Green Screen Photos That Show Us How Hollywood Really Works
Shooting with a green screen (or sometimes a blue screen) involves filming a person or adding visual effects in front of the solid color. Then you can digitally remove the color and drop the scene onto the background of your choice. A green screen is used often in movies, TV, videos, commercials, and much more.
Everything looks incredibly real in the Hunger Games movies, but a good chunk of the movie is thanks to a green screen and CGI technology. Most of the scenes were filmed on location, but for some of the more complicated scenes, Lawrence had to use her imagination.
All of Lawrence's archery movements were computer-generated. She would stand in front of the green screen and stand the way she needed to shoot a bow and arrow. Then they take that, remove the green background, put it on the background they wanted with the bow and arrow in her hands.
The Chronicles of Narnia
Narnia included 1,670 effects, and over 1,000 of them were complex CG characters, water, ice, and land. The creatures were created on set with over 200 people working on the Visual effects. Just to create the nonmoving castle, there were nine layers of CG work.
Each frame, shot, scene, and character took many layers to complete. In this particular scene, the characters stood in front of the screen, and then the color was removed, and the scene was placed in the background you see in the movie.
The Avengers: Endgame
Green screen technology is used throughout all of the Avenger movies, but the most impressive use of the green screen was for Bruce Banner, the Hulk. Superhero costumes and portals were created using special effects, and many scenes were filmed in front of green screens.
Larger-than-life moments in the film were made possible through computer-generated imagery, CGI, and other special effects. In this scene, the actors were just running towards a green screen on treadmills.
I am Legend
I am Legend was a monumental logistical and technical challenge for the filmmakers. The film was primarily shot in New York City and was made to look deserted. There are roughly 830 special-effects shots in the movie, but they didn't want to use screens for everything because if you use that technology too much, it will start to look fake.
The destruction of bridges and Times Square was, of course, computer-generated, along with the zombies' movements and the dog attacking Will Smith. It was a guy in a green suit with a fake dog head over his arm.
The movie 300 was shot almost entirely on a green screen, which gave the producers the flexibility to shoot where and when they wanted. This movie is a water movie, meaning it takes place on the water, but with CGI and green screens, you can create a water movie without a drop of water on the set.
The plus side of using a green screen is that it's liberating because all you have are the actors and lights, but the downside is that the actors need to use their imagination while acting. For this particular scene, the blue screen is used so that the background can be changed later to whatever it needs to be.
In Harry Potter, there were several flying scenes that the producers needed to use technology for. The Quidditch scenes were sometimes filmed where people would jump up and down on a trampoline in front of a green screen. Other times, they would have the actors on a broom on top of a robot that moves around with the artificial wind and a green screen.
This gave the appearance that they were zooming around on their brooms. The actors would be up there for hours sometimes while they were shot at multiple angles depending on the scene. The green screen was utilized for a good portion of the Harry Potter movies.
Life of Pi
The movie Life of Pi would not have been possible without special effects because it was all based in the middle of the ocean with a tiger. The team used a gallery of effects, including phosphorescent ocean creatures, storms at sea, and of course, the big cat.
While some shots were of real tigers, most were digital with the images stitched together in post-production. The movie had about 700 special effects shots, and everything was shot in a tank or against a blue screen; the film took two years to make.
In Iron Man, all of the sequences inside Tony's house required a lot of green screen enhancement, but the home's complete destruction needed a lot of FX work. Sometimes Robert Downey Jr. would wear the entire metal suit, but other times he would have what looked like pajamas with computer sensors on them so they could add the suit later.
As time went on, he didn't wear the full suit much because it was so uncomfortable. Most of the huge fighting scenes were actually filmed in front of the green screen.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
A huge part of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' success was the amazing digital effects that realistically captured the performances for the ape civilization and rendered them beautifully on screen. It was both strong performances that were convincingly ape-like and top-notch visual effects.
The actors needed to be able to act like an ape; then their performances had to be remade digitally. The actors would often wear a mo-cap with 53 sensors on it, allowing cameras to capture their every movement from head to toe, even facial expressions.
