Green Screen: The Actor’s Challenge



Photography, Film & Multimedia


  • digital tools


The design options in the contemporary computerised era, lead to the digitised manipulation of proposed reality. Green screen is a technique used within film/television and permits compositing and manipulation of the proposed reality. This allows the filmmaker and the virtual designers to substitute the green screen area with whatever designed ‘environment’ the filmmaker desires.

The challenges this pose to actors in being congruent with and thus creating (photo)realism in the designed world of the green screen is yet to be delineated and circumvented. When this technique is implemented it substantially limits the range of stimuli which the actor receives to feed his belief in the proposed circumstances and his behaviour. Such stimuli are crucial within the acting moment. Therefore within the green screen environment the actor has to imagine and experience that which will supplant the green screen and not the green screen itself – the end manipulated designed world.

Within the field of acting, the principles and strategies of Stanislavsky’s System – specifically his notion of the magic if -­‐ can assist the actor to successfully portray a character within an imagined environment. Acting reflects human behaviour and implements the body/mind paradigm to navigate the acting moment.

Recent discoveries within the field of cognitive neuroscience have increased the understanding of human function and behaviour and substantiated Stanislavsky’s notion of the magic if. However these discoveries have not been implemented within the green screen environment. Based on existing cognitive neuroscientific knowledge regarding acting, the magic if, imagery and the body/mind paradigm, we hypothesise that a strategy can be developed which will assist the actor in circumventing the challenges of green screen acting and promote verisimilitude within the designed world.

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