Friday, January 29, 2021

Strengthen Your Twitch Habits

In several past entries, I’ve spoken about the importance of building and following systems if you want to become a highly effective person. On Twitch, this could involve setting up a pre-stream checklist, crafting an elevator pitch to introduce your shows, or keeping a calendar to become more focused on your various behind-the-scenes tasks. It’s amazing how much more reliable you can be when you plan out your actions in advance and stick to them. But maybe you’re still having trouble keeping your habits in check. You may have heard heard me talk about these systems I’ve implemented, but figured they just weren’t for you. Or maybe you did try to put them into action, but couldn’t get them to work properly. In this entry, I’ll help you to utilize systems more effectively in order to strengthen your streaming habits. 


Systems are most effective at targeting very specific problems and eliminating them. By using a process like this, you’re essentially retraining your brain from the ground up. The best way I can explain the use and ultimate effectiveness of this method would be to turn back time and explore the first major system I ever implemented in my personal life. 

I didn't have a good excuse for being forgetful either,
like this guy.

When I was in college, I used to lock myself out of my dorm room a lot. I couldn’t tell you why- I had never been a particularly forgetful person in other respects, and I had never locked myself out of any other places I lived. But for some reason, despite trying to make sure I remembered whether I brought my key with me upon leaving the room, I regularly had to make trips to the RA or kill time until my roommate got back because I had left my key behind. I knew something had to change. So I decided to see what would happen if I implemented a really strict routine for myself when going out. From that point onward, any time I was about to leave my room, I would put my foot out to stop the door from closing. Then, I had to be physically holding onto my key and looking directly at it, before I’d let the door click shut. It didn’t matter if I could feel the key in my pocket, or even if I remembered having just picked it up. I had to be holding the key in my hand and looking at it, no matter what. 

It sounds silly and overly rigid, but in the ten years since implementing that system into my daily routine, I’ve never once forgotten the key to my dorm, my apartment, or any hotel room where I’ve stayed on business. This one simple change solved a very tangible problem for me, and it’s all because I put my trust into building and following a system. Since then, I’ve solved other problems in the same way. After identifying something wrong with me that I couldn’t figure out how to fix, I removed my own memory or skill set from the equation, and simply trained myself to follow a script. And when building a Twitch channel, this has helped me to maximize my efficiency in several fields. 


So if you’re having trouble remembering to turn on your camera before a stream, or can’t get your spoken introduction down properly, how can you use systems to improve your consistency? What makes a system work instead of just trying to remember? It’s because systems take a shortcut to your unconscious brain. Instead of having to think about doing something, you simply do it because that’s what you do. Think of when you learned to drive a car. When you started out, you had to think about each action you executed, and this probably made you very nervous. I know that for me, merging onto the highway felt like a life-or-death experience every single time. But years later, it’s as simple as can be. I know where I’m supposed to look, how quickly to accelerate, and all sorts of other things, without having to think about them at all. That's because it’s become a part of my unconscious brain- I’m doing something with almost no need for analytical thought. It’s simply a mindless task that gets done the same way every time. 

Fast-track the internalization process.

I’ve found that we can fast-track other tasks to become unconscious in this way, if we only change the context in which they’re executed. For example, the reason I never forgot my keys after implementing that system wasn’t because the tasks improved my memory, but because I specifically setup a system in which I couldn’t allow myself to leave without the keys, even if I did forget them. When they weren’t in my hand, I had to go back inside and grab them before leaving. The reason it worked is because I put absolutely zero faith in my own ability to remember whether I had my keys, and put all my trust in the system I had created to make up for my deficiency. Like programming a piece of computer software, it’s just a matter of picking the right actions in placing them in the correct order. 

You can do the same with your Twitch habits. Any action which doesn’t require critical thinking can be mentally automated, as long as you create a solid system, and then learn to trust that system implicitly. Similar to the ‘Architect and Builder’ concept I described in the entry Separate Your Two Streaming Selves, as long as you’ve planned out what you’re going to do, you just need to execute on those plans in the moment. I talked in the entry How to Get in the Habit of Streaming about using a calendar rigidly and effectively, so you don’t allow yourself to let other plans strong-arm streaming out of your days. In Your Twitch Channel Needs an Elevator Pitch, I helped you to pre-plan your channel introduction, so you can speak more coherently when describing your content. These systems aren’t always perfect from the first iteration either- in the entry Perfecting Your Pre-Stream Checklist, I went through a few methods of how you can revise your workflow in order to optimize results. As long as you keep planning and revising, you’ll be able to eliminate some of the mistakes that most frequently haunt your content. 


