It’s time to get practical again with an old favourite, the green screen filming evening! We did a couple of these last year and they yielded some interesting responses from club members in using the clips in different settings, as well as earning some of the makers an award at this year’s OSCARS!


Whilst last time we ran with the restaurant theme, this year the reins have been loosened a bit to offer a wider scope of interpretations for the backgrounds any willing editors will wish to apply to the clips that will be based on script ideas from David Laker and Hugh Darrington – the latter bringing his own bus stop prop!


As ever we shall be looking for volunteers to fulfil both production and performance roles for this evening. I shall be bringing my clapperboard, but we’ll need camera operators, boom operator/sound recorder, actors, help in setting up the green screens, sets and pops , and additional scripts if we have time. 


Please let us know how you want to contribute by leaving a comment below – the more the merrier obviously, but we’d prefer not to have 20 people with cameras and no-one to hold the boom mic!


We hope everyone can join us for what looks to be another fun and productive evening at OVFM!



Joke Films Part II


I think this may be a precedent, at least in my time with OVFM, that we are continuing with a themed evening for a second successive meeting.


The first evening was something of a success – arguably more of a Pyrrhic victory in some ways – in that we achieved what we set out to do, whilst in the process learning from what worked and what didn’t; the most prominent of these failings was to forgetting to bring a clapperboard!


Six short joke films were made set at a restaurant table in front of a green screen (photos below), giving many club members a chance to get involved, whether it was acting, operating the camera, director or supplying the script. We hope to repeat this again during this session so if you didn’t get a chance to participate last time, here is your chance!


We must also give our thanks to the external help on the acting (I don’t know that chap’s name but he got stuck in playing waiters and a diner) and if he doesn’t return this week then we’ll need someone to step up and show off their acting chops.


For this session we are extending the scope of films that can be made in front of the green screen, so it can be a cafe, works canteen, a home kitchen or whatever you can come up with – although if your idea is a adventurous then we ask you to bring your own props and food to fit the scene.


I will be bringing my own personal clapperboard to this meeting whilst we will need the boom mic and pole to record the sound and gaffer tape to stick the green sheets down with. Hopefully these are in the club’s box of gear stored away at a secret location at Trevor’s house!


To close, here are a few photos courtesy of Jim Morten-Robertson from the last session for anyone needing a reminder of what we got up to, and remember the footage is now available in the “To Everyone” folder in our FileZilla file sharing programme. Click the image for full size)


“I knew I forgot something – the actors!!”


“And we’ll just add a clapperboard here in post”


Nobody was impressed with Ian bragging about his groin operated camera


“Now, which joke from the “50 Golden Classics” collection shall I do next?”


“This joke is in French, do you think people will get it?”
“Sorry mate, I don’t speak English!”


Charlie was struggling with the folding his arms bit of the pose, while Mike gave up completely!


“It’s all right, we’ll just tell my wife we’re acting!”


See you on Tuesday folks!



Well, actually it is only a part practical evening but we promise you that everything is completely congruent.

In a two part session, we shall first have a “making of” presentation from John Epton, Sam Brown and Barbara Walker, talking us through the filming of Barbara’s award winning comedy Commute, which featured some nifty green screen work to create the illusion of being on a train.

The second part is where we get practical, cracking out the green screen to go into depth a little more about using this technique and applying it into a little bit of filming to give everyone a first hand experience of seeing it in practice.

It’s been a while since we did some practical green screen filming at a club meeting (six years if memory serves me correctly), so make sure you are there on Tuesday to see how it is done and get involved yourself!

OVFM Club Meeting Tuesday March 31st 2015


Yes it is another project evening this time devoted to an old favourite – the Green Screen!

We’ve had some fun before exploring the wonders of filming before a green screen and messing about with fun backgrounds and other aspects this technique affords us to great effect so this night shouldn’t be any different.

Unfortunately I cannot give you any more information about what to expect as our Vice Chairman Sam “Choo Choo” Brown, who is organising the activities for the evening, hasn’t passed any details on to me. All I do know is that we are hoping to make a film in this evening or something we can put towards a possibly entry for the North vs South competition.

