If you like to live stream, whether professionally or casually, then you’ve probably at least heard of StreamYard.
With a robust set of tools for streamers of all skill levels, streamyard can transform your streams into something truly stunning if you’re willing to invest the time in learning all its features.
One of those features which deserves special attention is the ability to set a background, letting you create the illusion of being anywhere in the world — or beyond — during your streams.
Let’s take a look at this feature in detail and see what you can do with it:
What Are the Options for Backgrounds in StreamYard?
There are three basic ways you can add a background to your stream: standard backgrounds, green screen backgrounds, and virtual backgrounds.
Let’s give each of these options a quick look:
The standard StreamYard background feature is the easiest and quickest to use out of all these options.
StreamYard comes with several built-in backgrounds as well as the ability to upload custom images as backgrounds, letting you create anything you like as a backdrop for your stream. Simply select a preset option or upload your custom image and you’re all set!
Note that these backgrounds will not automatically replace your real-life backdrop in the manner of a green screen or virtual background.
Instead, you can overlay your camera feed into a smaller box, and the standard background will fill the screen behind your feed.
This allows you to arrange your camera feed, other feeds if you’re in a group call, and any other overlay elements (more on that below) on top of an attractive background image of your choosing.
Check out our article with background options in OBS.
Green Screen Backgrounds
StreamYard also supports the use of green screens, allowing you to create the illusion of being anywhere you wish by replacing the green screen with any image you like.
They’re popular enough these days you probably already know what a green screen is, but in case you need a refresher, a green screen is a large, physical backdrop of bright green color.
Usually, it’s a sheet of fabric hung behind your filming area. That bright lime-green color is carefully chosen as something easy for green screen software to recognize, but uncommon in real life so that the software doesn’t filter out something in the foreground.
Unlike the standard backgrounds that require you to shrink your camera feed to see the background, a green screen lets you appear as if you are standing in the illusory environment, displaying you and anything else in your foreground as sitting in front of the backdrop created by the green screen.
This can be a very powerful tool, letting you choose any environment you like to display yourself in for your viewers.
The virtual background feature basically does the same thing as a green screen, but without the need for an actual green screen.
Virtual backgrounds use powerful software to detect the difference between your camera feed’s foreground and background, letting you replace the background with whatever you like — just like a green screen.
We’ll talk about these a bit more below, but suffice to say virtual backgrounds can be very handy, but they require more advanced computing hardware to work well.
How Do You Change Background in StreamYard?
The standard background feature is very quick and easy to use with just a few clicks. Simply click “brand” in the right-hand sidebar of your StreamYard desktop, and you should see several options appear, including backgrounds, overlays, and more.
Under the backgrounds section, simply click on any of the preset options, or click the “upload” button to add your custom image as a background.
Changing backgrounds with a green screen or virtual background may be slightly more complex, but the same basic idea applies; you just need a few extra steps to set up the physical green screen, or a computer powerful enough to handle virtual backgrounds.
How Well Does it Work Visually and Technically?
Overall reviews for StreamYard tend to be quite positive.
The most common complaints seem to regard occasional problems with video quality and certain features being a bit hard to find. In terms of the background features, most reviewers who mention them only have good things to say.
The quality of standard backgrounds depends entirely on the quality of the image used for a background.
The built-in options all seem to use gorgeous, high-quality images, and if you upload your own, just make sure it’s in a high resolution and you’ll be all set for a beautiful background.
Green screen quality depends on the ability of the software to detect and replace your green screen while preserving the foreground elements you don’t want to disappear (yourself and any objects you put in front of the green screen).
We weren’t able to find any complaints about the green screen feature, so hopefully, this means it works just fine.
As for virtual backgrounds, they can work very well indeed, but only if you have the hardware to support them!
Since they don’t rely on the convenience of a green screen to make it easy to tell which parts of the feed to replace and which to leave alone, virtual backgrounds use much more processing power.
As long as your computer can handle it, though, they should produce high-quality results.
What Are StreamYard Overlays?
An overlay is basically the opposite of a background. While a background sits behind your foreground, an overlay sits on top of it.
So, StreamYard overlays let you put images on top of your video feed. What kind of images? Much like the backgrounds, it’s pretty much anything you want!
And just like the background features, there are a few presets you can try in addition to the ability to upload custom overlay images.
While the options are effectively limitless, the most common use of overlays is to put important information on top of your streams, such as your name, the topic of your stream, other places to find you, or anything else you want to make sure your audience knows.
Overlays can also be an excellent way to give your live streams a unique, branded look by playing with formatting and/or including a signature image or style.
Can You Insert Your Backgrounds?
You absolutely can add your backgrounds in StreamYard.
Simply click the “upload” button under the backgrounds section of the “brand” tab and select your custom image to use as a background.
Just make sure your image is a high enough resolution to look good on your viewers’ screens!
The ability to add custom backgrounds offers limitless potential to personalize your streams and give them a unique look.
Can StreamYard Guests Use Green Screen?
StreamYard lets you invite guests to appear in your streams, which can be useful for interviews, playing games together, or just hanging out on the stream.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find out if your guests would be able to use green screen features while they appear on your stream.
What we can say after having a look at the settings panel that appears for your guest once they join, is that the settings seem limited and do not include an obvious green screen option. This doesn’t mean the option doesn’t exist somewhere, but we weren’t able to find it.
If you need to find out whether a guest can use green screen features for your stream, try asking in the StreamYard help center.
How to Use Green Screen in Live Streams?
First thing’s first, you’ll need a green screen set up behind your filming area. In theory, any large enough piece of bright green (or blue, if you prefer a blue screen) cloth could work, but your best bet is to purchase a professional green screen from any online retailer.
Then, you’ll want to make sure it’s set up properly and fills the entire space behind you when seen through your camera.
If you need help setting it up, a quick search for “green screen tutorial” on YouTube should get you a nigh-endless list of guides.
According to StreamYard’s own green screen guide, all you need to do once you have it set up is:
- click the “cam/mic” button in settings,
- open the “virtual backgrounds” tab,
- and click “I have a green screen.”
StreamYard also recommends making sure your green screen is uniformly lit, that you’re not wearing anything the same color as your screen, and to use a powerful computer.
What Is the Optimal Size and Format for Streamyard Backgrounds?
StreamYard recommends a 1280×720 resolution for your background images, in .jpg or .png format, at 20Mb file size.
They also have recommended specifications for overlays, logos, and more on the linked page.
Use the settings in your favorite image editor to tweak the resolution and file size, save the file in the correct format, and you’re ready to upload a beautiful background!
Does StreamYard Have Virtual Backgrounds?
StreamYard absolutely has a virtual background feature, and if you don’t own or want to use a green screen, you can replace your real-life backdrop with whatever background you like.
As long as your computer is up to the task!
StreamYard doesn’t offer exact specifications for the processing power required from your computer.
But they do mention that the most important parts needed to do this effectively are your central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU or “graphics card”).
A green screen makes the processing a little easier on your hardware, so if you want to forgo this option you’ll need an even beefier rig.
So, if you want to use virtual backgrounds at all — and especially if you want to use them without a green screen — consider upgrading your CPU and GPU if you can afford it.
Backgrounds and overlays are quite possibly one of the most attractive features of StreamYard and provide you endless options to customize the appearance and presentation of your streams.
Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas in regards to how you can make use of all these features to give your stream a unique, personalized look.
If you’re overwhelmed, just try playing around with the preset options for a while, they’re a great starting point to show you examples of the things you can do with the various types of backgrounds and overlays.