50 Green Screen Photos Show Us How Hollywood Really Works
Viewers have high expectations when they go to see a movie; as a result, motion capture technology and CGI have become a staple in most blockbuster movies and big-budget television shows. They have come a long way in the special effects department with CGI and green screens.
What we see on the screen often looks nothing like it did while filming the scenes. Virtually anything is possible in films today.
Marvel has evolved over the years with special effects. An example is The Battle of New York, which was filmed against a massive backdrop. The special effects team used roughly twelve hundred tracking shots of NYC to create a panoramic view.
Another example is how they created the Hulk. During filming, Mark Ruffalo had to wear a giant marshmallow-like suit to create the Hulk look. The photo shows how the actors looked while filming a running scene. They wore their suits and ran on treadmills surrounded by the green screen.
Game Of Thrones
Game of Thrones had to bring to life dragons and make them look as real as possible. In order to do that, they had to use CGI. When the dragons are on screen with Emilia Clarke, she is actually filming with a fluffy green pillow.
The pillow is marked with dots to show where the nostrils and eyes would be. They also filmed some locations inside a studio; for example, the wall scenes, which were filmed in front of the green screen.
Avatar is almost all CGI and had most of its actors geared up in motion capture suits for most of the filming. The actors wore suits and would do action scenes in front of the green screens.
Later, CGI and more graphics were placed to reach the final product. Avatar was especially unique because it featured a cast that was almost completely made up of motion capture performers.
Jurassic World is another film that was CGI-heavy. One of the most memorable scenes is where Chris Pratt is controlling three raptors inside the park. In order to bring the dinosaurs to life, they used both CGI and practical effects.
The raptors were actually puppeteers dressed in costumes to emulate a more real-life situation. The puppeteers were able to react naturally to Pratt's movements and were more realistic. Finally, the raptors were digitized to create a life-like dinosaur.
Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 also used a lot of CGI because Iron Man's suit is more fantasy than reality. The suit needed to be recreated digitally in post-production.
As a result, Robert Downey Jr. filmed the majority of his action scenes in a bulky motion capture suit with a helmet. He performed his action scenes in front of the green screen. Don Cheadle also wore a similar costume to film his scenes.
Guardians Of The Galaxy
The film Guardians of the Galaxy used the green screen and CGI to make the characters come to life. None of Rocket Raccoon's actions would be possible without the one-of-a-kind motion capture performance given by Sean Gunn.
He wore a suit and added a human-like quality to the character. However, the scenes showed Gunn in his suit being pet and were later turned into a raccoon.
Life Of Pi
Life of Pi had to bring a mythical animal to the big screen, so the tiger was recreated using CGI. The actor used a prop in order to make sure the scenes captured the right tone and emotion.
He used a blue plush stuffed figure in place of the tiger, and the scenes on the water were filmed in front of a green screen. They were very successful in pulling off the final product, and the film went on to be nominated for eleven Academy Awards.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
The film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest had one of the best motion-capture performances by Bill Nighy as Davy Jones. The team had a huge undertaking when bringing Davy Jones to life because he was "part octopus, part crab, and part man."
Bill Nighy was covered with motion capture facial dots to obtain his every movement while filming. The final result was amazing, and the team even won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
The Matrix had several scenes that needed to be filmed in front of a green screen. In the iconic scene, "bullet time," the effects team used 122 still cameras. They had to film slow-motion scenes.
In addition, the actors were suspended in harnesses behind a green screen to portray the midair battle scene. The film received an Oscar Award for Best Visual Effects.
In the film Gravity, the team had to get the full effect of Sandra Bullock floating through space. They used both practical set pieces and costumes, along with special effects. Bullock was often in a harness suspended on wires in front of a green screen.
Then, during post-production, all of the wires were taken out of the frames. Emmanuel Lubezki, a cinematographer, created a 'Light Box' in order to create a space-like effect for the film.
300: Rise Of An Empire
The special effects were enhanced to recreate Ancient Greece in the film 300: Rise of An Empire. Most of the scenes were filmed in front of a large green screen. The actors filmed the scenes in full costumes and had all of the props.
When the shooting was finished, the background was enhanced and placed along the green screen to create the realism that they needed. The actors had to use their imagination when filming.
Doctor Strange is known for making his entrance through his iconic portal. The filmmakers had to create the portal scene. Cumberbatch was placed on a green screen platform with an LED circle pathway to walk through.
Later, in post-production, the team bridged the two entrances to the different worlds. Cumberbatch had to play the part without giving any clues that he was just by a giant green scene.
