Tuesday, July 6, 2021

$13 Green Screen for Video Conferences

To get a better Zoom virtual background, I purchased a 2 x 3 m photographic backdrop sheet, online for $12.99 (including postage). This is chroma key green colored, almost the same as the $4 sheet of apple green cloth I purchased from a local store. The professional cloth has the advantage that it is twice the width and so when hung landscape mode is the right size for a video conference backdrop.

The sheet came with four clips and wall anchors to hang it. I used the clips to secure the sheet over a freestanding folding room divider. about 150 mm behind my chair. With the ends of the screen curved in slightly on each side, this fills the view from my screen mounted web camera.

The sheet requires even soft light. Direct sunlight, or a spotlight will cause bright patches, and shadows which the virtual background setting can't handle. I was a little disappointed that the sheet did not have a loop sewn in one side so a pole could be passed though it, as depicted in advertisement. A bed sheet with a sewn edge, which a pole can be threaded through to hang it, might be a better option.

There are many types of Chroma key color cloth offered for sale online. Check the size, as these tend to be advertised showing the larger 2 x 3 m sheet I purchased, but with the price of a smaller 1 x 1.6 m option. Also the sheets are shown on specially designed stands held with clips. However the stands are not normally included in the price and the clips may not be either.

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