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How to Use a Green Screen in OBS: A Comprehensive Guide

Using a green screen in OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) is an excellent way to elevate your livestreams or video content. It allows you to remove or replace the background of your webcam or camera, giving you more creative freedom in your content.

Setting up a green screen in OBS is easier than you might think. With a well-lit green screen positioned behind you, OBS can work its magic to remove the green color and leave you with a clean and transparent background. All it takes is some basic equipment and a few simple steps to get everything in place.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of incorporating a green screen in your OBS scenes, ensuring a seamless and visually appealing result.

Understanding Green Screens

Chroma Key Technique

The Chroma Key technique is a popular video editing method that allows you to remove a certain color, usually green or blue, from your video footage. This technique is used to replace the background of a video with a different image or video source. By using a green screen behind the subject, the Chroma Key technique can effectively remove the green color from the footage, making it easier to replace the background with any image or video source you’d like.

Green Screen in OBS
Immersive viewer experience for your audience

Importance in Streaming

Green screens have become increasingly popular in the streaming community, as they offer many benefits for both content creators and viewers. A few notable advantages include:

  • Professionalism: Using a green screen in your streams can give your content a polished and professional look, elevating the overall quality of your streaming setup.
  • Immersive viewer experience: By removing the background and placing yourself directly into the game or video content, you can create a more engaging and immersive experience for your audience.
  • Versatility: A green screen allows you to change your background on-the-fly, giving you the flexibility to adapt to different games, themes, or events during your streams.

Setting Up Your Green Screen

Choosing the Best Green Screen

When it comes to choosing a green screen for your livestream or video content, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, you’ll want to choose a green screen that is large enough to cover the area behind you and is made of a high-quality material that won’t wrinkle or crease easily. It’s also important to consider how easy it is to set up and take down. This is especially important if you plan on streaming from a location where the green screen will need to be packed away after each stream.

One popular option for a high-quality green screen is the Elgato Green Screen. This collapsible green screen is made of wrinkle-resistant material and can be easily set up and taken down in seconds.

Our Pick
Elgato Green Screen
$159.99
Pros:
  • Pop-up tech, simply lift to desired height
  • Wrinkle-resistant fabric
  • Ultra-quick setup and teardown
Cons:
  • Expensive compared to DIY solutions
  • Wide footprint, even when stored
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We may earn commission on purchases at no extra cost to you.
06/18/2024 06:51 pm GMT

While the Elgato Green Screen does store away nicely, it’s important to note that the base is still quite wide. This means that it may not be the best solution if you need to travel with the green screen frequently. Additionally, it’s quite expensive, so may not be feasible for everyone.

If you’re on a budget and looking for a more affordable alternative to the Elgato Green Screen, consider checking out the Chromakey Backdrops from Neewer. This single collapsible screen features one side that’s green and one side that’s blue, providing versatility for different backgrounds.

Budget Pick
Neewer Chromakey Double-Sided Green Screen
$49.07
Pros:
  • Collapsible and reversable
  • 2-in-1 green and blue options
  • Affordably priced
Cons:
  • Tricky to collapse
  • Not self-standing
Buy Now
We may earn commission on purchases at no extra cost to you.
06/18/2024 06:35 pm GMT

To use the Chromakey Backdrop, you’ll need to either lean it against a wall or mount it using a stand. While it may not be as sturdy or high-quality as the one from Elgato, it’s a great option for those who are just starting out or looking for a more affordable green screen.

Positioning and Lighting

Proper positioning and lighting are crucial in achieving the best results with your green screen.

Firstly, it’s important to position your green screen at a sufficient distance behind you. This will prevent any shadows or spills from affecting the background. Ideally, the distance between you and the green screen should be at least a few feet. This will also give you enough space to move around freely without accidentally touching the green screen.

