Why Are Green Screens Green?

Of all the colors to choose from, why was green the lucky color to be chosen to become the set standard for a chroma key backdrop?

Well, the concept of chroma keying with the purpose of creating special effects has existed since the forties. Back then, green was selected for backdrops as it was a highly uncommon color for actors to wear in their costumes as well as on the props needed to film certain scenes.

Essentially, it provided the most amount of color contrast between the subject (that’s the actor) and the background (the greenscreen).

Green screens play a vital role not only in cinema, but for photography and TV weather forecasting too. These days, as digital cameras have started to gain more popularity than traditional webcams for high quality video, streamers are taking in to consideration the fact that digital cameras are more sensitive to green as opposed to a blue.

Blue Screens

The term ‘green screen’ has become a universally used phrase regardless of the actual color of the screen.

An entirely blue backdrop will work just as well as a green one – you’d just use it when your subject includes lots of green. If you’re looking to buy a green screen, you’ll often find that some of the package deals come with both a green and blue color backdrop.

We’ve written a run-down on some of the green screens best suited for streaming, if you want to learn more.

Is Green Better Than Blue?

Green is such a contrasting color that if your chroma key leaves you with some slight edges around the subject, it’ll be glaringly obvious. Blue on the other hand will result in much softer edges, but the problem is there’s more than likely going to be a bit of blue somewhere within your frame, whether on your person or in supporting decorations.

Can You Use A White Background As A Green Screen?

Yes. You can actually use any color you want, but once again, it all comes down to what colors appear in the foreground. White is a more common choice of backdrop for professional photographers than it is with live streamers.

Can You Use Green Paint Instead Of Material?

Yes, green paint is just as suitable as fabric. In some cases it can be more useful to use paint for your backdrop as poor quality green screen fabric has a tendency to crease easily, causing disruption in chroma keying. With paint, you’ll have to make sure to apply an even coat to minimise disruption.

You may need to do a few test runs with your OBS open and light setup switched on, as light pointed directly at the wall will cause the light to bounce and appear white in certain places, which will mess up the finish of your chroma key.


Regardless of the color of your backdrop, lighting is just as important for the effect to work. Your lighting must be evenly distributed, otherwise you’ll be left with patchy, pixelated spots after the chroma key is applied.

The size of your green screen will dictate how many lights you’ll need to key successfully. For smaller, single-unit screens, a powerful streaming ring light will suffice however as the light will more than likely be stationed right in front of you, this may start to strain your eyes, but it is cost-effective.

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