Of course, I’m not suggesting you obsessively create ritualistic actions for every single stream-related task. But when you have a serious issue- either trying to break a certain bad habit, or form a good one- it’s time to focus less on thinking and more on following orders. By building a strong enough system, it will prevent you from making that mistake ever again. As the Greek philosopher Archilochus said, "We don't rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training." When we’re distracted or under pressure is when we’re most at risk of making mistakes, but by implementing a foolproof system beforehand, we’ll be prepared for anything. This technique has been immensely helpful for me, and I hope you’ll find just as much success in strengthening your Twitch habits!

Friday, January 22, 2021

Turn Your Household Tech into Stream Equipment

If you’ve been following The Twitch Playbook for a while, you’ve heard me talk several times about how easy it should be to go live. I often suggest using things you have lying around the house, so you can start broadcasting without zero preparation required, as well as zero pressure. This is a great way to save money and make quick course-correcting decisions. Even more importantly, it’s a great mental workout that can help you think outside the box when setting up and improving your channel. Whether you’re getting ready to start streaming right now, or you want to add onto a channel that’s been going strong for years, don’t discount the benefit of turning household tech into stream equipment.


The first step when taking advantage of your household tech is to avoid throwing it away. The amount of valuable parts which get trashed, lost or otherwise overlooked in the average person’s home is astounding. Old PC parts, controllers, adapters, cables, keyboards, headphones- the list goes on and on. And there are a few good habits you can start right now, in order to remedy this under your own roof. 

Accumulate useful items and keep them organized.

Anyone who’s worked in IT services, PC repair, video editing, or any other behind-the-scenes computer job probably knows to keep a well-stocked drawer full of computer cables. And if you don’t, I highly suggest you begin your collection today. Each piece of technology you buy will come with some new cable or other, and all these extra USB, lightning, eSATA, HDMI, 3.5mm audio, Ethernet and other cables can be interchanged with any device that uses the same ports. All you have to do is hold onto them when you get them, and keep track of where they are. I can’t tell you the amount of times that keeping a drawer full of cables has saved me from a tough situation. Not just when cables go dead either. When switching around tech, adding pieces to my PC, or coming up with some new stream idea, this saves me a trip to the store and allows me to make fast, versatile updates to my shows. 

It doesn’t have to be cables either- as I mentioned earlier, any technology can make a difference. When I switched from a single PC to a dual PC setup, I was able to repurpose all sorts of items for use on my second machine. Since this computer only handled the stream itself, and didn’t have to run any games or other taxing software, I was able to connect my 10-year-old iMac keyboard. Its keys didn’t press so well for everyday use, but it works fine when I only need to hit a few buttons to make the stream go live. It was the same with the out-of date monitor I had replaced, the headphones with a broken volume knob, and the mouse that couldn’t hold a left click. I even plugged in old sticks of RAM when I upgraded to better ones on my main PC. This second machine may sound like The Island of Misfit Toys from Rankin Bass’ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer cartoon, but it didn’t need anything fancy. I knew exactly what I was going to use it for, and wherever I could, I simply plugged in anything that would get the job done. At the time I thought I would use those old parts as a temporary solution, but to this day they’re all still in use on that streaming PC. Unless one of them completely breaks, there’s no need to change them out. 

Try going around your house and looking for any spare cables, old obsolete tech, or anything else you may not have thrown out yet. You might be surprised how many things you accumulate. Check old phone, computer part, and other boxes in the back of your closet- the spare cables inside will probably give you a good head start on your collection. Keep them organized neatly in an easy-to-find place, and you’ll be surprised how often they come in handy. From there, you can continue to build this emergency reserve as you go through your normal life. 


I’ve spoken before in Twitch Playbook entries about how you can also utilize normal, non-technological items you have around the house. I use all sorts of things to hold cameras, improve lighting, decorate the background of my shots, and create ease of use during my shows. This is a category where all of us are even more likely to be well-stocked without even realizing, because everybody has random things around their house which can be useful if they only look at them differently. 

In earlier entries, I spoke about how I turned cheap IKEA desk and standing lamps into my stream lighting by using a few simple film school fundamentals. Look around your house- are there any superfluous lamps you could put into your streaming area? Even in the room you already stream from, there might be better placement options if you consider the overall shot. You may find that you don’t need any professional lighting solutions at all. For more on this, I covered the actual lighting techniques to use in the entry How to Make Your Camera Look Better.