In the film Aquaman, there are 2,300 visual effects shots, and for the underwater scenes, they used a giant pool surrounded by a green screen. There were also underwater scenes where Momoa never touched the water; he would be in rigs that simulated underwater movements, and then they used CG technology to finish the scene.
The actors had to go through some very uncomfortable situations because not only did they have to act while they were on a wire rig, they had to do it while wearing really outlandish costumes. They also had to look like they were moving elegantly, and all kinds of CGI were required to make the actors look like they were swaying in the currents.
Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland is praised for the beautiful visual experience, special effects, and the beautiful 3D designed in each scene. The whole movie was filmed through green screens, and all the animals in the film are computer-generated images.
CGI's visual effects achieve a kind of perceptual realism to persuade the viewers into the world. The film was criticized because it overused CGI and the three-dimensional effect is not as real as Avatar and Pandora.
Godzilla required many visual effects, so the actors had to act in front of a massive green screen. The film had roughly 1,535 visual effects shots, with MPC handling most of the Godzilla shots, but they also had performers play Godzilla.
The green screen was used for the actors mainly, who would have to act as though they were in the actual scene when in actuality, it was just the actor and the screen. Some actors found it interesting to see what they looked like after the special effects were added.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
In Guardians of the Galaxy 2, a combination of visual effects, actor stand-ins, and dolls bring the characters to life. There was an actor in a green suit that played Rocket, but then there were also two life-size versions of Rocket Raccoon and a bust of Groot as aids for visual effects and lighting. Bradley Cooper, the voice of Rocket, was rigged up to voice the character; he wore a suit to capture his movements while performing.
For Groot, an actor would dress in a full blue bodysuit with a tree head to film that character. In the movie, it looks like he has his hand on Rocket, but he actually has his hand on an actor in a green suit, the same effect as the green screen.
Marry Poppins Returns
In the movie Mary Poppins Returns, all of the live-action elements were shot first and took roughly 18 months to complete. The actors delivered their performances in a totally green space with reference dancers dressed in green and physical set pieces called proxies representing the animated elements that would eventually appear in the scene.
The proxies helped the cast execute their exact choreography; however, the actors had to pull the moves off on their own. After all of the live-action scenes were shot, the animated sequence began and brought the movie together.
Space Jam was mostly made by Michael Jordan talking to himself and shooting baskets on a green screen. When he was playing basketball, he had a group of people chasing him around in green onesies so that he would have an idea of the general spacing he needed.
The people had to stand on supports to make them tall enough to represent the characters. Michael Jordan was not an experienced actor but was praised for his acting in the movie, especially when the whole movie was with a green screen and green people.
Lost in Space
In Lost in Space, pretty much every kind of visual effect you can imagine was used, full green screen shots, matte paintings, full CG Digi-doubles, and the robot, which was sometimes practical, sometimes digital, and sometimes both.
They shot as much as they could naturally, but alien scenes had to be shot with the green screen. The actors needed an enormous amount of imagination to make this movie come together because they were often acting with the screen.
Rise of An Empire
The special effects were enhanced to recreate Ancient Greece, and for the majority of the scenes, the film was shot across a large green screen. The film was shot on a lot, just adding in the background effects later, and the actors shot the scenes in full costumes and had all of the props, including horses, present when the cameras were rolling.
After the filming was complete, the background was enhanced and placed along the green screen to create the realism that the film needed.
For the movie King Arthur, in the opening scene where the bridge falls, the scene was filmed on a real bridge, with green screens stretched along the bridge's length and all of the arrows being fired are CGI. Motion capture was used for animation cycles, and the goal of the effects wizards was to make the action look real.
Throughout the movie, swords, axes, crossbows, and bolts were animated and combined with the background footage. In this scene, they stand in front of the green screen, and it's turned into them standing in the snow and mountains.
The biggest challenge for the producers of Elysium was creating Elysium, the ring-shaped habitat in space. There were six different types of droids created for the film; actors in grey suits performed the role of the droids on set, allowing Blomkamp to direct the performance. The actors were then replaced with CG droids in the final shot.
