Dark screen comps

Does anybody have any tips for screen comps where the screen is a bright green with very soft focus arms all over it and the inserts are dark.

Its really tricky!

Any tips would be amazing

You will need to darken the green as well as suppress it. MasterGrade has the ability to darken the suppressed green. Has the tendency to get quite grainy.

Any of the techniques that separate the green from the image. You can do what you like with that green subtracted from the plate and then recombine it.

See the latest Logik Live (last but one) from @BrittCiampa and use additive key but grade that BG dark.

Any trick where you do minimal comp and just graded the green screen will result in much better edges. Your efforts will then go into cleaning up the green screen.


Paint up a still for the edges that doesn’t have all the spill. The arm likewise will benefit from paintbox. Lashings of neat video are your friend too.

John Trussler told me many years ago that he tracked in bits of colour for the edges which I’ve used to great effect.

Also as @PlaceYourBetts rightly says grading can certainly help. Sometimes mixing between then grading to fast and painting through does a good job too.

Also @andy_dill s truck to stabilise shots helps a great deal so you can see what you’re doing.

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Just got flogged by the client trying to deal with this on a shot. Getting pretty tired of getting phone screens shot at 100% brightness and then being given a completely black graphic. Not sure what they expect tbh.

That said I’ve got a few tricks that may be of help. I think the key with these is to gradually bring the screen brightness down. If you push too hard on any one step you’ll break the comp.

01 - key the edges of the screen to get a soft border around the edge. Better that it bleed into the edges of the phone and towards the center of the screen than that it be too hard edged. Then grade down through that matte until it starts to break.

02 - subtract the screen from itself using a matte that extends beyond the edges of the screen then put everything outside the screen back over, again through a soft matte. The key should bleed into the edges of the phone and light spill on the fingers since the spill needs to come down as well.

03 - now that I’ve comped the screen into the phone I’m grading the whole thing down even further again using a soft key. I did this because I felt like I had pushed the edges as dark as I could without breaking the comp. If the edges are feeling good, grading the whole thing down after helps keep that intact while allowing you to go darker.

04 - This is where I’m putting the fingers back over the top using og gmask with the tracer to get proper feathering along every part of the finger. Keyframed across pretty much every frame. I just view in context and adjust the feathering until it sits in nicely using the mult layer of the finger as a guide about where the edges are.

05 - The client came back a third time and said the screen wasn’t contrasty enough, so at the very end of the comp I blurred a big matte for the screen and gamma’d down and gain’d up more to push it even further

I didn’t use it here since the phone screen was white, but I would second using Masterkey Luma to bring down the screen brightness. Can usually get all the way there just with that.


If in doubt @Ben paint (drag) your edges out.

You could try an aggressive pixel spread.

You’ll probably need to pull out all the tricks here. Sounds like a bitch.


Thank you for that! Appreciate your time! Ill probably have a ton of questions!

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@Ryland can i PM you?

Yeah for sure

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Your profile is hidden could you dm me please?

I’m currently besieged by this very problem myself and using the additive key to pull it down. The worst part to me is the loss of soft edges that get exposed away by the blue screen. Every transition from the edge of the screen (or vehicle in my case) is a problem because the edge qualities are so different. Sometimes tracking on pieces of arm or nose, sometimes dragging out edges with paint and pixel spreads. This is an icky problem that I don’t know of many solutions to that don’t require tedious brute force and bandaids. I get frustrated because it just seems the default is brightest blue possible, even in situations they know there are going to be night scenes or dark mode screens or whatever. Seems to me like not a lot of thought goes into it and then folks don’t understand why it creates such a garbage situation and will inevitably… do the exact same dumb thing again.

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