How Green Is Your Green Screen? Comparing DIY Keying Paint vs. Rosco Chroma Key Paint

One of our customers recently pointed out a great video about painting a green screen. In the video Paul Shillito, founder of Video Alchemy, did a comparison of what he calls "DIY keying paint," which was mixed to match chroma key green at his local paint store vs. Rosco’s Chroma Key Green paint. He talks about the physical/spectral differences, which one is the best to use – and why. Watch the video and see for yourself!

In the video, Paul explains how DIY chroma key green paint from the paint store is essentially a white base that has blue and yellow pigments (along with a few other tints) mixed together to create the green. That mixture is then shaken up and voila! - you’ve got a can of what seemingly appears to be chroma key green paint. Rosco’s Chroma Key Green Video Paint, Paul points out correctly, is manufactured using a single green pigment to create the pure green you need to create an effective green screen background. This technique provides a higher color-saturation, which means there is more green color reflecting back off the screen and you don’t need as much light to get the same amount of green spectral-energy back into your camera.

Paul Shillito holding a can of Rosco's Chroma Key Green Video paint.

Paul also explains that “it’s not just the colour of the green that is important – to get the best performance out of your green screen you need the most evenly lit chroma key background that you can get. The type of paint you use can make quite a difference if you want to get the best results.” He points out that the Rosco Chroma Key Green paint is formulated to have “a matter, flatter finish.” This creates less hot spotting then the regular DIY paint, which helps save time in achieving a flat, even wash of light on the green screen.

Screenshot of the video comparing DIY store paint vs Rosco Chroma Key paint.

Once he was done explaining the physical differences between the paints, Paul displayed a shot he captured of the two backgrounds side-by-side in Adobe After Effects & Premiere. Using this setup, he was able to demonstrate - in a real-world, technical manner - which paint is more effective and why.

Graphic comparing DIY store paint vs Rosco Chroma Key paint.

One major difference Paul noted was that the Rosco Chroma Key Green paint has “a more uniform brightness,” which will give you better, even-lighting for your green screen. In After Effects, Paul adjusted several of the levels and curves to show the variation between the two paints, and you can see how uneven the DIY paint is compared to Rosco’s Chroma Key green paint.

A can of Rosco's Chroma Key green video paint.

In conclusion, Paul explains that DIY paint is not necessarily the best option to go with. A good DIY chroma key green paint may seem acceptable to the naked eye, but once you begin working with it in post – you will find it lacking. The pure green color and the ultra-flat finish of Rosco’s Chroma Key Green will produce a better green and a more evenly lit green screen for you to work with in post.

Visit the Rosco Chroma Key Paint web page for more information on this popular keying paint solution, and remember that it is now available in convenient and affordable quarts! Also be sure to visit Paul’s YouTube channel for more practical advice on setting up home studios, as well as fantastic tips and techniques for shooting great videos!




Chanda Goldsworthy August 04, 2016 Questions?

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