Alice In Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland is well known for its very realistic setting and a lot of mythical creatures. Many of the actors had to wear bulky motion capture and green screen suits. Tweedledee and Tweedledum were mostly the product of a green screen, and they had to wear awkwardly shaped suits.
They also had to walk on stilts to make them much taller than Alice. They were followed by other green-colored characters in order to keep them upright but were later edited out of the film.
When you think of Space Jam, most think of Michael Jordan and the special effects. The animated basketball comedy was full of special effects and green screens.
Jordan filmed with actors who were covered in green screen suits in order for them to decide where to place the animated characters. It helped the director and animation team to know where they wanted the characters based on Jordan's movements.
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
In the film Rise of the Planet of Apes, the producers wanted to capture the true range of emotion and physical movement of apes. However, they didn't want to just put humans in costumes, so they used Weta Digital. Using special effects, engineers were able to develop life-like apes.
They used motion capture dots and full-body suits to read the actor's emotions and movements and then later were digitized into apes. The film won an Oscar nomination for special effects. The photo shows how they turned an actor into an ape.
The Avengers: Infinity War
Back to the Avengers: Infinity War film, the filmmakers needed to capture Thanos' eight-foot-tall purple body on screen. They used the same type of motion capture that was used in Rise of The Planet of the Apes.
While filming, Josh Brolin's face was covered with tiny dots in order to capture his every movement. He also wore a full-body suit and a backpack with a pole extension to give his fellow actors a sense of his height.
Twilight came with several challenges because they had to bring vampires and wolves to life. In order to make the wolf look realistic, producers took full 3D scans of the main actors and combined them with animation and real-life wolf movements.
When Kristen Stewart had to interact with Taylor Lautner as a wolf, Taylor dressed in a tight bodysuit and had to emulate the animal's actions.
Sometimes special effects and CGI can get in the way, and some thought they did in The Hobbit. The film takes place in a magical universe, and most of it is enhanced with CGI. They captured more than twenty-two special effects shots and were able to create breathtaking landscapes.
Energetic fire scenes and compelling imagery were created and brought to life with the help of CGI. Even though some viewers were critical of the special effects, it was successful and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.
Another film that used heavy special effects and CGI was Harry Potter. They created a magical universe because of CGI. Some of the major scenes that were created with special effects included the quidditch games.
When the scene was filmed, Daniel Radcliffe was just sitting on a broom in front of a green screen. Later, the screen transforms to show him floating in mid-air around a dark and dreary climate.
Beauty And The Beast
In the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, the beast had to be brought to life and look real. Dan Stevens played both the prince and the beast, and while playing the beast, he wore a bulky forty-pound motion-capture suit.
They had to capture the larger frame of the beast, so in the scene when Belle and the Beast are walking down the stairs holding hands, the actor is actually walking down with the large suit on.
Deadpool is an untraditional superhero film, and it also uses plenty of special effects and CGI. The biggest challenge the crew had was creating the character of Colossus. There were five different performers that helped to bring the silver giant to life.
It started with a motion capture performance done by a six-foot-nine-inch actor wearing platform shoes. They brought other performers in to capture Colossus' facial structure, dialog, and facial movement when speaking his lines.
Mad Max: Fury Road
The special effects team for the film Mad Max: Fury Road used many practical effects to create a post-apocalyptic world. However, they also relied on special effects for the finishing touches.
The shooting location in the Namibian desert helped to create the look needed for the effects to be impactful. They used a combination of real stunts, color grading, green screens, and compositing. They were successful, and the film won six Oscars.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was shot using motion capture technology and CGI. All four of the turtles are played by male actors, but the actors do not actually make an appearance on the big screen.
The actors wore full-body lycra suits that were covered in motion capture dots and sensors. They also wore a 'shell' on their back to get the full effect. It was all done with special effects and green screens.
Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Hunger Games: Catching Fire also took advantage of special effects and CGI. Jennifer Lawrence played the character of the young and beautiful Katniss Everdeen in the popular series. The clock-inspired games arena required a lot of green screen work and special effects to bring it to life on screen.
They had to portray Jabberjays, blood rain, and tsunamis in this film. Most of the scenes looked nothing like they did in the movie when they were being filmed.
The Chronicles Of Narnia
The Chronicles of Narnia was written and published in the 1950s by C.S. Lewis. He was a man way ahead of his time and actually a genius. They needed to do his books justice by producing a great film.
The main challenge in filming the world of Narnia was in the reproduction of his vision. Many of the scenes were filmed using green screens, and also CGI was used for the lion.
I Am Legend
I Am Legend is a compelling and ultimately heart-wrenching film. Will Smith stars in the film, and the only friend his character has is his dog, Samantha. The scene when a Darkseeker attacks Smith's character looked completely different during filming.
