Film, TV and Virtual Production Studios in London - Broadley Studios
Film, TV and Virtual Production Studios in London - Broadley Studios
Film and TV Studio in London - Broadley Studio

How to make a Green Screen Treadmill

By Richard Landy

Would it surprise you to know that they don’t sell a Green Screen Treadmill?

Well don’t be surprised as they don’t… you have to make your own!

Being time for us to upgrade ours we thought we would share a little story on how it’s done and where it all started.

In the world of green screen film production, one of our key challenges is making sure that actors look natural while walking or running. Nothing screams "fake" louder than watching someone tap dance in place pretending to run or walk!!  

Thanks to Robert Rodriguez and his innovative approach in Sin City , we've acquired a game-changing tool: the Green Screen treadmill, as you can see in the image below courtesy of IGN.com:

green screen treadmill

Make Your Own Green Screen Treadmill

Here’s our super easy guide on how you can make your own:

Step 1

We bought a new Under Desk Treadmill, not having any handles is key to getting this part right.

Step 2

We chose to use Zinsser Cover Stain Primer, not because they are sponsoring us but because we know it works well – with just two coats we were ready to move to step 3.  We let it dry for 45 minutes after each coat.

painting treadmill
zinsser cover stain primer
Painting the treadmill with Zinsser Cover Stain Primer

Step 3

Crack open Mylands CSO Green Paint – CSO meaning Colour Separation Overlay. Crafted from Mylands' Flame Retardant vinyl emulsion made from specialised pigments, this paint ensures precise cutout accuracy.

Trusted by major film studios like the BBC for nearly fifty years and other major film studios, its high-opacity formula and dead flat matt finish are perfect for keying. When it comes to painting our treadmills green to match our green screen studios, for us it's the optimal choice.

It takes around two hours to dry, and we managed to get it done to perfection with just four coats.

The key to getting this right is testing, testing and yes TESTING  – to make sure that it is smooth, doesn’t flake off and that it doesn’t restrict the movement of the treadmill. So after its fully dried, you have to test walk it – to make sure it's all covered and that the treadmill isn’t restricted from rotating.

Below you can see Marko from Broadley studios working on the first coat of CSO green paint:

applying cso green paint
applying cso green paint
applying cso green paint
Applying CSO green paint

What We Learnt

Obviously, you need to cover the floor and anything that could get damaged – but for the purpose of this article we are assuming you know to cover the floors etc…

After painting our treadmill, we learned a few key lessons we thought worth sharing:

•  Always allow the Chroma Key Green paint to dry thoroughly before use. Testing it too soon resulted in some paint being removed with our shoes. Waiting for about four days after a touch-up seemed to be the perfect time to hop on and test it out again.
•.   Keeping the treadmill clean is the biggest challenge. We don’t let actors onto it with dirty shoes, and ensure the stylist provides a new pair of shoes just for the treadmill scenes.
•  Address gaps between the belt and side rail by draping chroma key green cloth over the rail and tucking it inside next to the belt for seamless keying.
•  Proper lighting is essential for effective keying. To minimise shadows and spills, we always use two sets of lights: one for the actor and one for the feet, minimising shadows and enhancing keying quality.

FAQ: How Do You Make Your Own Green Screen Treadmill?

So you want to make your very own green screen treadmill? But where do you begin...

Remember, our step-by-step guide below:

1.  Buy your treadmill of choice but make sure it comes without handles
2.  Apply two coats of Zinsser Cover Stain Primer
3.  Once dry, apply 4 coats of Mylands CSO Green Paint - make sure it dries thoroughly before you touch it
4.  Test, test and test again to make sure it meets your requirements
5.  Then keep it super clean
6.  Deal with any exposed gaps e.g. with green screen cloth
7.  Light it properly to minimise shadows and spills

There is an element of trial and error, of course.

Don't fancy all the fuss and bother of making your own treadmill? Then...

Why Not Use Our Treadmill!

Will all that said and done, we hope you enjoy the experience of making your own Green Screen Treadmill...

However if you want to use our,s you're more than welcome… feel free to reach out to us on +442077255858 or email us at [email protected].

Related Posts

broadley pro advice for filmmakers

Broadley Pro Advice for Filmmakers

green screen planning

Production Planning on Green Screen

green screen clothing guide

Green Screen Clothing and Hair Guide

lighting green screen

Green Screen Lighting: Top Tips for Studios

greenscreen production

Green Screen Production: Our Recommendations

heartenvelopephone-handsetmap-marker linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram