Green Screen Made Easy: Keying and Compositing Techniques for Indie Filmmakers [BOOK REVIEW]

Green Screen Made Easy CoverAuthor: Jeremy Hanke and Michele Yamazaki Terpstra
Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions
Genre:  Performing Arts/Film and Video/Reference
Unique Elements: Special Effects made Affordable for Filmmakers and Photographers
Series: Standalone
Release Date: October 1, 2016 (2nd edition)
Number of Page: 165 pgs
MSRP: $24.95
Discount Link: Click Here
Website: Click Here
Facebook (with additional assets): Click Here
Purchase Site: Click Here
Reviewed by: Reverend Leviathan
Final Score: 5 Moons ( out of 5)

The authors of Green Screen Made Easy take us into the world of special effects found in filmmaking and photography.  Not only do you learn how it’s done, but you learn how to do it yourself using easy, affordable methods while still retaining visual quality.


Brilliant Moon Award

Green Screen Made Easy is divided into two parts: Pre-production and post-production.

The first half of the book guides the reader through the steps in buying or building a green screen, getting your background environments, and lighting and camera techniques.  What’s great is it starts with the best options, and then for those with lower budgets it offers many other options that will still give great effects.  There are plenty of pictures and diagrams throughout to help guide the reader as well.  The section ends with a very good, easy to read production checklist.

The post-production section goes through the steps in keying and making your composites look believable.  The pictures and diagrams are in color in this part of the book (previous was black and white) to help show the detail and effects of good/bad green screen effects.  Again, it’s presented in very easy-to-understand steps.  And in the back of the book there is a glossary for those of us who do not understand the terms that are used often.

Using the techniques found in this book, the author was composited into a lightning filled landscape.

Using the techniques found in this book, the author was composited into a lightning filled landscape. [Photography/Compositing by DarkestGoth Photography.]


When I first started reading this, I didn’t think it was going to be interesting or comprehensive since I wasn’t a photographer or filmmaker, but just two chapters in proved me wrong.  I was amazed when I learned how I could make my own green screen.  The authors wrote in a way that even someone who is not involved in special effects can understand (and possibly even become interested after finishing the book).

The layout of the book was very easy to follow, especially since terms are defined throughout the book and it’s not full of vocabulary that the common man would not understand.  The steps that are laid out are very basic and easy to understand.  One point that the book makes about special effects that really stuck with me is that “if your story isn’t compelling, no amount of computer-generated imagery (CGI) and effects will fix it.”  That makes a lot of sense considering horrible movies that CGI couldn’t save *cough* Star Wars: Episode I *cough*.

Gothic Fit

It’s no secret that many of us in the Goth community are interested in photography and movies.  This book is a great way to learn how to put yourself into a picture with Bela Lugosi, or create a background of a Gothic cathedral on a rainy night or be in front of Castle Dracula, when you don’t have the budget or time to actually make the trips.  Interested in making a film that puts you in a setting similar to that found in The Crow or Pan’s Labyrinth?  The information found in Green Screen Made Easy can help!

Closing Thoughts

Forget about a Green Screen For Dummies.  Green Screen Made Easy is all you need to better understand (and afford) special effects in filmmaking.

Accessibility: 4.0 Moons (out of 5.0)
Depth: 5.0 Moons (out of 5.0)
Gothic Fit: 3.5 Moons (out of 5.0)
Final Score (not an average): 5.0 Moons (out of 5.0)

Score: Five Moons

Author: Reverend Leviathan

Reverend Leviathan is the Music & Media Editor at DarkestGoth Magazine. He has been part of the Gothic community since his high school years. He released an album in 2008 entitled "Eden's Graveyard" and has also self-published a book, Gothlic: The Testimony of a Catholic Goth. He specializes in music (Goth, ambient, industrial, horror punk and doom metal) and independent films. You can follow him at If you have questions about having your music or media reviewed or featured at DarkestGoth, you can email Reverend Leviathan directly. (Not all music or media will be eligible for coverage by DGM, due to its style or the current knowledge base of DGM staff. If your media is accepted, we are currently estimating a 90-120 day turnaround for reviews and/or other coverage, so please plan requests accordingly.)

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