Just a reminder that, like the Oscars on the 17th, this meeting will be held once again at All Saints Church in Orpington.

Whatever Sam has in store for us it should be an eventful and hopefully productive evening!

OVFM Club Meeting September 2nd 2014



You may recall that the original plan for this week’s club meeting was to have a guest speaker in Graham Kirkman but unfortunately, due to work commitments Graham had to pull out. So we’ve had to resort to “Plan B” but don’t worry as we have something rather fun line up for you.

Because we have yet to make an official film for this year’s North vs South competition (and I apologise personally for not being able to progress with my film submission) we will be endeavouring to rectify this with something similar to our “Meet the Members” evening a few weeks back.

The idea is simple: we will be exploring the “What if..?” theme and will be asking club members to think of a humorous idea to both ask and answer that question – eg: “What if dogs could fly?” “What if I had two heads?” “What if my hoover could work by itself?”… I’m sure you can come up with better ideas than that which is the main thrust of this evening.

We will set up a camera and green screen and if you could provide some props or costumes apropos to your idea, we will do our best to make these light hearted scenarios into a visual reality.

So please get your thinking caps on and remember the emphasis is on humour so be afraid to abstract or esoteric in your choices – creativity and fun are the key elements in this project (that and winning the N vs S of course! 😉 ). We want to get as many people in front of the camera as possible so don’t be shy in stepping up and joining in.

Hope to see you on Tuesday brimming with ideas! 🙂

Stop Press – OVFM Hits The Headlines!




Some of you may not know that aside from being Mrs. Club President and an aspiring cage fighter, Annabelle Lancaster is also OVFM’s press officer. This past week Annabelle scored a coup for the club by getting us featured in three different local publications with a feature on our recent “Green Screen” practical evening. Along with photos from Simon “Snapper” Earwicker, Annabelle’s feature appeared in no less august publications as News Shopper:

Bromley/Orpington Times:

Bromley Borough News:

Kudos to Annabelle for getting the club’s name out there to the general public. For anyone who missed the evening in question you can read Simon’s article about it HERE

Green With Envy

A Personal Review of The Green Screen Practical Evening.
Mike’s in the Spotlight Again.

When it was suggested that another session with the club’s green screen was due Chris quickly volunteered to organize the requisite practical evening. Never one to shy away from a challenge he decided to put on a demonstration of the use of green screen AND show how to use the effect in an editing programme. But that’s not all! The ever ambitious Chris wanted to project the demonstration on our screen in real time AND use an editing programme that was unfamiliar to him. PHEW! Was he mad or what? This promised to be quite a night!

Many Hands make Light Work

Practical evenings at the club are always popular and Tuesday 30th August was no exception. Our little hall was soon heaving with OVFMers eager to look, learn, share and experience as chairs and tables were put out, refreshments prepared and all the behind the scenes work of club night was done.


Moral Support doesn’t Count!

Chris arrived with mountains of gear and with the help of Pete, Bob, John, Sam and others set up the four lights (important so that the background and subject are both properly lit), the green cloth back drop, the camera, the projector, the PA system and the laptop…GULP! All this was achieved surprisingly quickly, very efficiently and with commendably little swearing

Once the hardware was up and running the challenge of putting on an entertaining and informative green screen demonstration in the space of just two hours was on. Would the evening be a success and make Chris a hero? Or would it crash and burn and demote Chris to zero status? Only time would tell.

Hands up if You’re Happy

The evening got off to a great start with a fascinating compilation of video clips showing how green screen is used in television in some very unexpected situations. The compilation brought to mind the fabulous visit we’d had from Andrew Bishop of Darkside Animation back in March. If you were fortunate enough to have attended Andrew Bishop’s night you wont have forgotten the passion and craft he and his team bring to film and television as they use the latest computer software to create special effects that are breath taking in their complexity. The Darkside Animation team worked on the recent BBC Sci-Fi drama Outcasts and it was amazing to see how locations could be replicated in the studio using sophisiticated green screen techniques. Naturally after such inspiration many of us were fired up at the thought of all the possibilities at our own fingertips.

