Video green screen sucks
Yes, I said it: green screen for online marketing always looks terrible, no matter how hard you work to make it look right. Online video marketers seem to love using it, but here are five reasons why you shouldn’t.
1. It pulls your viewer out of your story. You have less than a second to build a bond of trust with your viewers. In that one second, the viewer unconsciously decides if they trust you enough to watch your story and believe it. No matter how hard you light and set up a green screen, something about it always looks unnatural. Fake. Untrustworthy. Green screen makes you look cheesy even if you are sincere. You don’t want to lose your audience in that first few moments.
2. You’re not Hollywood. Yes, Hollywood movies and TV shows make wonderful use of green screen:
But remember, the whole point to Hollywood is to create make-believe, to take you out of every day life and into a story that you know, consciously, isn’t real. It’s the exact opposite of the world you want to build with your video marketing story.
3. It’s a pain to set up and light correctly. Yes, there are wonderful videos and training courses out there that show you how to properly work with a green screen, and they’re all time-consuming and finicky. Green screen was awesome 40 years ago to put a weatherperson in front of all those maps, but TV studios are set up for that sort of complexity. Do you really have the floor space, ceiling height, budget, and time to set up the screen and all the lights and leave them there?
4. You won’t build a permanent set. There’s so much crap that goes into creating a green screen filming environment that you’re not likely to leave it set up, and without a permanent place to film your blogs and marketing stories, you far less likely to stick to a shooting schedule. Releasing videos on a regular schedule is crucial to online video marketing. A permanent set will help you avoid the chore of setting up everything over and over.
5. It’s a ton of work in post-production. Again, to keep up with your regular filming schedule, you want to make the editing of your videos as painless as possible. None of the popular editing platforms has a painless chroma key editing process, and I’ve used them all. Premiere and Final Cut, the two most popular editing systems, are horrible with green screen. Avid Media Composer is great, but it's an expensive, high-end pro systems. And no matter what the software, you still have to spend way too many hours on tiny adjustments to your key and background.
Keep it simple
Some of the best video blogs out there use simple backgrounds. Marie Forleo uses a clean, simple set...
Kris Karr uses her living room...
While best-selling YA novelist John Green uses his home office.
If you'd rather use a backdrop, head over to Amazon and search for "Photo Backdrops" and you can get one for $20—$60. Buy two shop lights with daylight fluorescent lamps from Home Depot, and for about $100 you can create a permanent set with a basic background and lighting and be ready to film your video blogs on a regular schedule.
If you want to connect emotionally with your viewer in those crucial first seconds, and keep them engaged in your story, the last thing you want is a surreal presentation that looks like an amateur weather report. Dump the green screen, and focus on your story instead.