Creative camera solutions are my specialty.

I’ve also spoken in previous entries about using every method imaginable to position cameras when needed. I’ve stacked up books to raise them up, propped them against boxes, even taped them to various surfaces. When I’m traveling for work, no two hotel streaming scenarios are the same, so I’ve gotten really good at improvising. Most recently, I used a car phone holster to clamp my phone to my desk. I’ve also gotten creative with items that can improve my quality of life while streaming. Using picture hanging hooks to hold my headphones on the wall and free up desk space worked wonders. Bringing in a little side table next to my desk to hold my coffee and water saved even more room near my keyboard. Utilizing sticky notes and legal notepads helped me organize thoughts and stream improvements without getting up or stopping a show. Think if there’s any way you could improve your general quality of life while streaming by using household items- you might be surprised how much even the smallest improvement helps your mental clarity! 


You own so many useful items, even if you don’t realize it. As I’ve often mentioned, a perceived lack of necessary equipment is one of the biggest excuses preventing hopeful streamers from embarking on their journeys. But if you get better at recognizing those things you overlook every day, you’ll find that you’re more equipped than you thought. You might not be able to make the exact kind of show you’ve envisioned in your head, but that’s usually for the best. Scale back your ambitions and make the show you’re able to make right now. The same applies to anyone trying to upgrade their existing streams. Those tech upgrades may have been sitting under your nose all along. As I mentioned in the entry Make the Most of Your Streaming Setup, always think in terms of what you have, rather than what you don’t have

So hold onto the small pieces of tech you accumulate when buying something new, and avoid throwing away the items you think are obsolete. These things may have a whole new life waiting for them, if you keep them around for a rainy day. And don’t discount the things around your house that aren’t computer-related. Lights, furniture and other fixtures can all contribute to a more polished stream, even if they’re not made for streaming, and weren’t purchased with streaming in mind. I’d bet that each of our homes holds at least five new and interesting ways to stream, which we haven’t previously considered. We just have to open our minds to the possibilities. 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Understanding Network Settings for Streaming

We all use the internet in our daily lives, and once we start streaming the internet becomes even more important in what we do. But most of us don't understand much about how our internet really works, what's important about our network metrics, or why certain aspects of our internet might defy our expectations. In the earlier entry Getting Your Stream Output Settings Just Right, I helped you to calibrate the two most important internet settings when preparing a stream: resolution and bitrate. With a solid understanding of these, you'll be able to create a good looking, smoothly running stream almost every time. Unless something changes. The signal still has to reach you from your internet service provider (ISP) of course, and that can be a more mysterious subject. Do you ever suffer from fluctuating network speeds, or seem to receive worse transfer rates than the ISP advertises? In this entry, rather than talking about how to set up the stream's internet output, we'll discuss your home's internet input. I'm going to help you better understand your network settings.

It should go without saying, but this is a topic which expands far past the scope of one single entry. Understanding the way data gets transferred is an entire career in itself, and I'm not going to make you a professional in the field overnight. But there are a few points which I think are very valuable, which many streamers don't know much about. Here, we'll focus on a few very specific anecdotes which I've either struggled with in the past personally, or seen other streamers struggle with on their own journeys. By the end of this entry, hopefully you'll be a little more confident when dealing with your network speeds, and you'll better understand when the issue is simply out of your hands. 


Don't mix up these twin speeds.

First, when you think of your internet speed, make sure you're thinking about the right one. Most of the time, when selling internet packages, a service provider will heavily advertise the 'download speed' you'll get when you sign up. This makes sense, because the download speed governs what most people use the internet for every day: visiting websites, binging videos on YouTube or watching movies on Netflix. There also exists a second speed to every internet plan however, which your internet company may or may not display front and center, called the 'upload speed.' This is still used by most people, but not on as large a scale. It governs things like sending files to the cloud, posting things on social media, and anything else that moves data from your home to the internet. But even if someone regularly uploads things, they usually don't need this stat to be as consistently reliable as their download speed- after all, if the progress bar of your photo set uploading to Instagram speeds up or slows down, it doesn't make much difference in the end. But if the download speed slows down even for a second while watching Netflix, the TV show stops and you'll be noticeably inconvenienced. For this reason, the upload speed tends to be slower than (or at most equal to) the download speed. It's simply not as necessary for most people. 

