A green screen is a screen, cloth, or other material that is solid in color. They are typically green or blue, but can be any color. Live-streamers generally use a green screen to block out their backgrounds entirely, allowing their viewers to see more of their content. Others use it to superimpose their own images over photos or videos to create unique scenes for their viewers.
Setting up and using a green screen is easier than you might think. Once you have learned the basics, the opportunities are endless.
Should You Use a Green Screen?
Set up your camera and take a look at what your viewers will be able to see. If it doesn’t look good to you, chances are, it won’t look good to them. As the visual appeal of your broadcasts is a big part of the success of your channel, you need to address it.
Many streamers take the time and effort to set up lighting, posters, and other visuals to their backgrounds. Some are able to prominently display sponsored items that wouldn’t be visible with the use of a green screen. If you have an eye for interior design, use it! People love to be able to see your environment.
That being said, if you have a dark, cramped space that is hard to keep clean, a green screen will hide it for you. They provide a very clean and crisp look to your stream. Green screens also allow your viewers to see a little more of your screen while also being able to watch you and your reactions.
You can also Make great promos or special compilations for your stream with a little green screen magic!
You can also use a green screen as a creative aspect of your stream. Set up scenes in your broadcasting software that change your background. You can literally set up anything. Why not stream from under the sea? Or the moon? Two well-known streamers who use this technique very creatively are DrDisrespect and Kitboga.
Cutting out your background is a CPU-intensive task. If you are already struggling with what your PC can handle, you may need to forgo the green screen and try to make the space around you look appealing.
Does A Green Screen Have to be Green?
A “green screen” doesn’t actually have to be green. You can use any color as long as it is consistent and doesn’t have any shadows. While green is the “go-to” color, many people prefer to use “blue screens.” So if the color green really isn’t your thing, choose another color and go with a DYI set-up.
Use a program like Adobe After Effects to create scene breaks for your stream.
The term is actually “chroma key.” All you need to do to make the process work is to select the color you want to disappear. Your software should make it transparent. Just be sure to not wear the same color as your screen, unless you are going for a special effect.
All that being said, green is generally preferred because it causes fewer issues than other colors. If you are blonde, however, look for a blue screen. The green can be reflected on your hair and it is difficult to edit out.
Types of Green Screens
There are several types of green screens – from elaborate setups to DIY options. Look at your space, your budget, and what you want to do with it when determining which green screen to purchase. Most streamers prefer smaller, portable versions that can be packed away when necessary. However, if you want to dance on Jupiter every time you win a Fortnite round, you’ll need one that fills the wall-space behind you.
Backdrop Green Screens
Backdrop green screens are wide and long. They drape on the floor a little so that you can stand on it. This lets you take a full-body shot and clear everything around you. Generally, these are sold without stands. You can either fix it to your wall or ceiling or purchase a studio rail to go with it. You can clamp these to the rail or use sturdy hat pins. Some backdrops come with a sewn-in loop that you can pass the bar through so that you don’t need to use clamps.
One example of this would be the Emart Photo Studio backdrop. This green screen is washable and ironable so you don’t need to worry about getting it dirty when you walk across it. You can hook it to a stand with clamps or attach it to your wall in another way.
Paint Your Wall/Floor
One of our contacts did just that with his garage. He painted one wall green so that he didn’t have to worry about moving it or adjusting it if that space was temporarily needed for storage. It worked on that wall because it was a smooth cement wall. This method will typically not work on textured interior walls.
Portable Screens with a Stand
If you are looking for something smaller, there are many portable green screens. Again, you can either hang them on a scan or affix them to your wall. As most streamers broadcast while sitting at their desks, a smaller version is ideal. Some options come reversible with green on one side and blue on the other. This is a good option if you frequently enjoy wearing green!
There are also pull up green screens that roll into tubes that make for safe and easy storage. The Elgato Green Screen is a very popular option for streamers. They are durable and portable but allow you to instantly immerse yourself into another world.
Gamer Chair Green Screens
You can also purchase green screens that attach to your gaming chair. These are very portable and can be tucked away into your closet between streaming sessions. As they wrap around the chair, they can “erase” a portion of your chair. Try to strap it lower down where it can’t be seen or cover your chair with a thin blanket that matches your brand’s colors.
Bear in mind that you get better results if there is a bit of space between you and the greenscreen. This allows your green screen to be adequately lit so that your background can be changed or erased. The closer you are to your greenscreen, the more harsh shadows you may get.
Anything of One Solid Color
If you have anything that is smooth, solid and consists of one color, you can use it as a green screen! A few weeks ago, a streamer posted in the Twitch.Tv Streamers Community Facebook group. They had stacked one storage container on top of another so that lids both faced one direction. They used this to stream and it looked flawless. While using interesting objects may not be your ideal set up, it shows that you can improvise while you are still setting up.
“No Green Screen Needed” Cameras/Software
There are some products on the market that promise to remove backgrounds without the aid of a green screen. We strongly recommend that you look at reviews before purchasing any of them. Most we tried had problems with fully removing the background without removing parts of our head. This technology is brand new and will need time to be perfected.
The most advanced version that we found was Xsplit’s VCam. It cleared the background and kept us mostly intact. You can subscribe to this app for $3.95 per month, $9.95 for three months, or $24.95 for a year. You can also bundle it with the Xsplit broadcasting software premium plans.
Can it be used with Broadcasting Software?
Yes, green screens can be used with most broadcasting software. You should be able to edit it by selecting your webcam source, then using filters. Adjust a few settings to get it to look right.
You could also adjust your lighting. The better lit you are, the clearer your picture should be. Adjust the space between you and the green screen if possible. Sometimes distance makes a difference. You should try streaming at both 720p and 1080p to see if you notice a difference in clarity.
Whether you want liven the mood of your stream or keep your room private a green screen is a great option. Setting one up that is easily dismantled is another way for you to “switch back and forth” between showing off your room or not.