Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

Costumer for a Day


Today my job took me to the mall, where I went hunting for costumes for two of our upcoming shoots. Some interesting rules I have to follow:

1. No whites! White stuff glows supernaturally bright against the green screen and totally messes up the white balance of the cameras. This rule is a pain, however, since the picture I’m using for the costume involves a white shirt and white socks. White shirts are popular, off-white shirts… not so much.

2. No greens! When you work with a green screen, nothing else can be green. Except this time, because one of our costumes must be green, we’re going to paint our green screen blue. (When I say “we,” I mean our PA is going to do it.) So rule 2 becomes…

3. No blues! Yes, this means jeans, too. And since our second costume involves denim overalls, we’ll need to repaint the screen back to green before the second shoot. (*PAs are very, very useful. And very, very patient.)

4. We’re on a budget! One-use costumes can’t cost a fortune, so I spent my day scavenging through clearance racks for the right style, fabric, color, size, and price.  I hit Target, Marshall’s, Ross, and Sears. There are tons of costume shops here in LA, but most don’t take returns or else they work with big studios who can afford $150 for a straw cowboy hat.

It’s a challenge to find what you need given all the constraints. Who’d have thought all those years growing up in New Jersey would be so useful? (For those of you not from New Jersey, that’s a mall joke. Just not a very good one.)

For those of you who regularly do costuming, feel free to impart tips and suggestions. I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of this in the upcoming weeks and months.

About the author

Jenn Reese


  • I would recommend looking for a cream RIT dye. It would be easy to take a 3.99 white shirt and some socks and transform them into something you can use.

  • Thanks so much! I've never used dye before, so I've been scared of trying. I appreciate the recommendation!

  • Another trick for whites is to use a cheap brand of regular black tea bags and make tea with your white clothing. it stains them enough for use, but they will look white on camera. I leaned this from a roommate who did both theater and film prop design.

By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

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