A couple of months ago, I was watching some sort of behind-the-scenes show that showed scenes from a movie (if I’m not mistaken, it was Night at the Museum) being filmed in front of a green screen, and it really amazed me. Not the concept of the green screen itself, but rather the fact that actors are able to pull off something totally believable when they’re interacting with nothing but thin air (shout out to Ben Stiller here: well played!). Same thing with a few Pirates of the Caribbean snippets I saw a while back - in my imagination, it would be pretty darn tough to effectively swagger and swashbuckle without genuine rolling seas and immortal skeletal pirates to spur one on (a tip of the feathered cap to you as well, Mr. Depp). How do they do it?
Raw talent, I guess, and practice – lots of it. But get this: I just found out that acting isn’t the only challenge when shooting a major motion picture in front of a green screen. It turns out that making all of those lighting, power and boom mic cables disappear into the background is something of an issue as well. What’s a movie stagehand to do? Would you believe that a little cable sleeving can solve the problem?
There’s a very cool product by the name of Studio Key sleeve on the market, and for all its simplicity, I think it’s downright brilliant. It’s pretty much just fabric tubing that fastens around cables, but here’s the interesting part: it’s reversible, with ”green-screen green” on one side, and “blue-screen blue” on the other. So if special-effects filmmaking is your game, Studio Key just might be your new best friend: it’s super easy to apply, incredibly durable (it actually protects wiring in addition to covering it), and has the ability to multitask between green and blue screens built right in. Give it a try – your editors and special effects crew will love you for it.