This week I took an online course on Lynda.com to learn some green screen techniques in After Effects. I have a small background in AE from Comm Lab: Animation, but I never worked with green screen before, so it seemed like the perfect time to test out Lynda’s educational videos.
When I pulled up the lesson, I noticed it was 3 hours long. I decided to wait until I had a large block of time dedicated to this before watching it. However, when I finally got to it, I realized that was completely unnecessary. Lynda’s lesson was broken down into 10 headings with 2-5 lessons in each one. I was able to bypass all of the lessons that involved shooting with a DSLR and lighting the subject and move straight to software.
Lynda’s tutorials pop up in separate windows, and you can scrub through each one or skip to the next section. In this specific tutorial, two After Effects experts walked you through the green screen process, and used a John Madden-style digital pen to mark up the video. This was extremely helpful when going through different menu options and effects filters.
I was able to open After Effects and follow along, re-watching parts that were harder to understand. At the end of an hour, I had a pretty good grasp on how to remove a green screen from a video file. Additionally, there were over two hours of related footage that I didn’t need at the moment, but that I might find helpful for future shoots.
Compared to YouTube tutorials and other free online documentation, Lynda.com certainly has an advantage. It’s $25/month for unlimited streaming tutorials, with the option to upgrade to a premium account that includes exercises. They also employ over 400 experts to contribute to their video database. For the guarantee of a well-shot video as well as an expert instructor, it seems well worth the price tag.