Virtual Backgrounds are all the rage these days. With much of the workforce now working remotely companies have come to rely on companies like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and more to conduct business. Some of these companies have distinguished themselves by providing a clever, but oddly important feature that allows users to change their backgrounds. And, there are questions about whether a green screen for Zoom (or any virtual conferencing solution for that matter) is needed or will help.
We answer these questions and more in our guide to using a green screen for Zoom meetings. We also share a few greens screens you can buy for your virtual meetings.
Virtual backgrounds have become one of the hottest features used by a workforce that has been forced (almost overnight) to work from their kitchens, dining rooms, nursery, basement and any number of other places that were not intended to be a home office.
Employees may be embarrassed by their home office and wish to hide some of the mess while still maintaining a professional appearance with colleagues. Or, they simply may want to have a little fun during the endless parade of daily virtual meetings.
Employing a virtual background allows folks using Zoom or other similar technologies to superimpose a false background behind them during their call. Instead of showing the messy basement they can superimpose a modern loft office space or pretend they are in a conference room or heck, even pretend they are an amusement park or on top of a mountain.
This feature has become wildly popular, but you will get the best possible results when using a green screen during your Zoom or Teams or Webex meeting. Let’s examine why.
By the way, if you are looking for virtual backgrounds for your meetings check out our repository of free backgrounds:
Do you need a Green Screen for Zoom?
No, but it will improve your experience if you use virtual backgrounds. Technically, a green screen is not required to use Zoom’s virtual background feature (or any other virtual meeting technology), but it will definitely improve your experience – especially if the wall behind your camera is not smooth.
In case you don’t know what a green screen is, In Focus Film School notes:
“Green screen is a visual effects (VFX) technique where two images or video streams are layered — i.e. composited — together. Green screens basically let you drop in whatever background images you want behind the actors and/or foreground. It’s used in film production (and also in news and weather reports) to relatively simply place the desired background behind the subject/actor/presenter. When a background isn’t available – like a fictional, alien, historic, futuristic or even just hard-to-access location – green screen comes to rescue! A vibrant, almost neon green is the standard choice because it’s strong and usually a distinctly different colour from anything on the subject (e.g. the actor’s clothes, eyes, hair, accessories).“
Without a green screen the camera may have trouble differentiating itself from you and the background and you might find yourself “headless” on screen or more likely very choppy with parts of your body coming in and out on camera or distorted. This “flicker” can be very frustrating. To be clear, Zoom or Microsoft Teams do NOT REQUIRE a green screen, but your results will significantly improve if you use one.
Using a green screen eliminates all of those issues mentioned in the last paragraph giving you a smooth, uncluttered background for your camera to work with as it presents that cool image of you sitting inside a virtual bar or at the beach.
Where to buy a Green Screen for Zoom
The good news for virtual team meeting users is that green screen technology is pretty inexpensive. If you have a can of neon green paint you could just paint the wall behind you, but if you are looking at something less permanent there’s several options. Here’s a few ideas:
- Good Value: Ravelli 6×10′ Chromakey Green Video Background
- Most Creative: Removable Peel and Stick Green Screen Wallpaper
- Best Price: Redshop 160x200cm Fabric Green Screen Backdrop
- Unnecessarily Expensive: Elgato – Green Screen Collapsible Chroma Key Panel
There you go! While it’s not necessary, a green screen will definitely enhance your virtual team meeting experience.
How to use a green screen for Zoom meetings
Using a green screen during your zoom meeting is simple. Simply place the green screen behind your camera and the camera will do the rest! Ideally your green screen should expand a little beyond the viewing capabilities of your camera to ensure the image isn’t interrupted in anyway. Ideally the screen should be flat, but it doesn’t have to be. A few wrinkles are likely going to be ok.
Thanks and stay safe out there!
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