The creature was controlled by a puppeteer in a green morph suit. Much of the film was done with special effects and green screens because, obviously, New York City doesn't look post-apocalyptic, and there are millions of people there.
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was largely done with special effects, just like the other Harry Potter films. In this film, they had to make the books look like they were going back onto the shelves with magic.
However, it was really people in green suits sticking their hands through the shelves and putting the books back on the shelf. Later, the hands were edited out of the film. The actors were often moved around by rigs in front of green screens and had to react to attacks and carry out the swerves with perfect timing.
The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
There are a ton of special effects used throughout The Lord of The Rings trilogy. In fact, one of the characters was completely shot using green screen technology.
That character is Gollum; the once hobbit turned into a permanently anxious creature. Andy Serkis played the character but was never actually shown on screen. He wore the green or blue suit several times to help bring his character to life.
Wolf Of Wall Street
The film Wolf of Wall Street was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Leonardo DiCaprio. The challenge with this film was that they couldn't just travel to all of the locations mentioned in the memoir by Jordan Belfort.
However, with the help of CGI and green screens, they could go anywhere. They used the green scene for the private yacht scenes; in fact, the boat wasn't even on water, and all of that was added later.
Batman v Superman
In the film Batman v Superman, there is a lot of flying, which means a lot of green screen use. The scene when Cavill holds a rocket above his head was actually filmed with him holding a rectangular chunk of the green screen above his head.
Another example is the blowing up of the Capitol Hill scene. They weren't even actually at the Capitol Hill building; they just had some steps. The building and weather were added during post-production.
The entire X-Men franchise used a ton of special effects. The production involved thirteen hundred eleven visual effects shots throughout the movie. By using green screens and CGI, they were able to transform a vacant airfield into a Vietnam prisoner camp.
They also used effects for Wolverine's ability to self-heal after being injured. The photo shows Hugh Jackman getting ready to film a scene in front of the green screen. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for its special effects.
Wonder Woman is a female-driven film that smashed box office records. Wonder Woman is from Themyscira, a fantastical island that is a true no-mans-land. The production used green screens to bring the world to life. A lot of the scenes were filmed in front of a green screen. They filmed on the Cilentan Coast in Southern Italy, and certain things were added in post-production.
Director Patty Jenkins explained why she believed it was essential that Wonder Woman be shot on actual film, as opposed to the digital way, "I’ve come up on shooting film and working on film for a long time. Digital has come a long way. Digital does a lot of great things. There are things I really like about digital, but they are not the same and there is some sort of strange myth that 'Oh, you can do everything now on digital.' Well if that was true, why do all the great, great, great filmmakers still shoot on film? Is it because they know less? Is it because they’re more haphazard? Is it because they can’t move on to new information? No. It’s because there’s a certain type of epic grander escapism that film gives you that you cannot — you will struggle very hard — to get that on video."
The most recent reboot of the series Star Trek is Star Trek: Into Darkness. The film relied heavily on CGI, and most of the time, a green screen was used in tandem with actual set pieces. For example, there is a scene when actors Chris Pine and John Cho are atop a prop spaceship.
CGI made it possible for the actors and the ship to hurtle through outer space. They can’t film in space, so they use special effects to make it look like they are there.
Black Panther is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and stars the late Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, Black Panther. They had a big challenge with having to bring it all to the big screen.
They used a blue screen and the incredible artistic talents of the film crew. An example is a royal room in the kingdom, which shows the blue screen in the background. Later, the background was replaced with the majestic views of Wakanda.
The film Inception is known for its innovative concept and crazy illusion work. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the main character in the film, which explores the depths of our subconscious. They used green screen action but also tried to use as many practical shots as they could.
For instance, the blizzard in the film was actually real. However, they used the green screen and CGI for many of the action scenes, including the onboarding of the architect scene with Elliot Page and the scene in the photo.
A Good Day To Die Hard
Bruce Willis is very well-known for starring in the Die Hard franchise. In A Good Day To Die Hard, Willis did like to do some of his own stunts but also used stunt doubles. The filmmakers had the body of the military helicopter on set, but in order to get the full use and effect, a large amount of green screen was needed.
They wanted and needed to keep Bruce Willis safe and sound on the ground. The action scenes were mostly filmed on a set with a green screen, and then later, the rest was added with special effects.
Titanic was released in 1997 and was a huge undertaking. The making of the movie cost two hundred million dollars, which was the most expensive at the time. They obviously didn’t film on a real ship on the ocean. Instead, they had some models and a lot of green screen use.
They had scaled models and computer-generated imagery. For example, in the scene when Rose and Jack are at the front of the ship, and when Jack says, “I’m the king of the world!”, those scenes were filmed on set on a prop in front of the green screen.
