Green screens are uniform backgrounds that make moving your subject into a new environment a seamless process. And they’re used in conjunction with post-processing editors to create a particular composition effect, known as chroma key, to change the background to virtually anything. So no worrying about an untidy or lackluster background. Instead, change it freely to something new and exciting. Thus, green screens offer more creative options across many productions. And they may be the difference-making in getting a professional looking shot, Zoom call, or Livestream, especially helpful with today’s profound reliance on video calls. But, more importantly, they’re ideal when budget, time, or other constraints make it improbable to record at the physical location.
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Thankfully, green screens are now quite plentiful and affordable. And gone are the days where these were strictly reserved for high-budget blockbuster films, news reporting, and production houses. Now, this somewhat advanced technique is available for all.
But with so many options, you may find it overwhelming to know which materials, size, and style is best, especially considering the vast amount of cheap green curtains available. Not to mention, how can you ensure each uses a high-quality design that is truly wrinkle-free and non-reflective? So to aid in that quest, we’ve compiled a list of the best green screen backgrounds on the present market. And we’ve also created a quick guide on the factors to consider before purchasing a green screen for yourself.
Westcott’s 132 Green Screen Background is designed with the working photographer in mind. This enormous 9×20 ft background is among the largest you can get. Even so, it uses a heavy-duty wrinkle-resistant polyester blend. The fabric is also matte to prevent unwanted reflections and machine washable for hassle-free cleaning. It mounts to background stands using either pole pockets and walls using built-in grommets. Simply attach it to a stand, stretch it tautly, then you have a large sweeping seamless background that’s ideal for large groups or families. And one that’s ready to withstand years of use. As a bonus, Westcott includes the web-based CloudKo Lite software with 25 free green screen extractions. Thus, you can remove the green screen, any shadows, and correct light spills with little hassle. Other bonuses include a drawstring bag for storage.
Overall, Westcott’s 132 Green Screen Background is straightforward, sure. But, it’s a long-standing opton in the industry that’s remained a go-to choice for nearly two decades. And it makes sense, given its outstanding durability and size.
Valera’s Explorer 90 is a collapsible green screen with a wider than average format. This green screen provides a 90 in diagonal wingspan with a 16:9 aspect ratio, making it ideal for filming videos or seamless Zoom meetings. But, it’s also wide enough to accommodate two people simultaneously. But, you can rotate the screen 90º to portrait orientation, making it doubly capable for full-length use, too. It also offers clever 2-in-1 functionality. You can either attach it to the included tripod on its support arms or mount it to the wall. Otherwise, it uses their proprietary ChromaBoost fabric, designed explicitly for chromakey, wrinkle resistance, and even lighting without ironing, despite low light. Yet, the entire package only weighs 8.5 lbs with a quick setup time of 2 minutes. As such, it’s among the lightest in its particular class and ideal for traveling. Other bonuses include a one-year warranty, a carrying case, and a wall-mount attachment.
Overall, Valera’s Explorer 90 is an excellent portable green screen that’s ideal for gamers, video conferencing, and those recording videos. And it’s a solid option if you want something capable, light, and easy to set up on the go.
Westcott X-Drop Backdrop Kit
Westcott’s X-Drop Green Screen kit brings ease of use at a reasonable price. This oversized 5×7 ft background mounts to a telescopic aluminum frame, locking in place using built-in grommets and stretching it to prevent wrinkles and creating a taut seamless appearance. The structure also takes up a limited footprint of 20 inches, perfect for working in tight quarters. At the same time, the fabric itself is a thick unique matte-polyester blend, which is reflection-free, wrinkle-resistant, and machine washable. Yet, the entire package weighs just under 5 lbs, making it among the lightest kits in the segment. So it’s ideal for traveling where quick setups and portability are musts. Plus, Westcott even includes 25 free green screen extractions with the web-based CloudKo Lite software. And with the software, you can remove the green screen, correct light spills, or remove shadows with little hassle. Other bonuses include a one-year warranty and a carrying case.
