Green screening a piano??

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: Sep 3 2010

I am a high school student and I need to green screen a pianola. I am after some advice on how to do it affectively.

What I would like to do is to place the pianola in a forest and have it playing.

The shot I would like to achieve is this:

The camera is low and it looks like someone is running through the forest
The camera comes to a stop at the edge of a clearing and pans around to see a pianola playing

The shot then zooms out showing the pianola in full in the forest and then continues to zoom out until the edges of a doorway can be seen. The door swings shut.

Essentially, it is meant to look like the forest with the piano is in a room.

It realise that this requires two separate green screenings (the pianola, and the doorway)
However, I don't know how the green screen the pianola.

I was going to set it up like this:
Have the 3m X 3m green screen on the wall and the piano about 2 - 3metres in front of it.
As I cant have the green screen under the piano and light it effectively, and also, someone needs pedal, i was going to pan to piano on an angle and only show the top half.
I want to have two spotlights from each side of the green screen and one light on the piano

Now, I don't know how to cut to the next zooming out shot of the piano. There will be no one pedalling in this shot, but I cant show the bottom of the piano as there is no green screen material under it. I really would like a zooming out shot of just a random piano in the middle of the forest.

I have filmed a section of forest from locked cameras from about four angles on an overcast day.

For the doorway shot I was just going to hang the material inside the room, giving enough room for the door to close

I am using Final Cut Express, but don't really know how to green screen yet. I also think I will need to garbage matte as well? What does this mean?

I am doing this right? I don't know what else to do, I appreciate any help you can give me!

Gavin Gration
Joined: Jul 29 1999

Hi Pianoman66 and welcome to the forums.

I don't know much about Green Screen work with Final Cut Express either but Tim does.!

Your shot is ambitious and (by the sounds of it) quite important to you.

In general the best way to learn about "new stuff" is to experiment. You may find real limits in "Express/Light" versions of software - I can't be sure in the case of FCP-v-FC Express for keying options.

A Garbage Matte is well described here:-


Good luck.

Joined: Oct 19 2000

Almost certainly what you want to achieve cannot be done in FC Express.
You really need adobe after effects on this to start with.

The green screen will need to be lit perfectly otherwise you will not be able to key it properly.
also as you are introducing movement into the shots the background forest shots will need to have exactly the same movement on them, it will not work with them being statics otherwise it will look like the focus object will be sliding around the screen, you also need to think of shadows, not showing the pedals could make it look a bit weird on some shots.

It might be easier to get the instrument into the forest and do it live even on the edge of a forest would work as you can choose effective camera angles to keep out of shot what you don't want someone to see. compositing (as it should be called) is not really a good substitute for doing something live and should be used only if what you want is impossible to achieve without it.

the pull back to reveal a door is easier to accomplish.
you could do this by using a green screen to get rid of excess material and just leave the door
this can then be keyed directly on top of the instrument/forest combo.
alternatively with the door you could use a garbage matte

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