If you want an empty background when you stream or record from your webcam, you need a green screen. A green screen allows webcam software to accurately impose any background that you want in place of the original. Setting up a green screen is cheap but not everyone has the room for it. If you need to remove a video background but can’t set up a green screen, you have some software options that you can use.
We should tell you right now that the results with a green screen will always be better no matter how great the software is. Additionally, the quality of your webcam will also matter though we’re showing you results from a basic one and they’re reasonable for the camera that was used.
In order to get the results that we did, we encourage you to dim or turn off lights that light up the background. It’s a good idea if the room is generally dark. Of course, you will need a light on your desktop to light up your face.
You can use a small desk lamp or, if you’re on a super tight budget, you can put up a white background on your screen. This won’t work if you plan to stream live game play because the game will then take up all your screen.
It helps if you wear a brighter color so that it’s easier to distinguish from the dark background. I wore dark grey and it still worked well but if you want good results, try wearing a color that won’t blend with a dark background. Don’t wear green.
Remove video background
We tested two apps that can remove a video background live. Neither of these apps are free but both have a free version that adds a watermark to the video. The two apps we tested are;
Chromacam and XSplit VCam.
Chromacam is free and the watermark it adds isn’t too bad. If you’re not streaming live, you can probably crop most of it out in post production. The paid version costs $20 which is fairly cheap.
XSplit VCam‘s free version adds watermarks that will obstruct your face so the free version is hard to use. The paid version costs $50.
We recommend you try the free version of both apps with whatever webcam you have. Your webcam’s quality, and the recording environment will have an impact on the results. For this tutorial, we’re going to show you how you can record live with both apps via Open Broadcast Studio which is standard for most users.
Stream via OBS
If you don’t know how to configure OBS to record from your camera, we’ll walk you through it. Install either or both the two apps we’ve recommended. It’s up to you which one you want to try. The steps for both are same. The difference is really in installing the app.
Install and launch OBS. You’ll see the following screen. Click the plus button under sources as indicated below.
In the menu that opens, click the Video capture device option. Give the source a name but don’t change anything else on the first screen that you see. When you see the following screen, open the Device dropdown. Select the name of the app that you want to use i.e., Select either Chromacam or XSplit VCam.
For XSplit you will see the following window after the app runs its first set up. From the Filter dropdown, select Remove Background.
For Chromacam, the background is already set to be removed so you won’t have to do anything to set it up.
After that, wait for the app to load. You can see the results for Chromacam below. I applied the face blur myself. That’s not the app.
And for XSplit VCam here’s what the video stream looks like after removing the background.
Both apps work more or less the same though in some cases, we found Chromacam to be much better. As for the webcam we used, it has a 1280 x 720 resolution and can record 30fps which is by no means a high quality camera.