Overall, Westcott’s X-Drop Green Screen kit is a long-standing option that remains among the most convenient green screens around. And it makes sense given its ease of use and seamless operation.
Fotodiox Collapsible 2-in-1 Background
Fotodiox’s collapsible background kit is ideal for portability. This oversized 5×7 ft background uses a collapsible design with a reinforced spring frame to help maintain its shape and prevent wrinkles. And it both collapses and unfolds to pop up into perfect shape whenever needed. But, at 7ft tall, it’s well suited for filming a single person full body. Even so, with a folded size of 30×30 in and weighing less than a pound, it’s ultra-portable and easy to tuck away. But, crucially, it offers a two-toned wrinkle-resistant cotton fabric, one side green the other side blue. And this combination gives you more versatility to chroma-key based on the scene, lighting conditions, or the subject’s clothing. This kit also includes a support stand made from aluminum with a clamp to keep the screen securely mounted in both portrait or landscape orientations. Once attached, you can adjust the screen anywhere between 6-8 ft in height. But, together, the setup process takes less than two minutes, great for impromptu recordings. Other bonuses include a two-year warranty and a carrying case.
Overall, Fotodiox’s collapsible background kit is an excellent option for those wanting large size but have minimal space. And it’s a great option for quick on-the-fly use, especially on location.
Elgato Collapsible Green Screen
Elgato Gaming is a long-standing name synonymous with quality gaming and live streaming products. And their first foray into the segment, the Collapsible Green Screen, is quite the release and an excellent all-rounder. This collapsible 58×70 in green screen panel uses a durable wrinkle-resistant polyester blend that’s easy to clean with a damp cloth. And it’s attached to a pop-up pneumatic x-frame, which automatically locks the screen into place to maintain its shape. Thus, the setup for the kit is near-instantaneous. Simply lift the handle to pull up the screen to any suitable height, and it’ll lock into place. Then it unlocks and retracts back into a hard aluminum case, measuring only 65x4x5 in (WHD), making it concealable, always dust-free, and easy to store out of sight. And with such a tiny footprint, it’s easy to transport at a moment’s notice, especially given its built-in handle. Yet, it’s also large enough to accommodate a single person at three-quarter length comfortably. Other bonuses include a one-year warranty.
Overall, Elgato’s Collapsible Green Screen is ideal for tight workspaces. And it’s an excellent solution for chroma keying that’ll likely suit the needs of most creators with ease.
What to look for in Green Screens
The background should have a uniform color that’s entirely free of dark or light patches. If it’s not, it will likely cast shadows caused by varying brightness levels, making post-processing more difficult. But do know, the specific shade doesn’t matter since it’s unlikely the foreground color will match it. But, generally, bright green and dark blue tend to be the easiest to remove and the most popular.
You can find green screens in various materials, like polyester, muslin, cotton, nylon, and paper. And the material you choose will drastically affect how simple the post-processing will be, as each varies in how they wrinkle and reflect light. So, ultimately, the best material is one that’s wrinkle-resistant and non-reflective. Thus you’ll want to opt for either nylon, high thread cotton, or polyester. Avoid the others, as they’re generally more prone to wrinkles if not set up correctly.
The size of the green screen must be just large enough to surround the subject. Anything more can potentially make it unwieldy and bulky. But, the sizes do vary quite dramatically. And you can find options from 3×5 ft to 10×20 ft. So check beforehand to ensure the dimensions work for your medium and project needs.
Ease of Use
The green screen must be easy to set up and not overly complicated. And if it’s too difficult and time-consuming to set up, it’s likely not going to make a good traveling companion. So consider watching some tutorial videos on the product beforehand to confirm the setup process makes sense to you, especially if you plan on shooting in multiple locations.
Also, double-check to make sure the green screen is washable in some way, be it by hand or machine. As with frequent use, they’ll become dusty or dirty.
Last Updated on September 22, 2023 by Photography PX Published June 4, 2021