Someone can be very experienced with traditional greenscreen/chroma key practices and naturally try to apply them directly to Reflecmedia. That would be a mistake. Thus this blog post.
I will begin with a quick list of need-to-know tips, then go into more detail on each one.
1] The minimum working distance between the LiteRing and the talent is 10 feet (3 meters).
2] The closer your talent is to the Chromatte screen, the better the results.
3] The Reflecmedia system is intended for indoor applications.
4] You may not need as much LiteRing intensity as you think.
1] Minimum Working Distance
This 10 foot minimum working distance (MWD) is in place because the last thing you want to do is to 'paint' your talent with the green or blue light coming from the LiteRing. The LED's are powerful, but fall off quickly––so once you reach the MWD you won't risk contaminating your subject with the key color. Of course you won't want to turn up the intensity of the LiteRing beyond the minimum intensity that gets you a good key.
The maximum working distance can be 50 feet or more, depending on other lighting conditions.
2] Distance from the Chromatte screen
In a traditional chroma key setup, you want your talent standing away from the green background in order to avoid the dreaded green spill. This is a good practice, because you don't want the post production nightmare of trying to key out the background without keying out the green spill on your subject.
The beauty of the Reflecmedia system is that there is no spill. I'll say that again; there is no spill. The Chromatte background is not actually green, so there is no green light bouncing off and hitting the talent. Because of the photoreflective design of the gray Chromatte material, the green (or blue) light from the LiteRing reflects, on-axis, directly back at the source, but not onto the talent. Voila! Spill free chroma key!
The same reflective action that eliminates spill will create a gray halo around the subject, if she is too far from the Chromatte screen. Keep the talent close to the screen and you'll be good!
3] Ambient Light
Since the Reflecmedia system is dependent upon the reflection of colored light, anything that interferes with that reflection can be problematic. Such is the case when using this system outdoors in the daylight. If the ambient light is strong enough, the LiteRing won't be able to overcome the ambient light pollution to create a strong colored background.
So, the Reflecmedia system is for use in controlled lighting situations, such as a studio. Speaking of controlled lighting, if a strong studio light were placed directly behind or on-axis with the camera, that light could potentially wash out the LiteRing reflection. The lights for the talent should be located off-axis from the camera to avoid interfering with the colored LiteRing.
It should also be mentioned here that a major benefit of the Reflecmedia chroma key system is that no background lighting is necessary. You just light the talent, as usual, and the background is taken care of entirely by the LiteRing.
4] LiteRing Intensity
New users of the Reflecmedia system tend to make the mistake of overcranking the LiteRing intensity. Using a waveform monitor is highly recommended, because it allows you to see the exact brightness of the screen in relation to the talent. A general rule-of-thumb is to keep the background at 50 to 60 IRE, with the talent showing highlights at a much higher IRE. The snapshot below will give you a rough idea of what a good exposure looks like.
Should you have any questions about using the Reflecmedia Chroma Key system, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com
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