Video Effects and "Blue Screen"

Special Effects

Special effects are used in television, film and entertainment industry to portray realistic scenes that cannot be accomplished by standard or normal methods. 

They are also used when producing an effect where by normal methods prove to be too costly. For example, it would be very expensive to construct a 16th century castle or to sink a 20th century ocean liner, but these can be created with special effects. With the invention of computer graphics imaging, special effects are also used to improve previously filmed elements, by adding, removing or enhancing objects within the scene.  

There are lots of different types of special effects, spanning from traditional theatre effects or elaborately staged as in the “machine plays” of the Restoration spectacular, through classic film techniques invented in the early 20th century, such as aerial image photography and optical printers, to modern computer graphics imagery (CGI). In many cases lots of different types of techniques are used for one scene or shot to achieve a more realistic effect.

There are two main types of special effects. The first one is optical effects (sometimes called visual or photographic effects). This is wear images or film frames are formed and controlled for film and video. Optical effects can be created with either photographic (i.e. optical printer) or visual (i.e. CGI) technology. An example of an optical effect would be a scene in Star Trek depicting the USS Enterprise flying through space.

The second type is mechanical effect (sometimes called practical or physical effects). These are created during the live-action shooting, which include mechanized props, scenery and scale models, and pyrotechnics. A few examples would be the ejector seat of James Bond’s Aston Martin, R2D2 in the Star Wars films, or the zero-gravity effects used in 2001 A Space Odyssey.


blue screenBluescreen is also known as chroma key in television. Creating a blue screen composite image starts with a object that has been photographed in front of an evenly lit, bright blue background. The process, whether it is photographic or electronic, replaces all the blue in the picture with another image, known as the background plate.

Blue screen composites can be made optically for still photos or movies, electronically for live video, and digitally to computer images. However recently all blue screen compositing for films have been done optically and all television composites are done using analog real time circuits.  

There are other colours that are used instead of Blue. Green is one of the most commonly used colours. Sometimes Red is used for special purposes.

Chroma Key

The key background colour in the video signal is processed out and transferred with content from a different video signal, such as from a different camera, a recorded video playback, or a digital source. This process is called ‘compositing’. You need both digital and analogue techniques to do this. Whether it is in production or in post-production the replacement of images may be carried out.

The best example of this technique is the weatherman on the news. He appears to be pointing to a map, but in reality he is recording in front of a blank screen. On either sides of this blank screen, you find two smaller televisions projecting a front view of the weathercaster, so that the weatherman knows where and when to place their hands. In the earlier days of television, these effects were originally adapted by a technique called chroma keying. However modern digital compositing techniques tend to use the older analogue methods. 

In some cases the television presenter, might be wearing a logo or some other decoration, which is a colour close enough to the chroma key. In this case, that particular area will get included in the mask and the background will show through. If the production team do not pick up on this before the program goes to air, it will appear to the viewers as if the presenter has a small hole in their body and will be able to see the background image through the presenter.

VideoSkin.Net program

Of cause VideoSkin.Net program is not as powerful as modern TV techniques, but it allows you to apply video effects onto background, without having bluescreen, onto foreground as frame or visual effects, or onto your figure.

You can find plenty of video skin themes on this page.

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