Green screen for streaming

Featured image for article about best green screen for streaming by StreamBee

A green screen is essentially a sheet of material of a specific color (traditionally green, obviously) that allows you to record something in front of it and then edit the background to make it look like the foreground image is in front of whatever image is edited in place of the green screen. It essentially works by using a program to identify the specific background color found in the green screen and then replace it with the image or video of choice. It is commonly used in film and video production for news and weather reports but is also used by YouTubers and live streamers as well!

Ideal for creators

In the case of YouTubers and live streamers, this allows them to create more unique content that fits their aesthetic or allows them to at least minimize the amount of space their webcam overlay takes upon their stream by just ‘green screening’ themselves overtop of their gameplay/onscreen content!

Obviously, green screens can provide a lot of utility to the recorder/filmmaker by giving them the freedom to record something meant to be in a specific place, somewhere entirely different. In streaming, the green screen is one of the key pieces of a quality set up that can raise the bar of your stream and make it look much more professional. Let’s highlight what green screens are, what makes a green screen good, how to choose the right green screen setup for your project, and how to set it up once you pick the right one for you!

Introduction to Green Screens for Streaming


What Are Green Screens and Why Use Them?

Main features

The main features of a green screen depend on their desired purpose other than simply being a green screen! If the recorder/streamer is simply looking for a green screen and doesn’t care about the price or difficulty of setting it up/tearing it down, then the green screen simply needs to be held up. The simplest green screens will be just that, a stand that holds up a green sheet! For most users, the idea of a large stand with a sheet in their office/gaming space is quite cumbersome, and wish that they could easily compress it into a small package and store it away when not in use. In that case, they are in luck as higher quality green screens will come with a mechanism that allows the stand holding the green screen to stay upright and sturdy, but also easily fold up or be dismembered. The highest quality green screens will have a quality material green screen, sturdy structure, appropriate size, and can be easily moved or stored. As such, the green screen is ideally stretchable nylon spandex that has a green pigment. Of course, it can really be any other color (especially if green is featured in the foreground image), but usually green is the standard because it is one of the least common colors used in foreground images.

Use cases

To get a better idea of how useful a green screen is, let’s briefly mention the main uses for green screens in traditional media. The most common example of using a green screen that people are aware of is in news and weather reports. Most weather reporters are done in front of a green screen so that they can walk around and point at different areas they are discussing when looking at the radars’ measured weather patterns. If you’re lucky, you may have witnessed one of the few times weather reporters have worn green ties or even green dresses where the image of the weather patterns then appears on their clothing (making the use of a green screen obvious). Another common example of green screen usage is when a specific background is needed for a shot in filming. It may be because the location of the background is entirely fictional like in superhero movies, but it could also be something as simple as the desired location is hard to access or expensive to access for filming! This could be something like the wing of a flying plane in an action movie, or simply the top of the Eiffel Tower!

Color specifics

The green color is by far the most popular option when it comes to the ability to remove background from the scene. It’s entirely possible to use a different solid colours for the chroma key effect (often called a chrome keying process), which is nowadays a built-in feature in streaming software like OBS Studio or Xplit. The most common alternative is a blue screen, but sometimes a black, white, or even grey screen is used time-to-time. 

A blue screen has less spill than a green one, and it’s also easier to correct. Anyways, the best results are achieved once the background color is not present in the scene you are filming. This is the reason why yellow screens or red screens never appear as the background removal option.

How to Choose a Green Screen

How To Choose a Green Screen - StreamBee

Price

The price of a green screen can vary dramatically. When looking at green screens that a streamer would use, however, the range is anything from as low as $15, to as high as $200! The price varies significantly depending on the size needed for the green screen and the type of green screen needed. For example, a green screen that is 4.5ft in diameter that attaches to the back of a desk chair will likely cost around $40. Keep in mind that this green screen will move with the chair so any movement while sitting in your chair can affect the quality of the broadcast. For more complex green screens that also have space to walk on or just bigger green screens overall, the price can quickly rise to over $100 for the screen and any equipment needed to operate it properly. 

Material

As a streamer, the material may be very important in choosing the right green screen, depending on what the green screen will primarily be used for. If a streamer is looking for a low budget or even DIY green screen, look no further than any solid piece of material like wood or cardboard that is either already colored uniformly or can be colored with paint! Generally, when purchasing green screens, however, it’s best to get a green screen that is made of stretchable nylon spandex to have a solid structure and prevent wrinkling.

Size

The size of the green screen to go with is very important when looking to buy the right one! For example, if the green screen is just for zoom meetings/PC streaming, it may be ideal to get the portable 4.5ft radius green screen that attaches to the back of your office chair (as previously mentioned). Otherwise, a green screen that covers the entire area of the scene you’d like to record is what is most ideal. Instead of getting multiple small green screens, or trying to change your camera and desk setup, it’s going to look much better to have one single green screen. Even if it ends up costing slightly more, it’ll be worth the price to have one single screen that covers the entire area you’re working with!

Stability

Having a stable structure to your green screen is crucial for quality filmmaking. If the green screen is not firmly in place, it could fall and ruin the recording. Also, if the green screen is not fully taut, then the material on the screen could wrinkle and create shadows in your background that will also ruin the recording because they will be two different colors of green and not completely be removed from the background.

