What Is Background Removal
Software removes your camera image background, enabling you to select an image to replace it. The software is for one camera when you have guests on your broadcast; they will also need background removal software,
The software creates a virtual camera which your broadcasting system can use. The image can be one of your photos or an image from the internet.
How does the software work?
The screenshots in this section are from Xsplit Vcam.
Download and Install Xsplit Vcam. Add your camera to the software.
In your BeLive Studio check your camera settings, Xsplit Vcam will be one of the options, select it. You can now follow the steps I take.
1. Initial Camera View
This is your camera’s standard output at the beginning. It’s the default video feed you get when you connect your camera to the studio.
Here we can see me and my office background with my green screen in place.
2. The Software Removes Your Current Background
This step leaves just me on-screen with a blank background.
3. Show a new background
Select a new background image and upload it to your software.
4. Connect your new virtual camera to your broadcasting software.
Your broadcasting software can make use of the new virtual camera created by the background removal software.
In this case, I also zoomed in using the Logitech camera software.
The Benefits of Using Green Screen software
Bridgetti Lim Banda and I started using background removal software on our regular Friday broadcast in January 2019; green screen software was quickly improving and becoming more popular. Bridgetti was using Ecamm on a Mac. I was using XSplit Vcam on Windows; over the months we saw improvements in both software sets.
We have been using green screens in our broadcasts ever since then.
We agree about the real benefits of using this technique in our live broadcasts.
Using background images, you can transport your audience to faraway places, and you can illustrate the stories you tell.
Backgrounds can set the mood for a broadcast not just for your viewers but for you too.
When you use backgrounds that you have selected, you can feel more at home, more relaxed and surprisingly more confident.
Viewers appreciate the time you take selecting the images to enhance your broadcast.
By using a virtual background you can:
- Change your background at any point during the live broadcast. Change your topic and change your backdrop.
- Explore other locations.Your background is no longer limited to one location. When you use backgrounds, you can broadcast from anywhere, and viewers will not notice (unless you tell them )
- Illustrate the stories you tell, changing the images as your story progresses.
- Show images from anywhere in the world: your home town, where you are now, where you would like to be, your vacations – transporting people to faraway places.
- Illustrate your appreciation of art by showing your favourite paintings. Doing so adds variety to your show.
- Use it commercially for promoting your business or cause because your background is your real estate.
- Set an alluring background to match the mood of the music you play.
The Essential Elements of Using Background Removal Software
Green screen software is available on Windows and Mac; there is a list here.
If you use and can recommend other software, then please add it to the list.
Certain suppliers of broadcasting software have also developed an integral green screen system.
The quality of the software does vary, and I would suggest that you try before you buy.
Physical Green Screen
I have seen and used systems which say that you can green screen without building or buying a physical green screen.
Without a green screen, you can have a good picture. I have a way to test this way of working, move about and wave your arms. If the picture remains intact as you do this and you are satisfied with the performance, you can work without a green screen.
I use a portable green screen, and it gives a near-perfect picture.
The image above, taken from a live broadcast looks like I am physically in Dresden. The picture is near perfect.
The background is clear and sharp; my camera feed shows perfectly; there is no blurring around the edges of my face or body. Notice there is no reflection in my glasses.
Good lighting makes the difference between a reasonable image on the screen and a near-perfect one.
With just room lights, the image will look blurry around your face and body.
You need to be well lit, in the same way as the lighting is in a photographic studio.
Try first with your existing broadcasting lights.
If you wish to improve the quality further, then add softboxes. For the images you see above, I had one positioned on my left, a second on my right.
Obtaining the perfect picture is a never-ending quest 🙂
Your Screen Presence
A green screen image looks best when you are sitting still and not moving.
Watch one of your recent videos and see how much you move when live on-screen, you will be amazed how often you:
- Move your hands
- Turn your head to left or right.
- Get distracted and move to take a closer look at something.
- Scratch your nose or touch your glasses.
- Fidget with your hands.
We will never be statues, but if we can reduce the movements, the screen’s image will remain clear and crisp. Try to practice before going live and discover what works best.
Finding New Backgrounds
We can use any image as a background; some work better than others.
You will find that images with fluffy white cloud at the top can be problematic; it looks like your hair is blowing in a non-existent breeze.
Choose images which have a darker background if you can.
We can obtain thousands of images from the excellent Unsplash site. Photographers around the world have uploaded the photos. We can use them for free; I tweet out a thank you, which mentions the photographer.
If you google free images to use, you will discover nearly 12 billion search results from which to choose.
XSplit VCam for Green Screens Updated January 2021
In the video, I illustrate the power of green screens in live broadcasting and provide a guide to using XSplit Vcam with BeLive.
Xsplit VCam is a virtual camera. In your BeLive Studio, when you select your camera, you will see Xsplit VCam as one of the options.
Green Screen Evolution
Background removal software has improved immensely since Bridgetti, and I started using it, probably since the last time you tried it.
With today’s technology, we can produce near-perfect images combining our camera feed and backdrops of our choosing. We can all be innovative and creative!
Steven is part of BeLive’s marketing team as a content writer. He lives in Wiltshire England close to Stonehenge, He broadcasts 6 times a week on BeLive and is an admin of the Belivers group on Facebook. He enjoys being out in the countryside and marathon walking.