If you search the web, you will find green screen paint for sale. It usually costs from $50-$75 per gallon. What makes this paint so magical that it is worth $75 per gallon?
Answer: There is nothing special about chroma key paint. It’s just green latex paint………really it is. There is nothing special about it. Its generally a flat latex.
The only thing special about green screen paint is that it is mixed with a green hue that is a very true green. Recently, I went to the home depot and got swatch samples for every green shade in Behr and Glidden paint. I then taped these to my green screen and took some photos. I brought the images into Photoshop and used the color picker to find the best match.
The winner was Behr “Gamma Sector Green” from the Disney paint collection. It matched the green screen almost perfectly. I used this paint to make a green platform for a photo shoot of my boy’s football team. It worked perfectly.
For green screen, you need a low sheen paint. You’ll want either a flat or flat enamel. Flat enamel has a slightly higher sheen then flat but it can be cleaned easier. If you are having kids stand on a platform with dirty cleats then the flat enamel makes more sense.
Also, if you are shooting with 2 different green sources such as a painted platform and a muslin backdrop, its best to match the color as close as possible between the two. Although not absolutely needed, this does help make extraction quicker and easier.
If you try this painted platform with a muslin green screen technique, try to keep the platform and green screen screen within 5 degrees of each other for the hue value. You may need to experiment with different paint samples to get a color that matches your particular green screen.
If you want to use only paint (painted wall for example) and don’t plan to mix it with another green cloth backdrop then Gamma Sector Green will work perfectly.
Note: This article was originally posted 6 years ago on March 7, 2010. Home Depot no longer “officially” has the Gamma Sector Green paint color.
However, they do have old color mixes in their computer system. If you tell them its a discontinued color and give them the name then they can look up the color mix and make it. I had some Gamma Sector Green paint mixed in late 2015. They pulled the color mix right up in their computer without any issues.
Below is a sample image using a painted green platform with the Gamma Sector Green paint and a muslin green screen. Although the subject looks to be only a foot or 2 away from the screen, he is actually about 5-6 feet away. Make sure to have at least 5-6 feet of spacing between the subject and the screen. You can download this image to test here. The extracted image is a “one click” extraction using EZ Green Screen. The default settings were used and nothing was tweaked afterwards.
Here are a few tips when using green screen paint.
- When painting a wall or floor, one thing to keep in mind is green reflected light from the floor and screen. Too much exposed green will reflect more light and cause more green spill. If you go with a large floor and wall then you may want to have some neutral colored sheets to cover the areas that are not needed when doing single shot. Its best to have the green background and floor only as big as needed to extract the image to avoid the excessive spill.
- For a green screen floor, be prepared to add a new coat now and then when it gets dirty. While it can be cleaned to a certain degree, it's often easier to just add 1 fresh coat of paint on the top. one coat is all you usually need for a touch up coating.
- If you decide to build a framed platform then fill in any screw holes on the top of the plywood and sand smooth before painting. If you have and deep holes then they may have small dark shadowed spots that don't get extracted. You want a fairly smooth surface. It doesn't need to be perfect. Just try to avoid leaving counter sunken holes on the surface of the platform.