The best green screen for streaming is a chroma key panel designed for the needs of gamers and live streamers alike. The durability of fabric, the strength of the chroma key and whether it’s a collapsible green screen are all important factors to consider. Furthermore, the software tips and tricks required to deliver a professional quality live streaming experience are detailed within.
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Elgato Green Screen
Elgato Green Screen
The most popular green screen for gaming and live streaming is the Elgato Green Screen. Many streamers on Twitch, YouTube and Facebook all proudly don this as their go-to green screen and for good reason.
Elgato has long been a name synonymous with high quality gaming and live streaming products and their foray into green screens is no different. This green screen is a collapsible chroma key panel with their pneumatic x-wing design. Allowing it to be opened and set up for streaming in a matter of minutes.
To open this up you simply flip open the aluminum case and pull up on the handle, the green screen will lock into place when fully extended. It is constructed of a wrinkle free polyester called Dacron, created by DuPont. Simple to clean with a damp cloth and quick to tuck away, the Elgato Green Screen is the most popular selection by gamers and streamers alike.
Extended dimensions: 148 x 180 cm / 58.27 x 70.87 inches
Collapsed dimensions: 148 x 10.5 x 11.5 cm / 64.76 x 4.13 x 4.53 inches
Elgato Green Screen MT – Wall Mounted
Elgato Green Screen MT
With the explosion of gaming and live streaming popularity in recent memory, Elgato has aimed to provide more high quality products for the deluge of gamers and streamers on platforms like Twitch.
The Elgato Green Screen MT is an answer to the problem many gamers and streamers had which was a need for a larger green screen with a wall mount. Constructed of the very same, durable and wrinkle free polyester as the Elgato Green Screen, the MT offers a far more sleek design that does not take up an inch of floor space. It can be conveniently placed on a wall and using the handle, pulled open like the screen for a projector.
As this can be mounted to a wall, it can also be hung from the ceiling with hooks and with their precision roller will automatically lock your screen into place. Designed for gaming and streaming their chroma key panel is made for ease of use. Anyone looking to take their live streaming setup to the next level, this is the green screen for you.
Extended dimensions: 190 x 200 cm / 74.8 x 78.74 inches
Retracted dimensions: 212 x 8 x 9.5 cm / 83.46 x 3.15 x 3.74 inches
Fancierstudio Green Screen – Pop Up
Fancierstudio Green Screen Collapsible
The Fancierstudio Green Screen is a collapsible backdrop designed to be portable and on the go. If you lack a permanent gaming and streaming area this is the kind of green screen solution to consider.
This presents you with the option to use a green or blue chroma key, as most standard chroma key panels come in green only. Due to it’s slightly smaller size than previous options, you might also find this easier to light. This could fit right behind your gaming chair while live streaming and when you’re done, collapsed into its bag within a couple of minutes.
Simple and easy to use, the Fancierstudio Green Screen can collapse into a roughly 14 inch diameter circle to be tucked away while not in use. This is a popular and more affordable alternative to more feature driven green screens.
Extended Dimensions: 5 feet wide x 7 feet tall
Neewer Chromakey – Budget Green Screen for Streaming
Neewer Chromakey Muslin Backdrop
The Newer Chromakey Muslin Backdrop is a solid budget green screen made of a thick muslin fabric. This helps it to provide a strong chroma key while remaining wrinkle free. This green screen fabric comes with a series of clips to help you hang or drape your chroma key backdrop in any manner you choose.
This backdrop provides a slightly reflective surface and is designed for general chroma key use cases, not just gaming and streaming. Should you want to interview someone while having an immersive background or cast a gaming tournament that might require a larger green screen area, this is the budget green screen for you.
This is constructed of a seamless single piece design to deliver consistent color throughout the fabric while remaining simple and easy to clean. Light weight, thick muslin fabric and a strong chroma key, you cannot go wrong with the Neewer Chromakey Muslin Backdrop.
Extended Dimensions: 9 x 15 feet
Emart Muslin Backdrop – DIY Green Screen for Streaming
Emart Muslin Backdrop
If you’re looking to build your own green screen then the Emart Muslin Backdrop is the right choice for you. A very soft, muslin fabric that is designed to be a non-reflective surface and with plenty of fabric to go around, while fully extended will cover an area 6 feet by 9 feet.
The Emart Muslin Backdrop also comes with four backdrop clips to help you hang or fix into place a green screen chroma key great for more permanent gaming and live streaming solution. This green screen fabric might require a little bit of ironing to remove the wrinkles, but once you’ve hung it up and set it taut, you shouldn’t have any issues. Most of the wrinkles will come from folding it and packing it away.
This option does not come with any stand or locking frames, but provides you with a huge chroma key muslin fabric perfect to design your perfect live streaming and interactive gaming setup.
Extended Dimensions: 6 feet x 9 feet
Should I Use a Green Screen for Streaming?