They had to be sure the droids properly interacted with the environment, such as where they stepped on blades of grass. The director tried to do everything real as much as possible, but the green screen was used to create illusions and backgrounds.
The Chronicles of Narnia
By the end of The Chronicles of Narnia, they had completed 1,617 visual effects shots for the film, including extensive animation work, extreme close-ups of talking animals with fur, to crowd scenes numbering more than 15,000 creatures, which were created on set.
The blue screen in the photo was used to place the scene in a different background; the screen allows them to have whatever background is needed for each scene without having to film at a million different places.
Ridley Scott utilizes the latest digital animation and 3D techniques in the film Prometheus. He shot the film entirely in 3D using Red Epic cameras, and the movie includes more than 1,400 3D visual effects. Animation software was used to complete much of the work.
The filmmakers used visual elements such as animation and live-action, including scenes shot with a green screen. Only about half of Prometheus has digital effects; there were also a significant number of sets and exterior shots in various locations from Iceland to Scotland to Jordan.
A Good Day to Die Hard
The green screen was used in A Good Day to Die Hard. During the Helicopter crash, Pixomondo pieced the real and fake together and created Digi-doubles or digital face replacements for the actors. The spinning helicopter scenes used volumetric lights and lens flares.
They broke apart the helicopter crash shots into a lot of different sections and keyframed it. A stuntman was often used on a wire to give them the illusion that they are flying through the air or jumping far.
When Jeff Bridges is in the vault, the room can be any size, painted green, and filled with sensors designed to capture the actor's movement and facial performance. The capture is used to assist in creating the CGI version, the environment in the scene, and the camera angles.
The actor was also scanned so that the computer could make a digital imprint to create his younger avatar. In the scene below, it looks like he fell to a surface below but really, he fell onto an inflatable covered with a blue sheet.
The Homesman was not filled with many visual effects, but they did use the green screen. The movie was filmed in New Mexico, which is pretty flat, so the green screen would be used to give different backgrounds for different scenes.
The green screen is also used to combine live-action with animation, and even low-budget films can benefit from the miracle of the green screen. The screen allows you to drop in whatever background images you want behind the actors.
Production for the Wolverine filmed in an area of southern Sydney made up to look like a Japanese Army camp, but Rising Sun replaced the city on the horizon with Nagasaki views. One-shot features Logan doing a last-minute jump into the stone well, so Hugh was shot against a bluescreen on wires being lifted up and dropped into the well.
Then they have to make it look like his skin was healing from the burns using complex tracking, CG and compositing solutions, and growing back Wolverine's hair. They also used special effects for his claws.
The Monuments Men
A key sequence in the film takes place in Merkers Gold Room, where the lights are turned on in an underground salt mine to reveal a vast array of gold bars and cash stretching as far as the eye can see. The set was only about 20 feet wide and deep, with the actors filmed in front of a green screen.
It was essential to ensure the environment looked as 3-dimensional in-depth as possible. Models were added to the scene with a lighting rig, replicating a continuation of the set lighting. Then with technology, the scene was brought to life.
An important piece in Gavin Hood's latest film Ender's Game, is its massive zero-gravity Battle Room, a place where Asa Butterfield's character trains for alien war. In order to create a sense of weightlessness, they shot actors in harnesses and on wires against a green screen set to place them in a virtual world.
The visual effects studio retained only the actors' faces and relied instead on digital doubles of their bodies for the sequence. The end product is the viewer seeing the young actor float through a weightless battle.
Maleficent took about a year and a half after filming ended to put the special effects and everything together. A lot of the backgrounds and castles were added in with computer graphics later. When Angelina Jolie was filming, she had a little green square on her back, which held a battery and two small antennas that came out with bright orange spots.
Everything you see of Maleficent is almost 100% animated. Her wings were animated, and virtually all of the scenes were in front of the green screen.
