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Backdrops for Live Streaming

Backdrops for Live Streaming

Written by William Algar-Chuklin

Live Streaming has come a long way in the last few years, so the expectation for high quality content is also on the rise. There are many options to help improve the look of your content, but an easy way to help any video content you produce is the versatile but humble backdrop. Let’s have a look at some simple options available and find the best option for you!

The Rundown:

  • Lots of options
  • Helpful for video and photography work
  • Professional results with minimal effort
 

The humble backdrop is a quick and surprisingly easy way to improve the content you create. It’s a simple fix with really great results. I love mine and use them all the time! The following are the top reasons I consider backdrops so great!

Give your live stream a professional look

A well chosen backdrop will improve the look of your content in many ways. There are a lot of us working from home at the moment and with limited work areas, the right backdrop can hide the clutter and distractions that can pop into the background of any live stream. It can also help stop any unwanted questions about what books you have on your bookshelves, and your current choice of decorative artworks.

Work from anywhere

A backdrop you can take to different locations will also help you find the right location to shoot from. No more need to worry about what’s in the background of your video and even small spaces can become a great choice to shoot from, and giving you the freedom to choose to set up and shoot anywhere. They also have the ability to dampen some of the echoing that can happen in enclosed spaces.

Versatility for any project

This one I appreciate the most. The ability to use a backdrop for both video live streaming and photographic work. In a lot of ways, backdrops provide a lot of value off a simple purchase, from simple backdrops to showcase a subject, to more interesting patterned ones for drama in your shoots.

Backdrop Options

 

Now that we’ve got a better idea of why you’d want to use a backdrop let’s cover a few different options and their pros and cons.

Seamless

This is considered as the go to solution for studio photography, but can work just as well for video work. Seamless Backgrounds are basically giant rolls of different varieties of paper that can be pulled off the roll to provide an instant backdrop. They’re great because:

  • They provide a completely even colour surface to use as a background.
  • They’re easy to light for an interesting look.
  • It’s easy to keep a clean background. Just pull down another section of paper once your current backdrop has become dirty or shows wear and tear.
  • Relatively cheap for great results.

They do have some cons. The main is that large paper rolls can be heavy and cumbersome to move around. Also, depending on how quickly you need to replace the rolls, the cost can start to accumulate over time.

Fabric

This one would be my recommendation for more live stream centric work. Fabric Backgrounds are generally large cotton fabric sheets in plain colours, and more interestingly, also come in painted options giving a more dramatic look. The main reasons to consider a fabric backdrop are:

  • Interesting background patterns that can add some attractiveness to the background of your shoot, without being distracting.
  • With the right choice, a fabric backdrop can be easier to manage and move around, giving you more versatility and freedom.
  • Reusable and hard wearing. A quick wash and the backdrop is clean and ready to go, and ready to take more abuse than a paper backdrop could.

The biggest con to fabric backdrops is the larger upfront cost, but that is outweighed by the durability of fabric vs paper.

Greenscreen

Green Screens are a more interesting choice. Live streaming software options in more recent years have made available the option to select a background replacement to regular consumers. This can have mixed results depending on your current background, but a sure fire way to get consistent results is through the use of a green screen. A green screen is just a large green or blue coloured surface that helps video software to distinguish between you and the background, thus making it easier to cut your background out and replace it with the available option in software

The Pros here are:

  • Really great versatility and control over your background.
  • Gives you a wider selection of creative options with a single backdrop.

The main cons here I feel are that you’d have to consider the lighting and camera angles you’re currently using to better match the background replacement you’re using so you look like you’re actually in that scene. Another one is that your choice of clothing is also going to matter. Wearing a colour that matches the green screen colour will also cause that item to show the background replacement.

Signing Off

Hopefully that gives you a better idea of different background options available to you. I highly recommend including one in your next livestream or conference call. They really bring a professional look to any shoot with minimal effort and what I reckon is an awesome return on investment.

Whatever your livestreaming needs, you will need the right equipment. C.R. Kennedy can help you find the best cameras, lenses and accessories for you.

If you need more information on cameras and other camera accessories, check out more articles on the C.R. Kennedy blog.

William Algar-Chuklin is a night and travel photographer based in Sydney, Australia. You can check out some of his work at walgarch.com and on Flickr

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