This is one of those questions that you see popping up a bit everywhere and it’s understandable why. I could give a pretty blanket statement for both sides of yes and no BUT that’s not what I do here. Instead I’m going to go deep into the issue and give you points and counterpoints so you can make the best decision for your own stream.
The good parts about a green screen
If you look at the most common answers is that it’s a cleaner look and a more streamlined appearance. It allows for a lot less clutter over your gameplay and that in turn allows for a minimal approach to the rest of your in-game overlay. This is important for those streamers that want to highlight the game over anything else. Even if you don’t want something that’s super minimal, and there’s a lot of valid reason for that, it will also allow you to actually add a bunch of personal details in the in-game overlay. For instance you can add certain events that then trigger an animation, you could add animations, annotations and even you yourself interact with the game, let your viewers interact with you and with certain streaming software even animate the camera itself.
Out of game there’s also a lot of things you can do to further create a experience between your brand and the viewer, and that goes for both those that want a minimal and those that want a more minimal look. As mentioned above you can take certain aspects and be creative with the engagement and interaction with your camera to your audience. Maybe that’s enough of a reason to invest in having a green screen for your Twitch channel.
The bad parts about a green screen
We’ve all seen it, it’s the badly lit green screen with a bunch of fringing. It’s not a good look and it will make you look unprofessional, that alone should convince you to either invest in the right lightning or maybe skipping the green screen all together. Considering all of that then maybe having a green screen for your Twitch channel isn’t the best idea.
As you can see green screen comes with both a technical aspect and a bit of a learning curve. You need to understand the how to light it to create a flat green surface. And while a bunch of tutorials says a 3 lighting system is enough, it’s very much depending on what lights, light leaks and the space it self. I did all of these things before Twitch for special effects classes and short films, it’s tedious work but it can be worth it when done right.
Furthermore most streaming programs (specially free ones) aren’t the best, at the moment, to actually key out, do secondary keys, decontaminate colors, feathering and better alpha control etc. The programs exists but they’re not free and I don’t expect them to end up being free for awhile, but there’s a chance that I’m wrong and if I find one or if you know about one, then let me know.
Lastly the camera. This show have two villains the light and the camera, you can handle the action on your own. The more pixels the better, the more information you can feed into what ever keying program you’re going to use the better outcome it will have. So even if you have a really nice HD webcam it’s not going to do the same job as a video camera. On top of that you’re limited by the streaming program capabilities of doing a key as well.
What to do without a green screen
As I mentioned with a green screen you could add artificial personal touches. Now that dosen’t men you can’t do the same with one, but I would be a bit careful since your camera is already taking up space. However what you can do is take measures to create a good looking backdrop. Having a bookcase filled with fanart, sent in gifts, interesting things you’ve collected etc. will even further show your personality. It will show not only new viewers directly what you’re about be show a common interest between you can your current audience. With only a few seconds sometimes to show who you are, not having having a green screen and instead invest in your backdrop can possibly mean the difference between someone pushing the follow button or not.
Of course this all rests on how willing you are to actually spend time to maintain that backdrop. Every thing you put behind you in the camera view will in turn reflect on you. From a messy backdrop, seasonal backdrop, high-production backdrop to the nerdy backdrop.
In TV, film and photography there’s something called the rule of thirds, this is a rule where you split the screen into six parts and then line up your subject with those lines. It will provide a better and more interesting image and most streamers don’t even think about this. Is this something that you can play with? Maybe. I would at least love to see someone out there try it out and see what the audience feels.
So as you can there’s good reasons and bad reasons to have green screen for your Twitch channel but there’s also good and bad reasons to use a backdrop instead of a green screen for your Twitch channel. What it comes down to is what fits your channel the best, that’s why I give you a lot of points and counter points so you can make the best decision for your channel and not just follow a trend.
Where here again, it’s the end of the weekend. I watched Star Wars yesterday and I really liked it and I know it premiers all over the world tomorrow so go and see it.
Other then that both the projects I talked about last time are moving forward. For the Twitter one I’m now up to 10 pieces and I want to get up to 20-30 before the end of the year so I got a bunch of stuff to do. You can follow me on Twitter to see when that starts to go out live next month @visiblespeech
Now I have to get going with answering a bunch of e-mail and get started with today’s workload (I’m writing this in the morning and posting it in the evening). Have a great weekend and stream the best stream you’ve ever streamed!