How to Setup Green Screen in Popular Software

How to setup a green screen - StreamBee

Setting up your green screen software, often referred to as green screen software, is easy. Most of the popular streaming solutions offer built-in green screen feature within a few clicks. 

OBS Studio (Open Broadcast Software)

When using OBS Studio , you’ll want to setup the other sources that you’ll be using in your scene along with the green screen. Then set up the green screen in the desired position behind where you will be sitting. Once in place, you’ll want to make sure the webcam or (video capture device) is setup. If it is, in the ‘source’ of the webcam, open ‘Filters’, then ‘Effects Filters’, then select ‘Chroma Key.’ In this tab you’ll need to select the color that matches your screen (presumably green). This should result in the green screen being replaced by an image; however, the image may still have poor quality. To fix this, make sure to choose the specific tone of the color you’re using in your screen with the html code in the ‘Custom Color’ option in the source. From there, you can adjust the ‘Similarity’ and ‘Smoothness’ to accurately mute the desired color of the background and make sure not to impact the quality or color of the foreground (you)! If done correctly, there shouldn’t be any ‘bleeding’ of the green coloring around the foreground image. This also means that the foreground image is not cropped in anyway. Once the background image looks good and the foreground image is crisp and ‘pops’ in front of whatever the background image is, you’re set and ready to stream! You cannot go wrong with OBS Studio as you preferred green screen software.

XSplit

When using XSplit, just like OBS Studio, you’ll want to setup the other sources that you would be using in your scene once the green screen is setup and ready to go. This way, the image you want to display on the background will immediately show up when the green screen is working, and it’ll be easy to see you set it up correctly! Once you setup the video capture device settings for your webcam, you will see yourself in front of your green screen. When you do, simply click on the video capture device, then Select the ‘Color’ tab. In this tab, Select ‘Chroma Key.’ Once selected, XSplit should automatically detect the uniform color in the background and filter it out. The benefit to XSplit is that the ‘Chroma Keying’ function should even pick up and accurately distinguish between the shadows on the green screen and adjust to display the image in high quality automatically!

There are different software solutions that offer green screen option such as Restream Studio or Melon. Both of them are browser-based. So whether you are streaming game, educational content, or just chatting, you can remove your background easily. 

Best Green Screens Compared

Elgato Collapsible Chroma Key Panel

Elgato Collapsible Chroma Key Panel - StreamBee

Price

Elgato’s Green Screen Collapsible Chroma Key Panel is priced at $199.99USD and is available on Elgato’s website, Amazon, and many international partners around the world.

Quality

Elgato’s green screen is deemed by owners as one of the highest quality streaming green screens that you can buy! That’s impressive and it’s easy to see why these reviewers rate it so highly! The green screen is made of 100% Polyester which means that it is incredibly sturdy and pliable. These features make it an ideal candidate for the needs of many streamers looking for a quick setup and tear-down that doesn’t sacrifice the quality of the image for that convenience. 

 Stability

The Elgato design is a study solution for the problems most streamers encounter when attempting to fit a green screen into their streaming setup. This ‘pop-up’ mechanism allows the user to easily flip open the casing and lift the handle to the desired height. The green screen will do the rest! Because of its design, the “pneumatic X-frame” will automatically lock the green screen in place at whatever height it is set to! 

Size

In terms of the size of the Elgato green screen, when fully extended, it measures 148cm wide and 180cm tall. This width and height equate to roughly 4’10’’ wide and 5’11’’ high. While collapsed and in the aluminum casing, the green screen measures 164.5cm wide, 10.5cm tall, and 11.5cm in depth. In feet and inches, that’s 5’4.5’’ wide, 4’’ tall, and 4.5’’ deep! This green screen is obviously a high-quality product and can extend to be quite large or compress to be quite small when needed! Weighing in at 9.3kg or roughly 20.5lbs, the Elgato green screen is certainly a sturdy product that will likely deliver great results.

Overall Rating (4/5)

Considering all these features, the Elgato Collapsible Chroma Key Panel Green Screen is a quality product that any streamer would likely be happy to use. If the streamer is sitting at a desk, this green screen will likely be wide enough to cover the whole webcam, but it certainly depends on how close the streamer would want the screen to be to the webcam. Some streamers prefer having a decent amount of space behind them so for them, this product may not be quite big enough. Especially if you have a wide-angle camera for streaming, the 1.5m width will likely not be enough to cover the full scope of the camera’s capability. Overall, with the great quality and user-friendly design but steep price, it gets a 4/5. If you have the budget for this green screen, then it’s perfect, but there is likely a better option for you with minimal sacrifice in price.

TTRCB’s 4.65ft Portable Green Background Screen

TTRCBs 4.65ft Portable Green Background Screen - StreamBee

Price 

This green screen is priced at just over $30.00USD and is available for purchase internationally on Amazon.

Quality 

TTRCB’s green screen is made of polyester which is ideal for this type of green screen. This material will make it sturdy, but flexible enough to be compacted and stored away when not in use.

