Dennis Hays has a fun article on the three phases of camera ownership. Take a look!
Each year we find that some product inexplicably develops a huge fan base. What seems to be just another item on the website suddenly sparks the imagination of dozens of photographers. It’s unpredictable and when it happens we hope we can find enough supplies to keep everyone happy. One year it was those USB memory drives (Geek Sticks we call ‘em). Another year it was T-Shirt image transfer kits. This year it was the Westcott Green Screen Photography kit.
The kit as you can see is basically a box with a large green sheet, a couple of hangers and a CD-ROM. Don’t let the looks fool you, there’s a lot of fun and creativity inside the box.
How about a quick review for those not familiar with green screen photography? The idea is that a subject is photographed in front of the green screen. The screen’s deep green color makes it easier for the software to find it and eliminate it thereby cutting the subject out of the photo ready to paste them onto any background you desire. Most movies that use live actors in highly dangerous situations film the actors safely in front of a huge green screen and then lift them out and place them in the dangerous background which is shot separately.
Lots of sci-fi shows use this trick – from 1967’s Star Trek TV show to 2010’s Avatar. Almost every weather man stands in front of a green screen and then he or she is digitally cut out and projected onto the animated map.
Now with the Westcott Green Screen Photography kit anyone can use this technique for fun and creativity.
The main ingredient is the CD-ROM which contains the PhotoKey 2 Lite software package and 100 stock backgrounds. The software deletes the green background from the image and then allows the user to select and position a new decorative background in place. It really is very easy, minimal computer skills are required. Check out the video on Westcott’s website.
There are endless possibilities. Make greeting cards, scrapbook pages, posters for walls. Shoot a whole series and have the pictures made into photo playing cards. Or simply shoot your Paris vacation pictures without ever leaving home! Here’s a thought, scan in some really old photos and add yourself to the picture.
Beyond the backgrounds included in the kit, it’s possible to create and use your own. One customer uses the system at school dances. In advance, she creates several backgrounds based on the theme of the dance. Then she shoots the kids in front of the Green Screen and lets them pick the background they want to be on. Two minutes later she hands them a 4X6 print made with her Canon Selphy CP780 along with instructions on how to order more copies.
Another green screen user shoots products for a catalog. He uses the green screen kit so that he can add exactly the right background color required by the catalog company.