What’s the difference between a green screen and a blue screen?

When it comes to green screens and blue screens, both backgrounds are used for the same purpose: to use Chroma Key technology in order to place subjects in front of a projected background. During this process, editors are able to film people and objects in front of a static background, remove the color of the background from the images, and replace it with a new background. The colors green and blue are not present in human skin tones which makes them ideal for the Chroma Key process as opposed to the color red. Generally, the only difference between using a green screen as a background and using a blue screen as a background is the color itself—but more filmmakers are moving from blue to green for other specific reasons:

  • The use of digital cameras. When using a digital camera instead of film, you obtain better results from a green screen shoot because of the cleanness and luminescence of green over blue. Using green instead of blue results in less noise when keying out the footage.
  • Color spill. While the green or blue screens will be removed during editing, some color will “spill” onto the subjects, especially around the edges. This can create a thin line around the person, or make areas like their hairline look odd. Depending on your shoot, color spill can be better or worse depending on the color of your screen. Blue screen tends to have less spill than green, and also happens to be easier to color correct than green. 
  • The prevalence of blue. Subjects and objects are more likely to be blue than green. For example, people are more likely to be wearing blue clothing than green clothing. You get better results when the background color is not heavily present in the subject you are filming (which is why red screens and yellow screens don’t exist).
  • Lighting. Blue screens have a lower luminosity as compared to green screens. This means they are better suited to low-light shoots, but also makes them trickier to light. If you want the blue screen to key properly with the least amount of adjustments necessary you'll need to set your camera to a higher f-stop than you would were you using a green screen. This also means it is more difficult to shoot a large scene on blue screen as opposed to green. 

Interested in reading about how our green screen has changed businesses and improved our partners' conversion rates? Click here to go to our Case Studies page. Or if you want to see more examples of our work and how we use our green screen, click here to go to our portfolio page.

Here are some examples of how we use our green screen to produce stunning videos for our clients

Do you need a green screen studio for your next video production in the Virginia or Washington DC area? Call Gearshift today to learn more about our services: 703-962-1270. 

Jim Folliard
Founder, Director, Cinematographer, Photographer & Editor