Here is a tutorial I get requested a lot, how to create a totally black background.

Here is a tutorial I get requested a lot, how to create a totally black background. No green screen required.

Here is the link I talked about in the video for using a grid for letterboxing.

I got the following message from OggOrbisMedia which I will have to try:

Instead of adjusting the level yourself use the color picker for the black level and select your not so black background. Then adjust the grey and white levels to your liking for your subjects exposure. That way you won’t risk making things too contrasty and compressed by bumping up the blacks more than you need to, and you don’t have to fiddle with it to get it right.


  • Dave, this is great!! I have been trying to get green screen to work to create the black background but was having a problem getting the perfect key when some actors have light, wavy hair. Would it be possible for you to take a snapshot of your setup that you use behind you? I wouldn’t know how to position the lights to make it work.

  • Great video.

    Hey everyone Dave is back!

    I’m looking forward to a cool review/shot-off of the 5D3 vs the T2i/T3i.

  • I’ve downloaded the 30 day trial of Premiere Pro and I would like to continue using it. But it so expensive. Any suggestions?

  • @John J

    Don’t buy a online copy from anyone! I was scammed and almost lost $1000.
    (B&H is not an authorized online retailer for Adobe Creative Suites)

    If you buy the Production Package you save a lot of money as apposed to buying Photoshop, AF, PR pro separately.

    If your a student you can get student pricing but it can’t be used for commercial work because of a watermark.

    Editing software is a major expense. You can get FinalCut free (I think) but the lack of internal integration with After Effects and PhotoShop is a major drawback in my opinion. Why use Finalcut when Premiere is integrated with the best media editor on the market?

    Buying Production CS5 was the best purchase I’ve made to date. (better than my DSLR)

  • @John-Mark

    Wow, I’m the quality of the trailer. I guess I need to figure out how to afford Premiere Pro. It is to bad that the student version has a water mark.

  • @John J

    I would double check on the watermark issue It’s been 2+ years since I checked student issues. They may have removed it.
    I’ll look into it tonight.

  • @John J.

    They don’t have the watermark info on the edu page anymore so you’d have to ask a rep. Sorry.

    I highly recommend buying the Production CS5+ suite. It’s money well spent.

    If you look back through Dave’s videos he has got some examples of After Effects and different how-to videos for Premiere. He gives a unbiased look at their workings and how they apply to DSLR video shooters.

  • Very useful video, except for FCPX users such as myself! Although I’m sure I can apply the same principles. Any thought of doing a tutorial on white backgrounds?

  • @John J

    You can also check out the subscription option as well. That makes the price a bit easier to handle.

  • Basically lost interest in 5DIII as a upgrade path, buying a new cam it would be a obvious choice. 5DIII features looks great but image quality seems to just be upgraded with internal image processing. Panasonic now could rock the market as 5DII did 3 years ago if they release a good GH3 soon.

  • Hi Dave! I wish 🙂 Contemplating hard whether or not to buy a GH2 now.. but shouldn’t Panasonic take the chance of a lifetime to grab an empty market space? 5DIII is to expensive for the mass buyers, something with the performance of a GH2 but with some improved features (lowlight capabilities) and at a lower price point would be able to steal away from both Nikon and Canon’s. I think Canon have gotten into trouble keeping all different models apart which mean the are crippled to the point where buyers get irritated.

  • Hi Dave,

    First let me say that your site is great. It has helped me enormously and lowered my learning curve to DSLRs. And I really like your approach, which makes everything seem so straight forward.

    Now on to my question: is your monitor calibrated? It seems to me that all this color work and exposure adjustments would require you to have an accurately calibrated computer monitor.

  • @David it is not, that is why I depend on the scopes. When I am at NAB I am going to look for an affordable reference monitor.

  • @John J.
    & @John-Mark

    I am currently using the student version of CS5.5 Production Premium, and both the watermark and the non-commercial use restrictions have been lifted. I have been able to use the full version of the software at about 1/5 of the price because of this. I would recommend for buying student software, as they had the best price at the time that I looked.