There are plenty of ways to create decent looking special effects on a budget. You can use basic, inexpensive materials to make ground explosions or realistic looking alien landscapes. But nothing says Hollywood quite like your own green screen.
Turns out, it's actually pretty simple (and cheap) to make one for yourself. Lars Lindstrom over on The Slanted Lens built his with just some green fabric, PVC pipe, and some mic stands to hold it up (though, you can use any kind of stands), plus clamps to pull the fabric tight.
The most complicated step for most people is sewing a pocket for the PVC pipe to fit into. If you don't know how to sew, or don't have a sewing machine, you can also use fusible tape that irons on to create a seam. Once you've done that, the rest is easy.
First, set up your stands on both ends of your PVC pipe. Slide the PVC pipe through the opening in your fabric and attach the pipe to your stands. To create a perfectly flat surface, you can use clamps to pull the fabric tight against the stands.
Check out the video below for more tips and to see the process step by step.
Shooting on a green screen isn't as complicated as you might think. To make sure your subject doesn't blend into the screen, be sure to use a backlight and have them stand far enough away from the screen. You want your lighting to be as even as possible so you don't have shadows.
You can find more tips on the setup and lighting over on DIY Photography.
To get the most smooth, professional results possible, try building this simple shoulder rig stabilizer for your camera, also made by The Slanted Lens. If you need some inspiration for what to do with your new green screen, be sure to check out some of our other tutorials.