|Virtual Backgrounds||Green Screen|
|Subject can wear any color clothing they wish||YES||NO|
|Props can EASILY be used in the foreground and background to accentuate the photograph||YES||NO|
|Background is captured simultaneously with the subject||YES||NO|
|Photographer can see the background LIVE in the camera’s viewfinder as the picture is composed||YES||NO|
|Background can be INSTANTLY manipulated in terms of focus, size perspective, color and sharpness||YES||NO|
|Customer can see the results INSTANTLY||YES||NO|
|Customer always sees proofs with background in place||YES||NO|
|Bounce from background can effect subject color-Green Screen failure||NO||YES|
|Needs additional lighting to properly light the background||NO||YES|
|Requires a significant time investment after the sitting for background insertion||NO||YES|
|Background is AUTOMATICALLY on every proof and does NOT have to be pasted in later||YES||NO|
|Requires computers and software||NO||YES|
GREEN SCREEN VS VIRTUAL BACKGROUNDS
Which Is The Better Choice?
Green Screen was created for television and Hollywood. Recently it has been used as a method to paste in backgrounds in portrait photography after the image is captured. Green screen works best for “fun photography” such as when an event photographer at a rodeo sets up a concession where he photographs rodeo attendees and places them on a bucking horse that does not exist. This cannot be done with optical virtual backgrounds. It is also being used in low level portraiture such as school photos but the subject typically has to be positioned many feet in front of the green background to avoid shadows. In many cases, the lab inserts the background long after the image is taken which means green screen is limited to the most simple situations. Most labs charge for each image to insert a background and there is often a yearly licensing charge. When the lab inserts the background, the photographer has zero control over how it is done. Common problems include a “cut out” look and if the subject is wearing a color close to the background color, that part will be turned into background which has to be reworked with Photoshop or the image has to be reshot.
Green screen software can cost less than $100 but the real cost must include the photographer’s time and image quality. Because green screen is so cheap, it is being widely used by amateurs and some professionals to paste in backgrounds. There are a wide variety of negative factors to consider when contemplating using green screen on professional level portraits besides your time.
Optical Virtual Backgrounds is a very different and higher level method for bringing background variety into a photograph. Unlike with green screen where the background is added later, the photographer sees the background live, as it will be before they capture the image. The photographer has complete live control of the background including brightness, focus, position, proportional size, and even the color. Both the photographer and the subject can see the results immediately. The process is NOT affected by the colors the subject may wear or the colors in the props. When using virtual backgrounds it is like “being on site” but with the many advantages of working in the studio where the photographer is in total control. Virtual Backgrounds can be very portable and can be used in small spaces because the subject is positioned only 3 to 4 feet from the screen.
Virtual Backgrounds is primarily used for mid-level and higher end portrait work because of the high quality results it can deliver.
The Virtual Backgrounds company holds a patent on using projected color backgrounds for the chromakey (green screen) process. The projected method of creating the chromakey background solves several of the major problems that come with using the green screen process. It enables the photographer to choose the most appropriate method, green screen or virtual backgrounds as needed.