Secondly, proper lighting is crucial in achieving the best results. Make sure the green screen is evenly lit without any bright spots or shadows. This can be achieved by using multiple lights to evenly distribute the light across the green screen. In addition to having a key and fill light for your subject, it can be worth adding a backlight positioned behind the subject, pointing towards the green screen. This will help separate the subject from the background and ensure that the green screen is lit consistently.

Green Screen Setup from Elgato
Green screen positioning and lighting

Camera and Resolution

Finally, it’s important to consider your choice of camera or webcam for using a green screen in OBS. A higher resolution camera will result in a sharper chroma key, giving you the best quality removal of the green screen.

Fortunately, there are plenty of webcams on the market today that capture at 1080p or even 4K resolutions, be sure to check out our reviews.

Removing a Green Screen in OBS Studio

Adding Camera and Background Sources

Before removing the green screen in OBS Studio, you need to add your webcam or camera source. Here are the steps to do that:

  1. Open OBS Studio and create a new scene or select an existing one.
  2. In the Sources pane, click the + button to add a new source.
  3. Choose Video Capture Device for your webcam or camera input.
  4. Select the device from the dropdown menu and configure other settings as needed.

You also need to add the source that will go behind your camera, replacing the green screen background. Typically, this is your Game Capture source, but it could also be an image or video of your choosing. To add your Game Capture source, follow these simple steps:

  1. Click the + button in the Sources pane once again and select Game Capture.
  2. Give the source a name if you wish.
  3. For Mode, select Capture any full-screen application. If this doesn’t work, choose Capture specific window and then select the game’s .exe from the Window dropdown.
  4. Use the ˄ and ˅ buttons in the Sources pane to reposition your webcam or camera source to be above your game capture source.
Adding Webcam and Game Capture to OBS
Reposition your camera source “above” your game capture source

Configuring Chroma Key Filter

Once your sources are set up, follow these steps to configure the chroma key filter to remove your green screen:

  1. Right-click on your webcam or camera source in the Sources pane.
  2. Select Filters from the context menu to open the filters window.
  3. Click the + button on the Effect Filters window and choose Chroma Key from the list.
  4. Name the filter and adjust the following settings to optimize the chroma key effect:
    • Key Color Type: Choose Green for a green screen.
    • Similarity: Adjust the slider to remove more or less of the green color.
    • Smoothness: Increase or decrease this value to control the edge refinement.
    • Key Color Spill Reduction: Modify this setting to minimize green reflections on your subject.
Chroma Key Filter in OBS
Configuring the Chroma Key Filter

After configuring the chroma key filter, the green screen in your video source should be replaced with the game capture or media source you added earlier. You can continue adjusting the settings to achieve the best result for your stream.

Optimizing Green Screen Effects

Reducing Shadow and Spill

To minimize shadows and key color spill, which can negatively impact the overall green screen effect, follow these tips:

  • Ensure even lighting across your green screen.
  • Position your main light source at a 45-degree angle from the subject to avoid creating shadows.
  • Use a fill light on the opposite side to soften any remaining shadows.
  • Use a backlight behind the subject pointing at the green screen.
  • Keep the subject at least 3-4 feet away from the green screen to avoid color spills.
  • Make sure to iron or steam your green screen fabric to remove any wrinkles, which can create shadows.

Proper setup and lighting will considerably enhance the green screen effect in OBS. Remember, be patient and don’t rush the process; keep experimenting with lighting and the filter settings to find the perfect balance for your specific setup.

Managing System Resources

Balancing Quality and Performance

When using a green screen in OBS, it’s crucial to consider the impact on your system resources. Chroma Keying, in particular, can be a CPU-intensive process that requires a significant amount of system resources. When combined with encoding video and running a game, this can put a strain on your computer’s performance and cause issues such as lag or dropped frames in OBS.

One tip that can help if you’re cropping your webcam or camera source at all is to use the crop filter before the chroma key filter. This will ensure that you’re not wasting resources keying out something that would be cropped anyway.

