The challenges created by the switch to remote work have prompted the birth of some unique ideas: digital coffee hours, virtual water coolers, and virtual meeting backgrounds are all things that are now a part of our lives.
However, not all ideas are created equal.
In an effort to spruce up their image on Zoom calls, some people have attempted to make their own green screen, hoping to create a tropical island vibe (or something similar) that will enhance their image on calls. The path to making your own green screen may sound familiar: On your first few remote work video calls, you notice your background isn’t the most attractive (maybe even downright distracting!). So, you move to a spot with a blank wall, but now you have an unfortunate glare. Then, you experiment with a preloaded virtual background, but your hair is missing and your glasses blur into your chosen background. Suddenly, before you know it, you’re searching the internet for “creating a green screen at home.”
(Note: We aren’t talking about green screens for motion capture, like the ones they use in movies—that’s another ball of wax! Here, we focus on the home office green screen for background use.)
Unfortunately, the execution of a home green screen rarely lives up to the expectation, and can even be detrimental to your professional appearance. We’re here to caution you against buying that large roll of fabric, unwieldy mounts, or can of Chroma Key Green paint.
Want to make your own green screen? Here are four reasons not to.
1. Working with material is tricky.
Although it’s fairly easy to find material to make your own green screen, the real challenges are getting it to lay flat so it can do its job effectively. If you’re using fabric, it can be difficult to get the wrinkles out. And if you are using vinyl, it has a tendency to glare.
Both issues make it hard for the camera to “read” the green, which then makes your backdrop choppy. Basically, the problems with do-it-yourself green screen material present the same issues as the virtual backgrounds—you could easily blur against the creased or reflective screen.
2. The size of green screens can be hard to manage.
Many people don’t realize just how huge green screens need to be—these were originally designed to be used in television studios, after all. The screen needs to fill the full view of the camera frame, so a green screen takes up a lot of space. Along with the screen itself, you need clamps or tripods to hold it taut, which can create an unwieldy, awkward setup in your home office. (If kids or pets are present, this can get especially cumbersome.) Instead of minimizing distraction, a DIY green screen can amplify it.
3. The aesthetics are less than pleasant.
Picture the color of a green screen—an acidly bright hue that was chosen in part because so few people wear the shocking color. Now, imagine working in front of that wall of bright green all day. The ideal working environment doesn’t include one of the ugliest colors in the spectrum. Instead of making your own green screen, put that energy and time into creating an ideal office space in other ways.
4. You risk looking unprofessional.
Overall, a green screen can too easily detract from the professionalism of a work meeting. A green screen background can make it look as if you’re hiding something or taking the meeting too lightly.
Your background should match the mood of the meeting—don’t try to be funny or use it as a time to experiment. Even if you do select a serious background, like a bookshelf or office scene, you risk a fuzzy silhouette or a flickering or jumpy background, both of which draw participant attention from the work at hand. To show everyone in the meeting that you take it—and your work—seriously, avoid the pitfalls of a green screen.
An Alternative To Make-Your-Own-Green Screens: A Professional, Custom-printed Backdrop
We are still figuring out hybrid work life—hiccups are to be expected. However, now’s the time to embrace virtual work, and show you take it seriously, by making your home office look professional. Thoughtfully planning and executing your video background will help you stand out for all the right reasons.
If you’re still not quite ready to give up on the dream of a green screen, we recommend purchasing one that’s professionally made. Anyvoo offers easy-to-assemble, custom-branded backdrops that are double-sided and include a green screen option. The opposite side can be branded with your company name and a background image of your choosing. The end result: You have a video background that looks polished, and reflects your personality, your business, and your brand.