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How to Use a Green Screen Background in Your Videos

When it comes to a brand’s video production, a green screen is pretty much an essential tool.

While it’s quite popular in filmmaking, you’d find a lot of YouTubers, gamers, and social media influencers opting for a green screen to change their background. After all, it takes them one step closer to that perfectly polished video content that makes their viewers say…amazing!!!

how to use a green screen

In this post, we’re diving deep into the world of green screens. From the basics to the setup and even use cases, we’ll examine what makes green screens tick.

What is a Green Screen?

Odds are you’ve probably watched a Hollywood movie created using the magic of a green screen. To a non-specialist, it looks like a green backdrop behind the actors or talent. But a green screen is more than a green cloth.

It is a visual effects (VFX) technique that layers two images or video streams together to create a background or foreground that isn’t available — think of those movies depicting the historical era or your favorite sci-fi movies.

How does a Green Screen work?

Well, using the green screen is part of the chroma key process. It’s the secret to removing backgrounds or foregrounds from footage and replacing them with lifelike subjects.

Simply put, chroma-keying is removing a particular color in a digital image using special software and making it transparent to fill it with another subject.

But, hey, don’t be mistaken here: a green screen isn’t always green. It could be any single color backdrop. That said, green is often the most commonly used color as it has a good amount of contrast with human skin tones – which makes it easy to remove and replace with another background during post-production.

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How to Use a Green Screen?

It could easily be argued that setting up a green screen takes the fun out of video production. However, following the correct process is crucial to turn a potentially time-consuming task into a quick and easy activity. So, here you go.

Step 1: Choose the right green screen

The type of green screen background you choose affects your overall video production experience. Thus, kick things off by picking the right product from the wide range of options available out there. Here are the most common types of green screens:

  • Green seamless fabric;
  • Pull-up green screens;
  • Green screen cyclorama.

For example, if your top priority is ease-of-use, a pull-up green screen with its retractable design is the best bet for you. But if you have less real estate and need a product that consumes less space, then green seamless paper roll backdrops may be a good fit.

Step 2: Set it up

Once you have the green screen background of your choice, set it up with utmost care. Make sure that it’s flat and wrinkle-free and is visible in the frame in such a manner that it covers the entire background.

Step 3: Focus on the lighting

Just as proper lighting is important for the talent to stand out in a video, it’s also essential to make the green screen work well. Having separate lighting for your green screen will ensure that the “keying out” process is done right.

While you may easily find several options for chroma key kit lighting, most of them don’t make the cut. So instead, invest in a setup with diffused lighting that hits the screen from above. It will help prevent those awkward directional shadows.

Additionally, you can give softboxes a try for that even light that subtly illuminates the subject.

How to light a face for video

How to light a face? It's easy to do wrong. In this video, Tomás from FirstCut will share his Pro tips on how to use natural and studio light when you make a talking head video.

Step 4: Mind the distance

Often, if there’s just a tiny gap between the subject and the green screen, a green spill may occur. It can also take place if the production requires too much green screen and green floor. Unfortunately, this green spill or green-screen bounce can make post-production difficult.

Thus, whether you’re producing a video to record yourself, another talent, or demonstrate a product, make sure there’s enough distance (ideally, 4 feet) between the subject and the green screen to avoid the green light being bounced onto the subject.

Step 5: Get a tripod

Now that you have your green screen setup ready, it’s time to focus on the camera. Creating perfect videos is hard. But what’s harder is remaining stable and in focus when the shoot is on. To achieve green screen success, ensure that your camera is steady and your subject stays in focus. And that’s where getting a tripod becomes a necessity.

Get a good quality tripod to prevent shaky footage that makes chroma keying difficult and the final cut abysmal.

Step 6: Shoot

Once your green screen is set up, go ahead and shoot your video. Lights, camera, green screen, action!

Step 7: Edit the footage

So much of using a green screen boils down to your editing. This is why you must begin the post-production edits with a rough-cut to avoid keying out green screen from footage that you may not use at all. You can use to trim your video, crop it, resize it, add subtitles and do more before editing the green screen.

Once you have a rough cut ready, you can then use an editing tool like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro to key out the green screen and fill it with your desired background. You can then further customize your video by adding music, watermarking, or rotating it.

5 Green Screen Use Cases + Examples

1. Newscasting

Ever watched a weather forecast and noticed that CGI map? Well, that’s a green screen background working its charm.

Check out what Meteorologist Kaylee Wendt shares about what goes into the science behind using a green screen for newcasting, especially weather forecasting.

Wendt's Weather: Explaining the Green Screen

Kaylee Wendt goes into the science behind how a green screen works.

2. Motion pictures

The same green screen that’s served newscasting well, extends its benefits to the entertainment industry, especially motion pictures. Many of those big blockbusters with gigantic sets have been produced using a green screen, for example, Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War.

Filming Avengers: Infinity War | Behind the Scenes (B-Roll)

Go Behind the Scenes of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR in this EXCLUSIVE video.

3. Gaming videos

If you’re a gamer, you’d understand the importance of live gaming to build your audience. And this is where a green screen comes in handy to deliver you an immersive broadcasting experience through chroma keying.

But, hang on, Padawan. It’s not a matter of seconds.

Here’s what creator Dale Atwood has to share about making a gaming video with a green screen:


I show you step by step on how to make a gaming video with the industry standard look using a green screen to have the background removed.

4. Social media videos

You’d think you need to be a gamer to use a green screen, but that’s where you get wrong. Creating videos using green screens has hit the mainstream consciousness. In a world where almost everyone seems to be making videos, chroma-keying helps add interesting backdrops to social media videos and build viewership.

Don’t take our word for it. Watch this pretty old example by YouTuber Iman:

President Obama on Death of Osama SPOOF- BEHIND THE SCENES

CLICK TO SEE THE FULL VIDEO: Written and performed by: Iman Crosson Twitter Facebook

5. Live streaming

Again, not every live stream is about gaming. From Instagram Live Streaming for Business to LinkedIn Live, there are various ways in which going live on social media platforms can help you build a brand.

So, why not make the most of your live broadcasts by enhancing them with exciting backdrops? Plus, with most live streaming software offering chroma key support, it makes all the more sense to use a green screen for your broadcasts.

Need a tutorial on how to live stream with a green screen? BoxCast is ready to help with this one:

How to Live Stream with a Green Screen (OBS Tutorial)

Follow this quick guide to set up your first green screen and replace a background with chroma key using OBS.

What’s next?

There you have it – using this easy guide, we uncovered just how easy using a green screen is.

So, now that you know how to use a green screen for video content, go ahead and create awesome videos all year round, regardless of what’s in the background.

Well, this was all about videos, but if you want to remove the background from an image and change it with another one, don’t forget to use’s image background remover. It’s simple, quick, and precise.

Have you ever removed the background from a video or image? How was the process? Share your thoughts in the comments below and keep the conversation going.

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