The addition of a green screen for your streaming setup is largely up to personal preference. Some of the most popular streamers use it daily, while others only use it during special occasions, like charity streams, fundraisers and seasonal gaming events.
While a green screen can have many uses, it’s best used to create a more immersive live streaming experience with your audience, whether it’s on the Twitch, Youtube or Facebook platforms.
Even though we’re talking about additional steps to include more hardware and software to bring the benefits of a green screen to life, it’s a simple and painless process with the most popular streaming software around.
Both Streamlabs OBS and OBS Studio have the ability to easily add a chroma key filter to your stream without much hassle. And the best part is you can use your current webcam as your source, no need for a special DSLR camera or additional and expensive hardware.
Regardless of the room you’re in or the theme you’re going for, the addition of a green screen can help give any new or veteran streamer a more professional look and feel.
How Do I Use a Green Screen for Streaming?
In order to get the most benefit from using a green screen for streaming we need to learn how to set it up properly and then understand what makes a green screen unique. This largely depends on which type of green screen you have purchased and its important to weigh your options when you decide to reconstruct your gaming and live streaming setup.
How to Setup a Green Screen
Setting up a green screen is a fairly simple process and depends largely on what you have purchased. Some green screens offer hooks for wall mounting, while others offer a retractable base, like a pull down screen used for a projector.
Both of these options can offer the benefit of tucking away the green screen while not in use or the freedom to move the green screen around should you want to move your live streaming setup to another room.
However if you choose a budget or DIY friendly option, you can purchase green screen fabric and create your own backdrop. Often when you purchase a roll of green screen fabric it might come with clips in order to hang your backdrop or you can choose to drape it over a wall, while fixing it taut to avoid wrinkles.
What is a Chroma Key?
The chroma is a color element that is removed from a video source and then replaced or keyed with another element. This effect allows you to remove the background and replace it with another of your choosing, much like how your local weatherman can switch between different weather backgrounds seamlessly and on the fly.
Most chroma key fabric comes in green or blue and like some of the aforementioned options above, it will often depend on your particular use case. If you’re wearing a lot of green clothing or green items, you’d want to use the blue chroma key. However, unless you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day live on stream, you should be fine with a traditional green chroma key.
Once you have the green screen setup and understand how the chroma key works, the next step is to figure out lighting.
Green Screen Lighting Setup Diagram
The most difficult part is not setting up the green screen, but making sure you have proper lighting. Improper lighting can lead to shadows and unfortunately shadows can create havoc on the clarity of your image. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources online to help you overcome this problem.
Depending on your office, living room, bedroom live streaming setup, there are a couple of options to help you attain proper lighting.
In the above examples we can see two options to help maximize the strength of your chroma key and clarity of the newly inserted background..While, depending on your distance from the green screen and your webcam, you will have to position your lights off the side in an effort to minimize and maintain glare, shadows and reflections.
A few key takeaways to remember
- Evenly light your green screen, as improperly lit screens will cause shadows
- An evenly lit green screen can create a better chroma key
- Proper distance will help to alleviate glare from the green screen
- Big, soft lights are known to generate better results
Green Screen Software for Streaming
As each streaming program offers a plethora of options, for this exercise you will be most concerned with the Sources > (Your Webcam) > Filters option.
This will present you with the chroma key and green screen options that you will need to tune in order to broadcast the clearest image.
Chroma Key Settings
- Similarity – this setting tells Streamlabs OBS and OBS Studio the difference between you, who sits in front of the green screen and the image being displayed in the background. If your streaming environment is properly lit, the software will have an easier time determining the difference between the green pixels and the background image being displayed. Therefore leaving you with a crisp and clean image
- Smoothness – this slider determines the smoothness of the image being displayed on the green screen. Too far to the left or too far to the right might give you a disembodied effect where you’re no longer a part of the image, causing too much separation from the background environment. You must tune this setting carefully
- Key Color Spill Reduction – this setting allows you to adjust and reduce the amount of green that can spill off the green screen and onto your hair, skin, chair, etc. This can be common in overly lit live streaming setups
- Opacity – this determines how solid or transparent you will appear on your green screen
- Contrast, Brightness and Gamma – fine tune these settings in according to the quality of the image you’re displaying and how well you’ve lit the environment. The adjustment of these settings will be unique for each individual streamer and will take some trial and error in order to find the sweet spot.
How to Setup a Green Screen for Streaming with Streamlabs OBS
Now we can set up Streamlabs OBS in order to see your webcam and allow you to tune and adjust settings.
- Download and install Streamlabs OBS if you don’t already have it open and ready to use.
- Open Streamlabs OBS and under Sources add your webcam
- Right click on your webcam and select Filter
- Click on the + button to add a Filter
- Select chroma key from the options
- Enter a name for the added layer
- Tune your settings per the aforementioned Chroma Key Settings
Once you have gone through each of these steps, your Streamlabs OBS and your green screen is ready to go for gaming.