Stability

While the green screen itself is sturdy, the frame is not as sturdy as it should be. The flimsy frame is designed to make it easily compacted for storage; however, it can easily move when even grazed by something and affect the quality of the image. Not to mention that the screen uses your office chair as support to keep it upright so it’s easy to accidentally touch it!

Size 

While stability may be a concern, the size may be ideal for your recording setup. The screen measures 56 inches wide (142cm) which is likely more than fine considering it is attached to the back of your chair and therefore, quite close to the foreground image!

Overall Rating (3/5)

Despite the low price and great material quality, the potential conflicts that can arise from stability concerns and the screen using the chair as its primary support are fair to significant to be on the same level as the Elgato Green Screen. However, if you think you can make it work in your setup, it’s certainly worth the try!

Neewer Portable Collapsible Chroma Key Green Screen

Neewer Portable Collapsible Chroma Key Green Screen - StreamBee

Price 

This Neewer product more closely resembles the Elgato green screen in design, but also in price! This green screen is available in the Neewer store and on Amazon for roughly $150USD.

Quality 

As mentioned with the Elgato green screen, the polyester screen is the ideal material for the screen and an aluminum case is ideal for maximizing structure and minimizing the weight! 

Stability

The Neewer design uses the same styled ‘X-frame’ to make setting up the green screen incredibly easy. This frame will automatically hold at whatever height you extend it to which is fantastic for its utility in different shots that may be needed when filming or streaming!

Size 

The Neewer green screen is the exact same size as the Elgato green screen so if the size of the Elgato green screen will work for you, then so will the Neewer green screen! The size is 148cm wide and 180cm tall!

Overall Rating (4.5)

Now, obviously, the Elgato green screen is an incredible product, but when you compare it to this Neewer green screen that is nearly identical but at a cheaper price, it’s clear that you’re paying for the popular streaming name in Elgato. Some may argue that the Neewer brand is a ‘knock-off’ version of Elgato’s product, however many user reviews of this product emphasize the same problems that the Elgato product has!

AIIKES 5x7ft Cloth Portrait Green Screen

AIIKES 5x7ft Cloth Portrait Green Screen - StreamBee

Price 

The AIIKEs green screen is easily the cheapest option on this list at just over $15.00USD. This product is available on the AIIKES website and Amazon. 

Quality 

While it may be the cheapest option on this list, it certainly is also the worst quality material on this list. As noted in the name of the product, the green screen is made of cloth. The problem with cloth is that it is incredibly flimsy, and any movement will result in shadows on the screen, and negatively impact the image.

Stability

As mentioned, the cloth fabric green screen is incredibly unstable, however, the frame that the green screen is hung from in some of the advertisements does not come with the green screen. Therefore, with a sufficient setup, the instability of the cloth can be removed, however, the apparatus used to hold the cloth green screen will be at an added cost!

Size 

The green screen is 5ft wide and 7ft tall which is overall a pretty good size. The cloth material that the green screen is made of means that it can be draped to the ground and then stood on for some more unique shots and recordings that might otherwise be impossible with a traditional polyester material! 

Overall Rating (3/5)

While the cloth material is clearly a problem for consistency and structure, the screen does what it’s intended to do. It’s an affordable option that will require some theorizing to set up well but can certainly be done!

BannerBuzz’s Adjustable Green Screen Background

BannerBuzzs Adjustable Green Screen Background - StreamBee

Price 

The BannerBuzz product comes in at just over $125.00USD! It is only available on the bannerbuzz website.

Quality 

The screen is made of polyester fabric making it the perfect material for the job!

Stability

This product comes with an adjustable aluminum frame that has fixed heights the screen can be adjusted.

Size 

The BannerBuzz product being discussed is 8ft wide by 8ft tall, but the website does have more expensive options for larger sizes!

Overall Rating (3.5/5)

Overall, the BannerBuzz product is a great option for an adjustable, polyester screen! However, keep in mind that the frame for this green screen is quite cumbersome to setup and tear down and not exactly portable as it is made of multiple aluminum pipes screwed together. While you can unscrew them, it’s certainly a time commitment!

Neewer’s Green Screen
Elgato’s Green Screen
BannerBuzz’s
AIIKE’s Green Screen
Price (USD)
$150.00
$199.99
$125.00
$15.00
Quality
High
High
Medium
Low
Stability
High
High
High
Medium
Size (cm)
148x180
148x180
245x245
152x213
Overall Rating
4.5/5
4/5
3.5/5
3/5

Conclusion

Choosing the right green screen is crucial for getting the right result out of your project. Thus, it’s not only imperative to know what makes a good green screen from a bad, but also what the different options of a green screen can provide you in your filming! Once knowledgeable about what you need out of your green screen, choosing the right one is much easier! Of the green screens covered in this article, the highest quality green screens are the Elgato and Neewer green screens, but the overall winner for the best green screen when accounting for the price, quality, stability, and size, is the Neewer Portable Collapsible Chroma Key Green Screen! Green screens allow you as the filmmaker to bring the magic to life, so whatever it is you wish to do with a green screen, enjoy it and share it with others!

FAQs

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