Bonnie and Clyde are at it Again
I want you, you and you in my team

With the intro over it was time for the practical part of the demo to begin. Chris called for his first victim, I mean volunteer! With Jane on camera Mike stepped up to be shot against the green screen and although painfully shy he did manage to put on a performance for us worthy of the West End stage while lighting and exposure were adjusted for optimum effect.

Go On do something Funny

Chris explained the principles and fielded questions while victim number two Sam donned Jane’s purpose made green suit. Looking very much like a character from The Incredibles and acting the part too Sam made a perfect subject for stage two of the filming. Working like a real double act Mike and Sam improvised some very amusing scenes. All this was projected and recorded ready for stage three of the demonstration.

The Green Streak Glides to the front

While the rest of us partook of Peggy and Jo’s teas, coffees and biscuits Chris and his tech team of Mike, David and Bob worked on the editing. It’s no mean feat to capture, edit and apply effects in limited time and on unfamiliar software but as Chris always says ‘He who dares wins!’. Pinnacle was chosen as the video editing software de jour because it’s relatively inexpensive, already has a number of followers amongst the ranks of OVFMers (see their user group elsewhere on this site) and is capable of working with green screen effects. Other software is available and the principles are the same whether you work on an £80 programme or £800 one. Of course the end results may differ though.

After the break Chris was able to show us the fruits of their labour, but not before we watched a couple of hilarious films by Jim, Jane and Barbara, the contingent from the sticks. We cheered, we clapped, we laughed….and we gasped as we watched not just Jane in her green suit but Jim as well as he cavorted with abandon in his figure hugging costume. It’s an image seared onto my memory but I’m hopeful counselling will help! Jim and Jane you are great sports.

It’s a bit parky in here

The evening ended with Sam frolicking amongst the baa lambs and Mike being thrown on the mercy of the audience all thanks to the magic of green screen, Pinnacle and little bit of expertise. Naturally with so much going on there was bound to be the odd hiccup in the evening but several of the most attentive club members were quick to call out advice, offer suggestions and generally do their utmost to help. In response to these unsolicited but really useful contributions I’m sure I heard Chris mumble several words of thanks…at least I think it was thanks!

Surely There’s a law against This!

So after two eventful hours what did I learn? That getting the lighting right is vital, green screen can be a lot of fun, what some club members get up to in their spare time, and that ‘tolerance’ is an adjustment tool in Pinnacle as well as the ability to rise above trial and tribulation. Chris your fortitude was an example to us all, well done for producing a great evening!

Chris Goes back to Basics

So Hero or Zero? Well Chris will always be MY hero! But what’s your verdict?

Bob Gives his Opinion


Here Comes The Science

Why green screen? Basically green screen is a method of filming and isolating your subject from the background so that a substitute background can be added. Most video editing software allow the layering of film and the facility to select a particular colour in your clip and make it transparent (sometimes called chroma key). By using this facility in conjunction with a clip shot against a green screen background it is possible to put your subject anywhere from the moon to the bottom of the sea… just as long as you have the necessary replacement footage!

Mike and Friends against the green screen

But why ‘green’ you ask? Well a colour is needed that is as different from skin tone as possible while being suitable for the colour sensitivity of the camera. Video cameras are particularly sensitive to green while the film used in movie cameras is more sensitive to blue.

Away goes the green screen

I’ve posted a few Photoshopped images to show the principle of green screen. Using Photoshop on a still image is easier than applying an effect to a video clip but even so the exercise keenly highlighted the difficulties with green screen. Colour spill from the back drop and show through of the back drop in areas of hair etc both cause problems, as does the colour variation across the back drop as a result of uneven lighting. If you attempt green screen give yourself the best chance of success with plenty of time to set up and perhaps try some dry runs first too. Why not join the club members who’ve already used green screen in their films with great success. Good luck!

Amongst the baa lambs