How To Set up a Green Screen for Livestreaming (Using Streamlabs Desktop)

The humble green screen is a simple tool that allows you to seamlessly remove or replace your video background to give your stream a professional look. Using a technology called chroma key compositing that dates back to the early 20th century, Streamlabs Desktop can automatically detect all the green (or any other color) in your video and seamlessly remove it so you can easily put yourself in front of any background. Here are just a few of the things you can do with a green screen:

  • Edit out your bedroom or other unflattering backgrounds
  • Regain some screen space to show more of the game you’re playing
  • Replace your background with custom graphics
  • Combine two green-screened subjects into one setting to make it look like they’re in the same place

Ready to get started? It all begins with setting up and lighting the screen.

Chroma key compositing is commonly used to create visual effects for film and TV.

Preparing and Lighting Your Green Screen

First, you need the screen itself. You can find convenient pop-up and roll-away models online, but if you want to make a DIY green screen for streaming, any solid green or blue sheet will work in a pinch. Although chroma keying works with any color, green and blue work best because they’re the least similar to human skin tones, so you don’t have to worry about parts of your body disappearing.

When it comes to positioning your green screen, try to put it as far behind you as possible. This will minimize shadows, which helps Streamlabs separate you from the screen for a seamless image. However, your screen still needs to be close enough (or large enough) to fill the whole frame so you can remove your entire background.

For the best effect possible, you’ll need to make sure your green screen is brightly and evenly lit. If it isn’t, you may get inconsistent results or a “glitchy” effect in areas that are brighter or darker. For best results, get a couple of dedicated lights just for the screen, in addition to the lights you use to illuminate yourself

Finally, don’t wear any green clothing or jewelry. If you have green eyes or hair, try using a blue screen instead. The effect works best if only the background is green.

The Streamlabs Desktop Chroma Key filter features several settings for fine-tuning the effect.

Streamlabs Desktop Green Screen Setup

Got your screen set up and lit properly? Good. Now, it’s just a matter of opening Streamlabs and tweaking some settings. In just a few clicks, you’ll be on your way to a professional-looking stream! 

Under Sources, right-click on your video source and select “Filters.” Then, click the plus sign (+) and select “Chroma Key” from the list (not Color Key, which has fewer options for fine-tuning). You’ll be presented with a preview window where you can adjust several settings to get the effect just right:

  • Similarity – This setting controls the range of hues that Streamlabs will key out. If your screen is unevenly lit and only the “greenest” parts of it are being detected, move this slider to the right until all the green is gone.
  • Smoothness – Use this to soften the edges of the green area and create a smoother transition between you and the background. This can be useful if you have frizzy hair or clothing with a texture that makes your outline appear fuzzy.
  • Key color spill reduction – Sometimes, your lighting will cause some green tones to reflect onto your skin or clothes. Adjust this slider to fix this issue.
  • Opacity – Move this slider to the right to make yourself more transparent.
  • Contrast – This affects the overall difference between light and dark in your source.
  • Brightness – This affects the overall brightness of your source.
  • Gamma – Essentially a more subtle form of brightness and contrast control, Gamma correction adjusts the amount of dynamic range between light and dark.

In the preview window, your background will turn black wherever Streamlabs removes the green. Once you’ve tweaked the settings a bit, go back to your main Scene to witness the magic of chroma key at work—you should now see yourself superimposed on your own background! From here, you can continue to fine-tune the effect until it’s truly seamless. 

For more streaming tips, check out our gaming blogs.