How to Setup a Green Screen for Streaming with OBS
OBS Studio is the open sourced, parent software to Streamlabs OBS and by that fact setting it up and getting it ready with your green screen for gaming is much the same.
- Download and install OBS Studio
- Open OBS Studio and Sources add your webcam
- Right click on your webcam and select Filter
- Click on the + button to add a Filter
- Select chroma key from the options
- Enter a name for the added layer
- Adjust your settings per the above Chroma Key Settings
Once you’ve completed these critical steps and are ready to start gaming and streaming with your green screen, let’s take a moment to learn a handful of useful tips in order to maintain your green screen.
Green Screen Tips for Gaming and Streaming
Green screens are relatively easy to maintain and keep clean. But there are some tips you will want to remember before you purchase a green screen.
Green screens can be made from various materials, including cotton, polyester and muslin. A green screen made from polyester like the Elgato options are designed for durability for many uses while remaining wrinkle free.
While cotton is known for producing the best results, it can be more difficult to clean and maintain and it’s prone to wrinkling if not set up properly. Making sure to find a high quality fabric with a higher thread count and a tight weave will generally net you the best results.
One tip to remember while setting up your green screen is to make sure you are lighting it properly to avoid shadows and reflections. This also extends to the type of fabric you’re using, as you want to minimize Key Color Spill, where a green hue can be reflected on you while streaming.
Cotton seems to work the best as a non-reflective surface, but other fabrics might require you to adjust your light source in order to avoid reflections.
Hopefully you’re in a dust free environment with the rest of your live streaming equipment, however if you need to clean your green screen most of these aforementioned green screens are machine washable. In the event yours is mounted to the wall or retractable like the products from Elgato, normally a damp cloth is suitable to clean the surface.
Not all green screens come with a stand in order to prop them up and the desire to have a stand is largely up to your personal use case. A retractable green screen, like Elgato comes with a built-in stand, however collapsible and pop up options might not. Use case matters here and dig into the details to see which is the best option for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Green Screen for Streaming
What green screens do streamers use?
Most gamers and streaming stick to brands they’re familiar with. Corsair has recently purchased Elgato and it’s a brand name that resonates with many. They have been known to produce high quality gaming products and green screens. They make a retractable and a wall mounted green screen that is constructed to be durable and easy to use.
What is the best material for a green screen?
Cotton is often thought of as the best material for a green screen, as a high thread count, tight weave green screen will minimize glare and reflections better than other materials. Neewer Chromakey and Emart Muslin Backdrop make two high quality green screens that fit this description.
How much is a green screen?
Green screens can vary in prices depending on which kit you’re looking to purchase. The cheapest green screen will be a roll of cotton or muslin fabric, however if you’re looking for a retractable or collapsible green screen with a stand, then the cost can increase dramatically. Expect to spend roughly between $50 and $100 US for the best quality fabric..
Can you make your own green screen?
Absolutely! The vast majority of budget or DIY friendly green screens are large rolls of fabric constructed of either cotton or muslin. This is the cheapest and more affordable route for making your own green screen and can be a fun project to design and construct your own live streaming and gaming setup.
How can I make my green screen look better?
To make your green screen look better you need to check a couple of common problems, like lighting, the type of green screen fabric you’re using and Streamlabs OBS or OBS Studio settings. All three of these play a role in how your green screen looks while gaming and it’s important to understand the relationship between them.
Improper lighting can lead to glare, reflections or shadows and it’s important to keep your lights off to the side with proper distance to minimize these effects. Secondly, make sure the green screen fabric is clean and taut without wrinkles. Removing any dust or stains from the fabric plays a relatively large role in its ability to provide a strong chroma key.
Lastly, your Streamlabs OBS or OBS Studio chroma key filter settings can be adjusted and corrected depending on the amount of light in your gaming environment, the position of your webcam and the amount of green key color spill that can bounce off of the green screen and onto you. Most of these settings are defined in an above section to help you tweak and make the appropriate adjustments for your gaming and live streaming setup.
What is the Best Green Screen for Gaming?
Three key factors need to be understood before you can choose the right green screen for you. First you need to understand how you’re going to light your green screen and what kind of gaming environment you’re currently in, whether that’s your bedroom, a living room or an office. Knowing this beforehand is important because you can make a better design decision between a budget friendly role of green screen fabric or if you require a retractable or collapsible green screen that can be tucked away while friends and family come to visit.
Lastly, is learning and understanding how to adjust the software settings provided by Streamlabs OBS and OBS Studio for their chroma key filter. Once you have the green screen installed and ready to go, that is still only half of the battle. Hopefully, the aforementioned chroma key settings and step by step setup guide is a helpful start among your journey to using a green screen and gaming like a pro.