But to a streamer, the upload speed is our lifeblood. I've seen many people make the mistake of thinking that both their download and upload speeds have some impact on their broadcasting capability, but this is simply not true. The only thing that affects your ability to stream is the upload speed, specifically. Download speed will affect your gameplay in multiplayer games, and it'll influence your ability to watch your own stream on your phone to check for errors, but if your stream is dropping frames or unable to go live, this is solely because of your uploading capabilities. After all, the act of streaming means you're uploading packets of data to the internet, not the other way around. 

As I've spoken about before, make sure you pay attention to what your internet service provider advertises as your plan's upload speed. You may have to go digging for it however, as the download speed is typically the number displayed more prominently. I also suggest taking 30 seconds to test your internet speed before every stream you do. This can't ensure that the internet won't dip down during the episode, but it'll at least guarantee there's nothing wrong with your connection when you start the show. And when testing speed, be careful of the big-name sites like Speedtest, as many ISPs will whitelist them to give false results, so they show your speeds faster than they really are. I suggest Google's built-in testing platform, which you can find by searching "internet speed test" right inside Google's search bar. In the past, I've done tests where Speedtest makes my internet look significantly faster than Google's test would, even though Google's was always closer to the actual speed I got from my stream software.


It's not enough to simply have a fast internet plan either. You need to figure out the most consistent speed within that plan. Every internet service provider has margins for error, even within their advertised speeds. For example, in my area of Los Angeles, Spectrum provides 10 megabits per second upload speeds. This is more than enough to stream with. But even though customers pay for 10, the company can only ever guarantee we'll get 7 Mbps at any given time. They reserve an entire 30% of that advertised speed as a massive error margin, in case there are fluctuations in service for various reasons. Now, this is understandable. I imagine it's really difficult to manage a massive, nationwide ecosystem of data service. I personally like to think of it like a bag of potato chips- most people get upset at the amount of blank space at the top of a bag of Lightly Salted Lay's, but don't realize that this "air" is in fact nitrogen gas which is necessary to keep the chips fresh. So don't think of this margin for error within your data plan as potential internet speeds you're paying for but not getting. Like with the chips, it's a much-needed blank space.

Make sure your connection doesn't cause problems.

If you can figure out your lowest guaranteed speed by calling your internet company or reading the fine print of your plan, you can plan for those speeds instead of being surprised by fluctuations later. When I do my streams, the output settings are tuned for a connection of 7 Mbps upload speed, not the 10 Mbps displayed on the plan I pay for. This means that unless there's a full service outage, my stream drops frames much more rarely than it would if I tuned the settings to the max speeds possible. As I suggest in most fields, it's better to scale back and get the right results every time, than it is to hope for the best and end up wildly inconsistent day after day. Don't forget either- just because I have 7 available megabits per second of upload speed to play with, doesn't mean that my stream outputs at 7 Mbps. It's necessary to plan for other factors as well, and you can see more about setting up your ideal stream speeds in the entry Getting Your Stream Output Settings Just Right


As a streamer, the most important thing about your internet is that it works. And for many of us, whether or not it works properly on a given day can feel totally up to chance. But most of these factors can be accounted for, as long as you know where to look. There will still be problems with your internet that you can't prevent, of course. Total network outages and blackouts are always a possibility, and planned maintenance occurs regularly, especially if you tend to stream at night. But with those events, it's easy to see the problem. Invisible service fluctuations, as well as a fundamental misunderstanding of upload and download speeds, are what keep most streamers in the dark about how their shows should be set up. Hopefully by using the concepts laid out in this entry, you can better understand your network settings for streaming. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

The Dangers of Stream Statistics

A big problem for streamers is the question, "What if?" "What if my new game isn't a hit?" "What if nobody watches at this new show time?" "What if I try going live and something goes wrong?" Whether you're about to start streaming, or you're preparing to change your existing shows, the question "What if?" can throw a major wrench into your plans if you let it. "What if?" is actually the driving force behind many of the bad habits I've described in this resource so far. We ask all our friends to watch our first broadcast, we look for quick solutions to get new followers, and we obsess over making our shows perfect before ever starting, all because we're afraid of this single question. We don't want to see the results of our efforts go to waste. 