Crop Filter before Chroma Key filter OBS
Add a Crop/Pad Filter before the Chroma Key Filter

Alternative Software and Tools

While OBS Studio is a popular choice for setting up a chroma key, there are other software options available that offer similar functionality. Streamlabs Desktop and Twitch Studio, for example, both offer built-in chroma key features that allow you to easily remove your green screen background.

In Streamlabs Desktop, you can add a chroma key filter by selecting your video source and clicking on the Filters button. From there, you can add a new filter and select Chroma Key from the list. You can then adjust the settings to achieve the desired effect, such as adjusting the color range or smoothing out any rough edges.

In Twitch Studio, adding a chroma key filter is just as simple. Add a Webcam layer to a Scene and open up the Green Screen Effect options. Choose the color to remove and adjust the Similarity, Edge Transparency, and Edge Color Correction sliders to fine-tune.

Streamlabs Desktop Chroma Key Filter
Chroma Key Filter in Streamlabs Desktop
Twitch Studio Green Screen Effect
Green Screen Effect inTwitch Studio

No Green Screen? No Problem

NVIDIA Broadcast

If you don’t own a physical green screen but still want to remove the background from your webcam or camera source, NVIDIA Broadcast is a great option to consider. This dedicated software from NVIDIA allows you to apply green screen effects and virtual backgrounds without the need for a physical green screen.

While the results may not be quite as good as chroma keying a physical green screen, NVIDIA Broadcast is still an impressive option that is well worth checking out. It’s important to note that eagle-eyed viewers may be able to notice some slight artifacts, but the overall effect is still professional-looking and engaging.

To use NVIDIA Broadcast, you’ll need a supported NVIDIA GPU (RTX 2060 or newer) as the software uses specific Tensor Cores only found on those models. You’ll also need to download the NVIDIA Broadcast app and have it running anytime you want to use their Virtual Background effect.

Nvidia Broadcast Background Removal
NVIDIA Broadcast – Background removal

Elgato Camera Hub

If you’re using an Elgato webcam such as the Facecam or Facecam Pro, you’ll have access to AI Background effects in Camera Hub. This feature still uses NVIDIA’s Video Effects SDK and therefore requires a supported NVIDIA GPU, but it allows you to make adjustments to the effect in Camera Hub without the need to run NVIDIA Broadcast at all times.

The AI Background Effects in Camera Hub offer a range of virtual backgrounds and green screen effects that you can apply to your livestream or video content. By adjusting the settings in Camera Hub, you can customize the effect to achieve the desired look, without the need for a physical green screen.

Camera Hub AI Background
Elgato Camera Hub – AI Background Effects

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Poor Lighting Conditions

One of the main reasons for a low-quality livestream when using a green screen in OBS is poor lighting. To solve this issue, it’s crucial to ensure that your green screen receives even and consistent lighting. Shadows and bright spots on the screen can be avoided by positioning lights at a 45-degree angle from both sides.

If you don’t have access to professional lighting equipment, regular lamps can be used and placed strategically to create uniform lighting on your green screen. It’s recommended to match the bulbs of different lamps where possible, as this will ensure that they’re outputting the same color temperature.

Summary

And there you have it, folks! A comprehensive guide to using a green screen in OBS to take your livestreams or video content to the next level. With the right green screen, lighting setup, camera, and OBS settings, you can create professional-looking content that engages and impresses your viewers.

Whether you’re a seasoned streamer or just starting out, knowing how to add a chroma key filter in OBS is a great tool to have at your disposal. So grab your green screen, set up your lighting, and start creating! We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Video Guide

As with all of our guides, below we have included a full video tutorial if that is your preferred method of learning.

Green Screen Stream Setup in OBS Studio or Streamlabs OBS

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The founder of Gaming Careers with a borderline unhealthy obsession for cameras, microphones, and all things streaming. He gets mistaken for Stephen Merchant at least 5 times a day.

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