Cheap Portable Chroma Key Screen (Bluescreen)




This Instructable is about how to build your own cheap portable chroma key screen (bluesceen).

More information about this project here.

Koos, The Make Class
Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam

Step 1: Parts, Tools & Links

# Blue or green material, 2 x 2 meter - 5~10 Euro
Use a good blue or green color! More information about this on Wikipedia. I bought my material on the market. Think about light reflection and stretching!

# 4x tubes 2 meters - 15~20 Euro
I used 4 centimeter waterconducts.

# 4x bended (corner) tubes - 5 Euro
Also used for waterconducts.

# Hard PVC glue - 6 Euro
For the waterconducts.

# Scissors
# Sewing-machine
# Needles

Please read before you start a lot of information about chroma keying.

# Wikipedia

Step 2: Building the Frame

Building the frame is easy. Make a square from the tubes and mount them with each other with the corner piece.

To make it stronger you can use glue to mount the corner piece. Mount on two tubes to each side the corner piece with glue. Not on all tubes, because it still got te be portable :)

Step 3: Preparing the Material

This step is about preparing the material for the sewing-machine. To get a good and strong result you'll have to use a sewing-machine. If you have never done this before, look around if some will help you with this.

Some tips:
- Find someone with some experience to help you.
- Use needles!
- It will help if you stick some parts rough together, remove this after you sticked it again with a sewing machine.

My material was 8 x 1.5 meter. So I had to cut it in pieces to get 2 x 2 meter. Part one has size 2 x 1.5 meter and part two 2 x 0.55 meter (5 centimeter extra for the seam). Use needles to make it one part.

Now we have to create a border at each side to make it strong. Fold 10 cm at each side to a 3~4 centimeter border. Use again needles. At the end the size of the whole screen will be 1.80 x 1.80 meter.

From the rest material you can make strokes. With these strokes you will be able to attach the screen to the frame. I cut it in 64 strokes, each 10 x 25 centimeter. This sounds maybe a lot, but I got on each side 8 attach strokes for optimal span. I fold each stroke to a 3 x 25 centimeter stroke. Don't attach these already to the main materiaal (screen).

The preparing is done!

Step 4: Stick It Together With the Sewing-machine

Now you can stick all your prepared material together with the sewing-machine. If you have never done this before (like me) ask someone to help you. Make some tests on old material before you start.

First, Stick the main (screen) material together. Second, stick the folds on the border. The main (screen) material is done now. You can remove all needles and rough sticks.

It's now time to stitch the strokes. Warning: This is a lot of work! :)

If you are done with both you can attach the strokes to the main (screen) material. To do this:
- Place every time two strokes on each other, and then stick it with needles on the back of the main (screen) material.
- If you placed all strokes on the right place with needles, you can stick it with a sewing-machine.

The sewing-machine work is done, attach it to the frame!

Step 5: End Result

If you have attached the screen material to the frame you will have something like the pictures below.

Good luck with chroma keying! ;)

My teacher Theodore Watson wrote quick in openFrameworks a live keying tool for the presentation, you can see this at the last picture below.



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    67 Discussions


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     I have final cut express 4 and it has chroma key capabilities.

    You can play with camtwist for free.  It is pretty poor at chroma keying, but it's free and you can play around.  (You can also use it with skype)


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     thx I just found out that iMovie9 has a chroma key feature (well hidden in the options :-)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    If you want a more professional piece of software, you could use apple motion, its only 50 us dollars.

    Aburame Shinowindrago

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Be a pirate. Get Adobe Bridge, Photoshop, After Effects, whatever. Just one Adobe After Effects CS4 license is $1000, so if you don't have money to blow, there you go, Joe.


    If you don't mind another suggestion, why not do away with all of the strokes completely? The pictures shows that a hem was made all around the material. Why not just make the hem larger enough to accept the size of the plastic pipe (PVC) to slide easily inside of the hem? Then each one of the four PVC pipes could then be modified into two separate pieces, coupled together with a coupler, making transporting easier and setup time quicker. No need to tying all of those strokes or strings.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    That's not really relevant. I use a Mac, but I have and use Adobe After Effects for the actual keying, great instructable btw.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructable! ....ooooor: 1. take a second hand laptop 2. Install any MS system 3. Delete few system files (with Vista you don't even need this step) 4. Enjoy your blue screen ;)

    8 replies