The film Tron was entirely created with the use of CGI. The fictional world in the middle of the software of a mainframe computer is where the story is focused. It is where the fights and competitions take place.
In order to make this fictional world appear realistic, they used a lot of color screens and applied a process called ‘backlit animation.’ They had to pay a lot of attention to its color combinations and had to match all that with futuristic sound effects. The photo shows how they created the effects of the deadly disk.
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight was released in 2018 and starred Christian Bale and the late Heath Ledger. The film is the sequel to Batman Begins and the second installment in The Dark Knight trilogy. Aaron Eckhart plays the role of Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, and the character is severely scarred on one side of his face.
Eckhart had to simulate a two-faced persona, and because of makeup and a green screen, it was all brought to life. Half of his face is angry and scary, and the other looks normal.
The film Passengers stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. It takes place on a luxury spaceship bound for a human colony that is one hundred and twenty lightyears away. On the ship, there are five thousand passengers in hypersleep.
The crew had to make this film look like it was on a massive spaceship. In order to accomplish this, they used a ton of green screens. The film's CGI work made us feel like we were on a ship with them. The photo shows Chris Pratt filming a scene where he goes outside of the ship. They use the green screen and then later add a space background.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey features the enchanting Galadriel, which was played by Cate Blanchett. The actress is real, of course, but the stunning mountain scenery in the background isn't real.
They used a green screen for Blanchett to act in front of, and then it was replaced with the mountain background. A lot of the sets in this film were done by Peter Jackson, one of the greatest directors of our time.
Oz, The Great And Powerful
Oz, the Great and Powerful was directed by Sam Raimi, who worked with the same visual effects master of the Spider-Man movies. Scott Stokdyk was the visual effects supervisor. He stated that this was the most challenging film he had ever worked on because every single frame of scenery had to be created from scratch.
Almost all of the scenes were done on a green screen. For example, when Franco is in a hot air balloon and it has to be set in rushing rapids. Franco was in the balloon with a green screen and the rest of it was digitally added later.
The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was released in 2009 and is about a traveling theater troupe whose leader has made a bet with the Devil. They travel through a magical mirror and explore their imaginations.
The film stars the late Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, and Andrew Garfield. The film required a lot of green screens to bring it to life. The whole film takes the viewers on a ride through an imaginary world, and sometimes it gets wonky and weird.
The Martian stars Matt Damon, an astronaut that gets left on Mars by mistake and has to rely on his own skills and wit to survive. Most of the film takes place on Mars, and they obviously couldn't film on Mars. Therefore, most of the scenes are filmed with a green screen.
The Mars backgrounds were later added, as were the flying and crash scenes. They also had to use special effects for the small vehicle that he drives on Mars.
King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword has been redone many times, but this one is a modern green-screen version of it. It stars Charlie Hunnam as the title character and Jude Law as King Vortigern.
One scene used a green screen to transport the audience with King Arthur and Sir Bedivere on a massive wooden ship. The ship was filmed on land, and later the water and ship were added. They did film in several places, including Windsor Great Park, North Wales, Tryfan, and Nant Gwynant.
Squid Game became Netflix's top show of all time, and it made use of a lot of green screen and CGI. In the film, many contestants accept an invitation to compete in children's games, but the stakes are deadly. In fact, most of the show was filmed in front of a blue/green screen.
An example is the game scenes, a good amount of CGI was used, and the actors were filmed in front of a green screen. It is probably a relief to people that the Squid game doesn't actually exist.
A Wrinkle In Time
A Wrinkle in Time stars some A-list actors, including Oprah, Mindy Kaling, and Reese Witherspoon. It is a spacey spectacular film, and its visual effects are amazing.
The story follows two siblings who are trying to find their father in intergalactic space. There were a lot of green/blue screens used to bring the quest to life. The actors were often filmed in front of a green/blue screen.
The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner has some of the most impressive green-screen illusions. The story follows a boy that is placed in an all-boys community after having his memory erased. However, they are all trapped in an actual real-life maze, and they have to work together to get out.
For example, what looks like a deserted parking lot in the middle of nowhere, is actually a futuristic empire. The dead beast is also a green screen effect. The film used many special effects and even miniature models.
Godzilla has been remade several times, and the most recent uses a blend of CGI and motion capture performance. They used special effects, including the green screen, to bring Godzilla to life. It was the biggest version of Godzilla to date, at three hundred and fifty-five feet tall. The green screen was used both inside and outside, such as during the scene when the military was getting ready to take on MUTOs.
Producer Thomas Tull stated, "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop culturally relevant for as long as it has."