Green Screen

If you're a frequent viewer on Mixer or Twitch and wonder how your favorite streamers have managed to make their backgrounds disappear from around them on camera, chances are they're using a green screen.

There are cameras out there that will do it through software (Logitech's C922) or by using Intel RealSense (Razer Stargazer), but to do it with any camera and with minimal impact on your PC a green screen is a great way to do it if you have room.

Allow me to walk you through the steps of setting up a green screen for use in both OBS Studio and XSplit.

What you need

ELgato green screen

Obviously, you'll need a green screen. There are plenty out there at places like Amazon, though the Windows Central recommendation easily goes to the Elgato Green Screen. It's about $160 but you really can't do any better, especially if you're tight on space.

The Elgato Green Screen is also the exact shade of green for chroma key functions to automatically recognize it.

You'll also need your choice of broadcasting software. OBS Studio is popular and free to use (though if you like it you ought to throw the developer a few bucks), or you might use the other popular platform XSplit. This does cost for a premium subscription to XSplit Broadcaster, but many find it a little easier to use. Grab both of them from the links below:

There are other applications out there that will help you stream to Twitch or Mixer, but for this guide, I'm going to concentrate on the two most popular suites.

How to set up your green screen in OBS Studio

OBS chroma key

In the latest version of OBS Studio the feature you need to enable, chroma key, is a little more hidden than you might think. But setting everything up is still straightforward.

Once you've added your webcam as a video capture source, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on your camera under sources.
  2. Click on filters.

    OBS chroma key

  3. Click the + button beneath the effect filters box
  4. Select chroma key.

    OBS Chroma key

There are then a number of options you can tweak to get the best quality output. You can affect the smoothness and key color spill along with more basic features like brightness and contrast. The only way to get the perfect result is to play around with it to balance your camera and lighting.

How to set up your green screen in XSplit

XSplit chroma key

Activating the chroma key in XSplit is equally straightforward, though lacks a couple of the ultimate end features you can get in OBS. That sounds odd for a paid product over a free one, but one of XSplit's best value propositions is its ease of use.

Here's how you set up with your green screen once you've added your webcam as a video source.

  1. Right-click on your webcam in the sources box.
  2. Select the color tab.
  3. Enable the chroma key option.

    XSplit chroma key

If you're using a color other than green (red or blue) then select those from the drop-down box. The default is green. Unlike OBS, there isn't much else you can do specifically with the green screen effect, instead you'll have to tweak the camera settings to manage color and exposure, limiting the noise you may see as best you can. Good lighting is always important, though.

Bottom line

After the initial cost of acquiring your green screen, implementing it into your stream is a really simple process. Besides the software setup, also consider lighting, in particular, as should the webcam be unable to see the screen then you won't get a good chroma key effect.

Otherwise, it's a really simple way to add some extra production value to your stream. You aren't limited to just making your background disappear, either, it's a great tool to put your webcam video on a custom background image if you want to be extra fancy.

More: Best webcams for Windows

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