Halloween Movie Outfits Recap: Green Screen Edition

I was just going to find one Halloween costume to wear with pieces I already owned, but it turned into one outfit for every day of October 2021. Initially, I was just going to do this for fun, for myself, but my friend suggested I use my blogging skills to put my results on the internet. This post is going to be a brief overview of how I created these photos.

In my bedroom, I had set up a green screen and a ring light. I had used this previously for my Rainbow/Multicolor photo shoot for the #ColorWeek2021 Instagram event. I learned the hard way that you want your green screen to be as flat and tight as possible. The more wrinkles that are in it, the more spots you have to edit. After steaming my green screen, I also used clamps to pull the sides tighter. I had to lift the bottom off the floor and pin it up at night, every night, otherwise, one of my cats kept running full speed into it to use it like a slip ‘n’ slide. Between the moving it up and down, steaming, and clamps, I still was never able to get it as smooth as I wanted.

“I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.”

On top of the ring light, I also added two photography lights (that I had already from my light box photography stuff) to try to cut down on the shadows. Shadows also have to be edited out when removing a green screen and adding a different background. The ring light has a holder for a cell phone, and at the beginning, I had my 10 second timer set to run back and forth between hitting the camera button on the ring light stand and getting into a pose on the green screen. That was a total pain, and when I was holding legit weapons, I asked my partner to take photos of me instead.

You can see my brother’s red remote in my hand near the JUMBO pumpkin.

My brother found out that’s what my process was and let me borrow his bluetooth remote shutter for his cell. (I ended up buying my own.) The only problem with this was that if I was in a pose where I had to hold something or use both my hands, it was sometimes not possible to hit the shutter button on the remote without the remote ending up in the image. In these instances, I still had to ask my partner for assistance.

My partner coming in with the assist. #MVP

Once I had the photographs taken, I would move them from my cell phone to my computer. On my computer, I have a program called GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) that is basically a free version of Adobe Photoshop. I first taught myself how to use layers and Fuzzy Select via this tutorial. Then, I learned about the Select by Color tool, but because my hair is teal/blue that didn’t always work well. I often had to use the manual Free Select tool to remove sections the other Select tools didn’t capture to remove.

The edges around this image of me as Annie Wilkes show a sloppy attempt to remove the green screen and replace it with a brown background. You can see the green very clearly near my blue hair too.

Changing the background to a solid color for the comparisons was done with the Bucket Fill tool. The hardest part of editing the backgrounds was finding background images of the specific scenes I wanted to use that were a large enough size. I had to learn how to use the Scale tool to move the images of myself into the right spot in the frame, but often I gave up on trying to make them the appropriate size when it was “close enough”. Sometimes, having to do a photo shoot, photo edits, write a blog post, and get it polished enough to publish all in one day was too much work to get all nitpicky in the weeds about small details like green screen haloing. Plus, it gives it a punk diy vibe that I kinda like.

All of the comparison collages were made with an app on my cell phone called Collage Maker. I was limited a little with the backgrounds and available fonts in the free options, but I had still enough variety to use different (yet relevant) ones throughout the entire month. I love this app and have used it for years.

An image of me dressed as Nancy Downs from the Craft edited in GIMP to show me on the beach from the movie.

For only starting to learn how to manually edit photos around a month ago, I think it is going fairly well! I’ve taught myself a bunch of things just through trial and error. Anytime I get stuck, there’s always a tutorial somewhere out on the internet to help. If you have any questions on the process of using a green screen and editing a background, please let me know, and I will do what I can to help. If you’ve got tips, I’d love to learn more too! 🙂

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