Portable Green Screen

About: Dad, maker, dreamer, hacker, painter.

I will be attending the Star Wars Celebration 2012 in Orlando Florida in August to support a friend.
His booth, the Jawa's Junkyard, was a huge success last year, where he modeled droids with kids.He was invited back this year, and plans on having the kids model Jawas and GNK('Gonk') droids.

He was kind enough to invite me along as his assistant, and I am super jazzed

I wanted to add a little of my own flair to his effort and help him make it even better than last years.
One of my ideas is to try and make an automated green screen booth where the kids can pose their droids and change the background before uploading their picture to a as of yet uncreated website.

This instructable only outlines how to make a portable green Screen, if/when I get automation fully realized, I will be sure to write up how I did it.

Green Screens are an interesting technology, used for all kinds of interesting effects. The first Star Wars Movie was done with green screen techniques, however computers make it a whole lot easier today. Pretty a propos considering I will be using it to take pictures of Jawas and Gonk Droids that children at the convention will put together. We will be swapping in different settings on Tatooine as backgrounds.

Step 1: Hunter/ Gatherer

To make a little portable green screen setup like this you will need
  • A suitable case
  • Some bright green cardstock
  • some scraps of wood and plastic
  • a bolt suitable for mounting a camera
  • some screws
  • a drill
  • optional(some model paints)

Step 2: The Screen

The screen is simply a piece of bright green card stock.

Cut a sheet of bright green coloured card stock to fit snugly into the back(or top) of your suitcase when open. I bought mine at my local Dollar Store, the green works well for most applications, but if we have a lot of green in the model we are trying to shoot, it is better to go with a different background colour. I plan on having a bright blue and bright pink backdrop as well.

Step 3: Build the Stage

Cut a piece of plywood or plexiglass to serve as the stage.

Use the lid as a support for one side and build a set of legs that will match the height and hold the stage level.

To finish the stage, I mixed a little bit of tile grout applied that to my stage and then painted it with some hobby paints. I was going for a sandy look as my screen will be used to take shots of model Jawas and GNK ('Gonk') droids.

The stage is a modular piece and a different one could be swapped in for a different application. It will largely depend on your needs.

Step 4: Build a Camera Mount

You could probably use a regular mini tripod for this and save yourself some time, I did not have one on hand, and wanted one that could be a part of the kit and store in the case.
I just used two scrapes of plastic glued together to achieve a good height with a bolt to mount the camera.

Step 5: Start Taking Pictures

This part is easy. Just pose and click. While it is not the goal of this project, it would be easy to use this setup to make stop motion animation on the fly.

I have included a couple of quick random shots, but you get the idea.

Step 6: Change the Background

Use your favourite graphic utility to swap out the green and replace it with something prettier.
It is usually a matter of using a magic wand selection tool to select and remove the green, and creating a new layer underneath which contains the new backdrop.

I have included a couple of really quick examples to get your creative juices flowing.

I think this will work out great for our needs, I also made a pocket sized version

Share and enjoy your new Portable Green Screen



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    6 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Neat little system to carry around :-) I wanted something bigger to use indoors ( and did you know you can also use a bright blue colour ? ) So I bought two king sized white sheets, took them to my local dry cleaners ( they also dye to order ) 3 days later I was using it :-) works perfectly !


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Love the suitcase for portability. Making one of these for the kids at the family reunion...

    many thanks!

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Be sure to check out ImageMagick when you start the automation. It's good for batch processing images programmatically,.

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I think they do it for most languages but I've only used it for Perl. It can do some fairly powerful stuff.