So many of us, especially those who are just starting to stream, are too focused on the stats which come from our work. We measure the quality and ultimate success of our shows based on these numbers, and if they come up short for too long, it's enough to cause many streamers to stop altogether. In the earlier growth check in entry Boosting Your Streams, I covered several ways of tracking stats, with the major stipulation that paying too much attention to these stats can end up doing more harm than good. In this entry, I'll help you to further understand this danger of stream statistics. 


I've spoken before about how I built my own video game coverage brand to attend events like E3, PAX, Comic Con and others, before I ever started on Twitch. And the problem when I was starting out was that I'd spend lots of time and effort preparing and making sure these events went smoothly, but after the videos were shot, edited and released I wouldn't make any other content for weeks or months. In that entry, called Your Goals Might Be Sabotaging Your Streams, I made the point that focusing too much on the outcome of a huge plan can create a sort of vacuum of energy, which saps your ability to move onto the next step after that goal is finished. And if you dissect the mechanics behind this concept, statistics were one of the biggest contributors to this post-release lethargy. 

"I've covered video game events, you know."

As a young guy who had somehow gotten himself into the events he'd been dreaming about for his entire video game-loving life, you could imagine how much pressure I put on myself to make sure that the videos I created from these outings did as well as they could. After posting my content from one of these trips, I'd spend hours and hours watching the statistics, sharing it around on every social media platform, engaging with other communities just so I could eventually tell them about my new video, and generally doing everything I could to make sure that the video got the amount of views I thought it deserved. I'd get so lost in this process that I'd lose the drive to actually create something new for a while. And after all that, I never made that much traction with the videos anyway. Essentially, I felt entitled. I thought that the work of making one video that was important to me shouldn't be 'wasted' by not having it seen by a lot of people. This is the wrong way to build a brand, whether on YouTube, Twitch or anything else. 

In my later career I ended up doing this same thing, but while working for a big company on a much larger scale. Organizing a team effort to output dozens and dozens of E3 videos instead of just one, I realized that it was actually more important to put out a large volume of content than it is to simply make one thing you think is really good. I focused on cutting corners, shortening videos, and speeding up production time. I was able to reach a broad appeal not by making content that appealed to everyone, but by making more specialized content in greater numbers. One video, no matter how broad or specialized, has a very low chance of reaching a lot of people. Without ad spend, it's mostly a matter of chance- and it's a really slim chance at that. But 100 videos, each about a very specific niche, increase the chances of someone caring by a massive margin. Because as I've mentioned in many entries before, people care more deeply about things that touch their specific interests, rather than something broad. And suddenly we covered 100 different specialized interests. I found that I wouldn't even bother wondering how each video was doing, because I was busy just getting the videos made. And I was able to help multiply this brand's popularity by orders of magnitude. I truly believe it was the volume of content, and the mindset of not worrying so much about any single post's results, that made all the difference in how it caught on. 


More is sometimes better.

I've kept this same mindset about high-volume content creation in most things I do. I'm now free to not only make things that I want to make, but to stop worrying about the stats while I'm making them. I suggest giving it a try yourself. When you have a new Twitch channel, it doesn't really matter how good your first video is. Or even your first dozen videos. Outside of some freak coincidence, these videos aren't going to be seen by many people, if anyone. That's just the way it works. The process of building a brand isn't about making sure that each stream gets as many views squeezed out of it as possible, it's about making content consistently and often, so that your channel is getting out there in front of people. If you really want to increase results, then double or triple your output. In the entry Do More Streaming, I help you find ways to creatively fit more stream time into your days by totally forgetting your idea of what's normal. When you think on a broader scale, you can see statistics that don't get measured by the platform itself. Many of those macro concepts I've covered in past entries, and I was only able to recognize them by seeing the trends form across thousands of streams. 

So instead of obsessing over each show's results, or focusing too much on promoting each stream before it's live in order to increase views, just try making more content. If you want to see real results, not only in your metrics but also in your skillset as a streamer, be patient about statistics while ramping up production. If you ever find yourself caring about the statistics of a single stream you've done, you're probably not doing enough streaming. When you use this strategy correctly, you'll be forgetting about the small-scale statistics in order to see a much bigger picture.  

Friday, January 1, 2021

Using a Green Screen for Streaming

One of the most popular accessories for Twitch streamers is the green screen. This is a large, flat, single-color surface which allows the background to be removed from your shot. The effect is similar to that of a TV weatherman, allowing you to cut yourself from the frame in your stream software and replace the background with any image or video of your choosing. Most of you are probably familiar with what a green screen is, but it's common to see streamers who don't entirely understand how best to take advantage of this tool. In this entry, we will go over how to properly set up a green screen to prevent many of its largest problems. 