The Lord Of The Rings
Filming of The Lord of the Rings took place in New Zealand for 438 days. The producer tried to use real backgrounds as much as possible, but for the creatures, it would be actors in suits that would later be computerized into the creature.
A blue screen was used to fit the hobbits into scenes in the correct size. The scene would be shot normally, and then the hobbits would be put in, or they would use stand-ins. They also used perspective to fool the eye into thinking something is real when it's not.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
In Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom, all the film's CG and animated dinosaurs received a fresh look. When there was no animatronics, the VFX team made sure there was some sort of representation of the dinosaurs on set for the actors to relate to.
They shot the majority of the live-action scenes in Hawaii, so they didn't need the green screen for those. They still used the green screen for the shots where the humans had to interact with the dinosaurs.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the producers turned to Weta Digital for some of their special effects. The special effects engineers were able to develop the life-like apes through performance capture technology. They used motion capture dots and full-body suits to read the actor's emotions and movements.
Later, the performances were digitized into apes during post-production. They also used the green screen to be able to capture the backgrounds that they wanted for the scene.
The entire film was pre-visualized and animated before pre-production even started. The technology used were models, physics simulations, motion capture, and traditional storyboards. Virtually everything but the actors' faces and helmets were filled in later using CGI.
Instead of the traditional green screen, the producers had the actors perform inside a lightbox constructed of LED panels (The same effect as the green screen). This film was different in that they had to finish post-production before they could start pre-production.
The most significant undertaking for the special effects department in Deadpool was creating the character of Colossus. Five different performers came together to bring the silver giant to life. The movie pushes the art in terms of visual effects with around 1,200 extremely challenging shots.
For the famous freeway chase, the vehicle interiors and other actions are filmed on the green screen, and then everything can be constructed digitally. Stunts that couldn't be performed safely were captured on a motion capture stage.
The Walking Dead
In The Walking Dead, an intense amount of motion capture and modeling goes into creating the realistic zombie characters. Lightwave, 3Ds Max, and Photoshop are also used in the visual effects pipeline. The team relies heavily on blue and green screens to create digital set extensions and visual enhancements.
In the scene below, they used the screen and digital effects to show all of the abandoned cars on the road when the actor was on an empty street.
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Mad Max: Fury Road special effects film used many practical effects to create a post-apocalyptic world but relied on special effects for the finishing touches. The movie features over 2,000 VFX shots and some green screen technology.
The visual effects supervisor used a combination of real stunts, color grading, and compositing. They used the green screen for this particular shot to place the vehicle in the firey background without actually having to have a fire.
Oz, The Great And Powerful
Oz, The Great, and Powerful broke with some of today's film conventions, using sound stages as the foreground for the majority of the scenes. Backgrounds were green-screened, however, where CGI effects were overlaid upon the physical objects.
The green screen work was only used for the backgrounds, unlike most CGI-driven effects blockbusters that are shot today. The actors were given a physical model to act against instead of acting entirely in their heads.
Twilight Saga: Eclipse
The challenge in Twilight was to make the massive wolves and make them look realistic. When Kristen Stewart had to interact with Taylor Lautner as a wolf, Lautner dressed in a tight bodysuit and helped emulate the animal's actions so Stewart would have the proper reaction.
The producers took full 3D scans of the main actors and combined them with animation and real-life movements. They also used the green screen for the scenes where the actors are jumping or flying.
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby's visual effects are world-class, and the film was shot in 3D and RED camera rigs with green screens. Extensive blue and green screens were replaced with detailed landscapes. DiCaprio and Maguire were filmed in Gatsby's yellow car surrounded by blue screens for one of their trips into New York City.
Another is the actors walking down a pier, surrounded by blue screens, but in the film, you can see the water and Gatsby's estate. The Buchanans' lavish property also was primarily created using visual effects.
The Hobbit had around 22,000 FX shots. The only way to shoot was to use two cameras slaved to each other across two sets, the Bag End set with the swarves, who were all choreographed and knew their spots and speaking lines, and Ian Mckellen on a green screen stage right next door.
