New book - 'Building a Better World in Your Backyard' - on Kickstarter (sponsored friend)
Zane Middle School portable green screen
The green screen was constructed for the students at Zane Middle School. The frame's lightweight PVC construction allows for easy set-up/takedown and transportation. Screen tension is achieved through a system of adjustable clamps that create an even, shadowless surface on the screen, allowing good film results to be produced.
Zane Middle School instructor Damon Brooks requested the services of Team Visual Effects for the design and construction of a portable green screen apparatus for indoor/outdoor use by his digital media students. Team Visual Effects is made up of Abdullah Alyami, Liam Dooley, Kyle Ebert, and Karl Oman, all members of Lonny Grafman’s Spring 2017 ENGR 215 class.
Problem Statement and Criteria
Problem Statement: The current green screen used by the students at Zane Middle School is not a very handy setup and could be much improved upon. The improved design was created around a list of weighted criteria in which it had to meet each standard.
|Portability||Fits through doors; can be moved easily by kids||10|
|Durability||Lasts 5 years||9|
|Ease of use||Easily operated by middle schoolers||9|
|Degree of Difficulty (construction)||Straightforward to build||8|
|Functionality||produces a high quality image||7|
|Aesthetics||Must look good||7|
Description of Final Project
The final design solution incorporates a three-piece PVC frame in which each frame is glued together, detachable legs that spin freely in circles while attached to the frame, green muslin cloth, and a PVC clamp system. It is designed for indoor/outdoor use, although it is not recommended to set up the system outdoors when wind speeds are above 8 mph.
|Quantity||Material||Source||Cost ($)||Total ($)|
|1||Cement/Primer PVC||ACE Hardware Store||6.99||6.99|
|4||Cross PVC 1"||ACE Hardware Store||2.75||11.00|
|1||Tube VINYLl 3/4"||ACE Hardware Store||7.16||7.16|
|10||PVC Pipe 1"x10' end||ACE Hardware Store||4.99||49.90|
|12||Labor PVC cuts||ACE Hardware Store||0.25||3.00|
|12||TEE Joints 1"||ACE Hardware Store||1.49||17.88|
|6||Elbow Joints||ACE Hardware Store||0.99||5.94|
|1||PVC Pipe 1"x2'||ACE Hardware Store||1.99||1.99|
|1||Cotton Green Fabric 10x20'||Amazon||36.96||36.96|
Testing the green screen was very easy. The only action that was taken was a short film of an actor in front of the green screen which can be taken and downloaded into any sort of basic editing software. (Many computers can do these types of edits without extra programs.)
How to Build
Building this type of green screen is very straightforward. The frame consists of 1" PVC pipe connected with T-connectors and elbows. The PVC pipe does not need to be pressurized so any type is suitable for constructing. Clamps to hold the green cloth to the frame can also be found in the same store the PVC was purchased. Any sort of green material can be used for the backdrop, however the green screen cloth can be purchased online or in a store. Pipe glue will also be needed to glue the rectangular frames together to allow them to be supportive and sturdy. Once all of these materials are acquired, construction depends on dimensions and shape because many different designs can be successful for a simple green screen.
Maintenance for the Green Screen is very minimal, as long as it is kept orderly. On the daily, the green screen does not require much maintenance for it does not have running costs. The largest form of maintenance on the daily is keeping the green background cloth clean and free of folds and other materials. If care for the green cloth is done correctly, its life span should last around 5 years. As far as the frame and additional components, they should remain functional as long as they are not used in a rough and destructive manner. Keeping the green screen and its frame stored properly is also important and necessary to keep the lifespan of the green screen up to par. When assembling and disassembling the frame, it is important that multiple people take on the job to reduce bending and stressing on the frame. If all parts are cared for properly, the green screen should be useful for many projects and years to come.
This provides an overview of the general maintenance that should be considered on the different basis'.
- Properly store green screen frame and cloth appropriately in a safe location.
- Always be gentle while assembling frame and clamps to hold the green cloth tight.
- Keep the green cloth clean of dust and particles to minimize washing.
- Iron the green cloth to get rid of creases and folds that may have developed during storage.
- Check for rips or tears in the cloth that may have developed from the removal of clamps.
- Every 5 years
- Replace the green cloth unless kept in good to excellent shape.
In the video below you can see how the project is put together. The three frames will be carried separately and laid down next to each other and then joined by sliding the right and left frames into the middle frame. After that, the stands would be hooked to the bottom of the frame where they are parallel with it and then after standing the frame they would be rotated to the proper position. The green fabric would be spread evenly over the frame while it's still on the ground and the clamps would be used to hold it on the frame and create or release the tension by twisting them inward or outward.
This is only how to troubleshoot for basic operation problems. Most solutions can be found by conducting internet research, however, brief possibilities are listed here.
|Rip in green screen cloth.||Depending on size and location and rip on the green backdrop, fold the ripped part behind a portion of the remaining green cloth or purchase a new green backdrop.|
|Clamps break or become loose.||Replace clamp with the new clamp or apply tension to the outside of damaged clamp with C-clamp or vice grips.|
|Tension very uneven and will not settle.||Remove all clamps and begin by placing the side of the frame's clamps on first and then adding clamps to bottom and top. Also before placing any clamps on the frame, have loose initial tension and then adjust tension accordingly by twisting clamps outward.|
Discussion and Next Steps
The Green Screen project successfully met the Zane Middle School needs, providing a portable and fully functional green screen for a better image quality. Throughout, the process of the the alternative solution, the design went from a very complexed design to a simpler design. The final design is different than the original one we started with. the team was thinking about creating a frame that has three separate frames where the left and right ends fold to make about 140 degree with the middle frame. The reason the team chose that design is to give a better depth for the image. However, it was hard to make a straight tension on the screen. One of the solutins to this problem was to saw the screen onto the frame, but that created folding in the middle which would've lead to poor quality image. Nevertheless, the client representative Damon Brooks, was in contact with team through out the process and he agreed that the simpler design is better and meets the need of the school. Now, Zane Middle School students can enjoy the new portable green screen and have a closer experience to what is used by professional film makers.
Suggestions for Future Changes
The screen was designed mainly for indoor use, however, with the following additional support, it can be used outdoor. Since the frame is very flexible and light, laying sand bags on the stands can help it stand and not tip-over when using it outdoors. Also, adding more clamps around the frame will give a better tension for the screen especially when it's windy.