I will however, begin this entry the way I begin every entry of this sort. Pay special attention if you've never been with The Twitch Playbook before and you skipped to this entry first: EXPERIENCE is always more valuable than a perfect looking stream. If you haven't done at least a dozen combined hours of broadcasts on your channel already, put this entry down and start streaming right now. You can come back to add or optimize your green screen later. If you still don't think you're ready to stream, see the entry Start Your Twitch Channel with No Money. This entry is meant for those who are already consistent at streaming and want to optimize their shows- if you haven't streamed yet, employing these tweaks will be just another way to procrastinate. There's no excuse not to start your journey today.


You could look like you're on an alien planet!

Green screens take advantage of a concept in your stream software called 'keying,' which means the program will turn all instances of a single color invisible, wherever it sees them in your camera shot. There's nothing more fancy about it than that. There's no special equipment required if you don't own an official green screen either- the effect can actually be accomplished with anything. You can clamp a green blanket to two lamp stands so it hangs behind you, tape green construction paper to a big piece of standing cardboard, or even sit in front of a green wall. The removed color doesn't even have to be green- you can remove whatever color you choose. The reason green is the industry standard in TV and film is because out of all colors on the spectrum, bright green is the one found least often in any human skin tone. This means that, unless you want your face to become invisible, green will be your best bet. But you could also get some interesting results should you choose to experiment. I've seen some really cool psychedelic-looking visuals from streamers who intentionally key out other colors on their shows. 

When using a green screen, many streamers fundamentally misunderstand what's important. Most assume that putting up the green screen itself is the first and last step, but then wonder why there are glitches or inconsistencies in how their stream removes the green background. Merely putting up the green screen will only work in a few very specific situations. In reality, that's only the beginning of the process. 


The real concern with green screens is not the equipment itself, but the way you hang and light it. Anyone who has worked on a film or commercial set using green screens knows this already, but the power of a green screen comes from your ability to make it look like one single unified color in the lens of your camera. This sounds simple, because the green screen itself is already one color, but the process is actually anything but. As I've mentioned in the entry Focusing a Streaming Webcam, cameras don't see the world in the same way we do. And green screens make that very clear.

If you own a green screen, have there ever been times when sections of yours start peeking through the key, and you see green splotches from your background appearing in front of your game? Or how about times when chunks of your own body start blinking out of the shot? These are common problems which occur when there is a bad key. This usually originates from the way your green screen has been set up in the first place. As I mentioned earlier, the software looks only for one exact color when keying out your green screen. And even through the green screen itself is innately one color, any darker or lighter areas within that green will make the software no longer recognize it as the specific shade of green that gets keyed out. 

A bad key can make it look like parts of your
body are disappearing.

Now, there are custom settings governing the range of green shades the software looks for, which I won't cover here, but the most fundamental thing to keep in mind is that you want to eliminate shadows in the green screen itself. On a film set, this usually means stretching the green screen tight so there are no folds, and pointing diffused lights directly at the green screen to make sure it's evenly lit. If the lighting which points at your face causes you to cast a shadow backwards onto the green screen, you would want to either move the green screen further back, or move the lights higher so those shadows fall further downwards and avoid hitting the green screen. It's also possible to go too far in the opposite direction, creating a 'hot spot' on your green screen from too much light. Keep your lights diffused when they point at the green screen by either moving them physically further away, or getting some diffusion paper for the lights to make their beams less harsh. In the entry How to Make Your Camera Look Better, I covered several of the most important aspects of properly lighting a stream, even if you own no professional lights. Understanding those concepts will come in very handy when trying to set up a green screen properly.


Even the best green screen money can buy is nothing more than an expensive piece of green cloth. Everything comes down to how you use it. Bad lighting will make the best quality green screen look terrible just as easily as good lighting can make a cheap green screen look great. If you don't have a green screen already and want to use one, I suggest trying to make one yourself. It's possible to buy the parts required for less than $10, assuming you don't have anything usable at home already. All you need is something green to fill the background of your camera shot behind you. What that thing is, is up to you. Your stream software is pretty smart, and it'll give you a lot of room for error when setting up your green screen, but it's not perfect. When you take the time to properly set things up, it will remove a lot of headache. A well-implemented green screen can add a very professional look to your shows. So put that extra time in, to make your streams look a whole lot better!