He had C-stands representing the other actors. In The Hobbit, in addition to Gollum, they have five other speaking digital characters, and the castles and backgrounds were all computerized.
The Dark Knight
Nolan wanted to make The Dark Knight with as many practical effects as possible, using CG only when absolutely necessary. This film only had about 650 visual effects shots, but one scene they used CG was when Batman was on a building in Hong Kong, he jumped off that on a green screen.
Also, some of the flying and barreling through windows were done with the green screen. They had to use special effects for the face of Harvey Dent in the scene pictured above. They shot mainly at night and blew up buildings that were scheduled to be demolished for some of their shots.
The green screen was used often in The Matrix, with all of the tricks that go on in the movie. The 'bullet time' is a king of slow-motion where the camera moves around the characters in what seems to be less than a single second.
All of the visual effects in the trilogy come from the director's innovative visual style. Several scenes were shot on the green screen, and the backgrounds were replicated in CGI, using photos of the real location. The actors also had to be held in position by wires.
Beauty and the Beast
For the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, Disney needed to cast someone who could play both the beast and prince charming. Dan Stevens was able to transform into the beast with motion capture technology and CGI.
He had to wear a bulky 40-pound suit to capture the larger frame of the beast. After filming the live scenes, they would use computer technology to turn him into the beast. They also used the green screen for the other characters.
The Martian would not be possible without special effects because they obviously couldn't go to space to film the movie. There's plenty of green screens that fill in for Mars, and when it looked like he was going for a stroll on the desert planet, it was nothing more than him moving through some sand on Earth.
The desert of Wadi Rum was also used to fill in for the backdrop of Mars. Matt Damon filmed most of the movie with green screens and by himself; he needed a lot of imagination while acting.
Shooting in front of green screens has become a standard part of the filmmaking business, and making Jumanji was no different. Some actors think of the green screen as a blank canvas and find it very cool. The cast never filmed in the jungle; it was all green screen acting.
"Playing on that green screen are the most interesting days. Nothing is there. You're literally with your director who has all of this in his head." ---- Kevin Hart.
In Star Wars, a lot of the film is special effects. Digitally-created characters are present in the movie; the same layering digital effects were used to create a character by them wearing a motion capture suit. The Star Wars franchise's visual effects have earned the series a permanent place in the evolutionary history of VFX.
As you can see in this photo, dogs in suits are used to create large robot creatures; they do the live-filming and then use the computer to finish the creation.
In the movie Aladdin, the carpet ride isn't really as romantic as it looks on the screen. They were required to climb up 15 feet into the air and perch on top of a moving rig. They were tied in and situated in front of a blue screen.
The green screen was used often in the remake, and the movie was criticized for not doing the original justice. Abu, the monkey, is an entirely computer-generated creation, and of course, when Will Smith is the genie, he is also computer-generated.
Spiderman was a very tricky movie in regards to special effects. He is always jumping from one place to another and swinging around. Almost all of that is with a green screen and computer-generated technology. There were many simulated elements to add in later, and it took a year after filming to create the finished sequence.
They created screen tests, and the results were so realistic that even Spider-Man himself couldn't tell the difference. They did do as many stunts as they could without the special effects.
In Insurgent, there were roughly 1,024 visual effects shots. There was a lot of special effects work with the train, the pit, the zip-line, and the landscapes. As you can see, the mirror room was just an all-green room. It had a lot of green screens, and they had to rebuild the city in every direction.
There were many wires, split screens, green screen replacements, clothing fixes, heavy paint, and keying work. Insurgent is a visual effects extravaganza, with panoramic sci-fi environments, crumbling urban cityscapes, and action sequences on par with the best Hollywood have to offer.
The set for Maze Runner was a platform filmed against a green screen. In some of the scenes, Weta Digital added effects, matching real explosions with CG ones, plus additional crowds and even some unfortunate souls flying through the air. When jumping, the actors would actually jump but not very far and onto mats.
Most movies that we watch have a high percentage of special effects that make you think that what you are watching is real. If they did a good job, it will look real, and you won't be able to tell the difference.