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Dress Your Streaming Background for Success with a Green Screen

Looking to display an impressive background while streaming from home with Skype, Zoom, or similar interfaces? Whether you want to use a simulated starship deck, a tropical beachscape, or simply a photo of your true work office, read on to see how a basic green screen can up your streaming game (not that your home office/corner of the sofa is at all cluttered or less than picturesque, of course).

Green screen use is also known as “chroma-keying,” a technique where two layers of video are composited or “keyed” together so that your chosen background replaces the signal read by your camera off the green screen. For a simple virtual background, the live action (you, in this case) is one layer and the green background is the other. Green and blue are the most commonly used colors since they are not present in skin tones and therefore won’t add the background to the upper layer. Your video switcher/mixer or, in this case, your streaming service, will combine the two layers; all you need to remember is to not wear clothing in the same color as your screen. If you do want to delve deeper into live and post-production techniques, read this helpful Glossary of Live Production Buzzwords by my colleague Peter Ward.

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