like Rosco Chroma Key Matte Green Paint, can cost as much as 3 times the price of a gallon of good quality house paint. The question most people on tight budgets ask is, “does it make a difference?”
The short answer is yes, pro paint is better!
Watch the video at the top of the page and you can see a thorough demonstration of the difference between the Rosco paint and a custom mix interior house paint. The pro paint gives a much more even light reflection and a tighter, more consistent, color range.
Here is the reason for the difference. The color of house paint is created by mixing together different color pigments to create the desired color, just like you did in 3rd grade art class. The Rosco paint is made using a single pigment that is carefully chosen to be the optimal color. The resulting green color is more pure and less likely to reflect any colors that would cause problems in post production. The ultra-flat matte finish of the paint has no sheen. The flat finish of interior house paint still has small amount of sheen/gloss. The result is more even lighting with less chance of surface reflections coloring the image.
If you will be shooting challenging subjects like translucent fabrics, liquids, fine blond hair, etc., spending an extra $50 on paint could end up saving many frustrating hours in the editing room struggling with lower quality footage. But, if your subject matter is a bald guy in fully opaque clothing, you can get acceptable results with the DIY option.
Before you make your decision, think about this. If you compare making a green screen video to building a house, choosing the paint is like buying the wood and nails. If you start building a house with warped, weak wood and nails that are too small, all the craftsmanship in the world won’t result in a strong house. Plus, you spend a huge amount of extra time trimming and bracing everything to compensate for the weak material. Any cost savings are quickly offset by the added labor and lower quality results.
If you must start out cheap, plan to upgrade as soon as your budget allows.
Best DIY Chroma Key Green Paint Colors
If you made it this far, you may have decided to throw caution to the wind and use a DIY house paint option for your green screen. So, let’s make sure you use the best paint color possible.
I have done substantial research on the color options for DIY green screen paint and compiled a list of the best paint colors available. Behr Sparkling Apple paint is the top choice of DIY fans, and the others are solid options if you don’t have a Lowes store nearby.
- Behr Premium Plus S-G-430 Sparkling Apple
- Behr Premium Plus S-G-440 Green Acres
- Valspar #6010-7 Luscious Green
- Sherwin-Williams #SW 6925 Envy
- Benjamin Moore #2032-10 Neon Green (very close match to my actual fabric green screen)
- Benjamin Moore #2032-20 Traffic Light Green
- Glidden #PPG1225-7 Leap Frog
- Dulux #S24h9 Vitalize
Remember to always ask for a FLAT FINISH paint. You want no sheen or gloss of any kind in the finish.
If you can get a color sample of a true green screen backdrop (fabric, paper, or a paint chip) you can take it to the paint store and have them analyze it and create a custom color mix from it.
Tips for Enhancing Your DIY Green Screen Paint
You can improve the color of a DIY painted green screen by tinting the lights shining on it with green lighting gels. Lee and Rosco both make chroma green gels you can use to tint your lights. Try the Roscolux Chroma Green or the Lee #738 JAS Green. Do not use gels if you are working in a very small room as that will increase the chances of green light spilling onto your foreground subject.