A green screen is essential in filmmaking, especially with big sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero blockbusters taking over the film industry. But that’s not the only thing it’s good for. Did you know that you can also use a green screen for streaming?

A green screen is the colored background you want to remove from your shot. It could be any single-colored backdrop, but it’s usually bright green since this is the farthest color from human skin tones. This will make it easier to turn the background transparent without grabbing parts of the subject in the foreground. The process of removing the background in post-production using a live green screen software is called chroma keying.

Blue screens were used in the early days of film. And you can still use it if you have a green prop (or hair) or you’re trying to match a background with lower-light.

But do you really need a green screen?

If you have the time, resources, and an eye for interior design, you can set up your studio with posters, lighting, and other visuals in the background. But if you have a dark and cramped space with lots of clutter, a green screen can help cover all that for you.

Now, let’s discuss how you can create a green screen studio at home.

How to Create the Best Streaming Green Screen Setup at Home

Unless you have your own cyclorama or have the budget to build a greened out studio, your best option is to go DIY. There are also green screen kits available online if you don’t want to go full DIY. But whatever route you choose, make sure that you use the right kind of green. Digi green and chroma key green have the ideal tones for streaming with a green screen. Just make sure that you get a non-reflective green screen material to get the best results.

Here’s how you can effectively set up your green screen studio at home.

1. Find a good location

Choose a location with a space large enough to fit your backdrop and other live streaming equipment, such as your cameras and lights. Stretch fabric is the most versatile material for green screens. You can use it in any environment because it has a taut surface that will remain smooth, even when it’s windy.

Placing your green screen on a flat, stable surface will help ensure that it doesn’t topple over. You can also secure it by putting sandbags or weights at its feet or the sides of the cloth. You can also use green flooring if you’re shooting the subject down to their feet for full coverage.

2. Use proper lighting

When using a green screen, it’s vital that you create a consistent shade of green. This will make the whole chroma key processing so much easier. Use strong lighting to illuminate from the sides and top. This will give you excellent lighting coverage while hiding your lighting equipment from the shot.

Green screens with stretch fabric material are taut, so you won’t have to worry about it having shadows. On the other hand, if you’re using a DIY cloth, use as many fasteners and clips as necessary to make sure that your surface is as smooth as possible.

3. Light the subject

To reduce shadows cast by the subject, you can use overhead lighting. If you’re going to use standing lights, ask them to stand a few feet away from the background. This will eliminate the unintended green edge caused by the subject’s shadows, helping you avoid having a color spill. Additionally, make sure that everyone who will be onscreen is not wearing green, especially bright green. Otherwise, they’ll fade into the background.

4. Find the right angle

When positioning the subject, make them stand away from the background but not too far that the green flooring no longer surrounds their feet. Position them near the horizontal center where they have enough room to move around without parts of their body getting cut off the screen.

You should also be strategic about the placement of your camera. Make sure that the viewfinder only captures the subject and your green backdrop. Keep the sandbags, lights, and other equipment out of sight.

Getting the light right is easier if you’re streaming a single-angle video. But if the subject will be moving around or will be shot at different angles, you need to ensure that your screen’s green color remains consistent in each frame.

5. Do a test shot

We can’t stress enough the importance of doing a test shot. Always check how your shot will look on screen after applying chroma key to it. This way, you’ll know if you need to adjust anything.

6. Edit your feed

When you’re happy with your footage, it’s now time to create your scene using your video editing software. Proprietary programs like Adobe Premiere, Corel VideoStudio, Final Cut Pro, and Sony Vegas make using a green screen a breeze. However, they come at a steep price. If you’re working with a limited budget, there are also several free software programs you can try. This includes iMovie, VSDC Free Video Editor, Wax, and Open Broadcaster Software (OBS).

Take note that the chroma key effect will vary depending on your choice of editing software. Your filter is also crucial. It will determine how much of the green background is removed and replaced, so use it wisely. This is also the reason why you need to have a consistent green-colored backdrop. Tweak the software’s settings until you have your perfect results.

7. Finalize everything

Before going live, make sure that your green screen effect is up to your standards. Fix flaws while you still have time. You can tweak the settings for minor edits. But for major errors, such as lighting problems, you should make the necessary adjustments to your setup. When you’re happy with everything, you’re ready for your broadcast.

How to Use Green Screen with OBS

Once you’re satisfied with your green screen and lighting setup, it’s now time to start the chroma keying with your choice of editing software. For this guide, we’ll be using OBS. It’s easy to use, versatile, and free.

Using a green screen with OBS is not that difficult. You just have to follow these steps.

  1. Download and install OBS.
  2. Open the software and add your video source.
  3. Right-click on the video source and choose Filter.
  4. Click the plus (+) button under the effect filters box and choose chroma key.
  5. Enter the name of the effect layer.
  6. Fine-tune the settings as needed.

OBS automatically generates some baseline chroma key settings for you. But, in most cases, you’ll probably have to tweak the settings.

If the subject will remain stationary, then you’re good to go. But if they’re going to be moving around, you must double-check that your chroma key settings can accommodate the movement for the whole shoot. Apply the background layers only when you’re sure that your settings are correct.

Takeaway

Using a green screen can intimidate a lot of people because it looks difficult. But with the right tools, you’ll master the useful technique of chroma keying in no time. And when you do, your viewers will be amazed at the professional quality of your videos.