How to buy a green screen


So you’ve decided to buy a green screen to take your videos to the next level. 

Well, buying a green screen is a great choice. 

Green screening your background out of existence to have you floating in your own gameplay is the closest thing to real-world magic (Other than visiting Harry Potter World, of course!) gamers will ever come too. 

But how do you go about buying a green screen? 

What features should you look out for? 

Does a green screen have to be, you know, green? 

These are the sort of questions I wanted answered when I bought my first green screen. 

And I’m sure they are hanging on the tip of your tongue too. 

So let’s take a look at the first question…

How to buy a green screen? You need to know what features you want from a green screen. As with any product, different brands will have their own pros and cons. You are most likely going to have to buy a green screen online, as they are not widely sold in brick and mortar stores.

Make sure you buy from a reputable source. With websites like Amazon, that way you know that you’re covered if anything goes wrong. Make sure to read reviews on your chosen green screen.

Some features you should consider when thinking about how to buy a green screen, include:

  • Is it collapsible? You might not have the luxury of leaving the green screen up full time.
  • How tall or wide is it? 
  • How are you going to store it?
  • Does it come with a stand? Is it just a sheet or disk? If so, how are you going to use it?
  • Is it the right color? Green or blue, they both have their uses. 

As you can see there are a lot of things to consider when you are buying your green screen. Especially if this is your first green screen.

Read on to see which websites you should avoid. Also, should you buy a secondhand green screen? We will have a quick look at understanding some of the unsung features of green screens. Some of these features you might not think you need until you start to use your green screen.

How to buy a green screen from Amazon? 

Amazon is the go-to for most people when buying online. Due to good choices and prices. When you are buying a product you are unfamiliar with, it is easy to get lost in the options available to you.

You only have some staged pictures to guide you in making a decision. This is why it’s important to only buy from trust and established sellers. 

Even if the product says that it is the last one in stock! Don’t let ‘FOMO’, ‘fear of missing out’ stop you from doing your research first.

Know what features you need and what features you would like. We go over some of the different types of green screens further down in this article.

The main part of your research after you know what you want will be reading the reviews on a few green screens.

Read the reviews, don’t just look at the star rating.

Not everybody will want or need the same features set as you. What is a ‘pro’ might be a ‘con’ for you. It doesn’t take long to scan down and read a few of the reviews. 

Don’t just read the positive reviews. Read the 2-star and 3-star reviews as they will often point out important issues with the screen. 

Likewise don’t rely solely on the negative reviews. Read a few good and bad reviews. Any product that has sold thousands of units is going to have at least a few bad reviews. This could be for many simple reasons, like late delivery or the product didn’t arrive.

We live in a world where we demand everything immediately. Try not to base your decision solely on which product has the shortest delivery time. 

Look for ‘Amazon Choice’, this tag is added if an item has a very high user review score.

For example, a green screen by Emart was rated as “Amazon’s Choice” at the time of writing. 

Be careful if there are multiple items using the same sales page. This is because reviews may not be for the product that you want.

And remember when buying a green screen or anything else. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. 

Where else can I buy my green screen?

Amazon isn’t the only game in town. 

Huge sites like eBay and Target are but to name a few.

The same rules apply when it comes to research, as mentioned in the previous section. 

But what if I want a custom green screen? There you will be surprised to realize you actually have quite a few options. You could use websites like Etsy for a custom made screen. 

The other option is to buy a ‘banner stand’ as if you were a company going to display games at E3. But instead of having posters or a sales pitch, you could just have a solid green color. 

This would also come with the added benefit of being easy to transport and set up. You just need to make sure that it is matte, so it doesn’t reflect any green light onto you.

Should you use Alibaba Express to buy my green screen? 

You can get some very cheap items on Alibaba. I have bought PC components off Aliexpress in the past and had a great experience. However, when buying any items make sure you are buying from a reputable source. Otherwise, it can be like taking a gamble on quality for the sake of price. 

How to buy a green screen second hand? 

Buying a new green screen isn’t your only option. You should be able to find a green screen second hand with just a little bit of work.  

Not everybody is at the same place on their journey to be the ultimate career gamer. Some people are at a place where they are leveling up the gear. This might include green screens. So just because someone is selling a green screen doesn’t mean that it is bad.

You don’t have to buy the most expensive green screen you can find. You aren’t marrying it. If you are just starting out then buy a starter model. Just to see if it is something you want to add to your workflow. 

Search out your local garage sale or flea markets. Where one person is starting the streaming journey, someone else might have found out it wasn’t for them. Not everybody is going to have your drive and passion. You will be surprised by what people are willing to sell. 

Also, take a look on eBay here at used Green screen listings to get an idea of what is available. 

Which type of green screen should I buy? 

You need to know what features you want when it comes to buying a green screen. Not all green screens are created equal.

The most obvious feature is the size. How tall and wide do you need your green screen to be? To work this out you could do a picture in picture test. Then screenshot your pc. This will show you how big an area you need to cover. Plus you might want it to be a little bit bigger to give you a bit of leeway.

Make sure the green screen is tight when it hangs behind you. If it gets creased, shadows will appear and the software you use will find it hard to detect and replace the green screen. You want a consistent uniformed color. You don’t want to end up with artifacts in your background, which can be very distracting to the audience.

If you have a full-time studio setup then a green screen that folds up it’s not going to be high on the agenda. 

However, for people recording in multi-use spaces, such as a bedroom or gym, the ability to fold a green screen away might be a top priority. 

How long does the green screen take to set up? It’s no good if it takes 30 minutes to set up. It will become a barrier that you have to overcome when streaming.  Most people start streaming as a hobby or second job, that might one day replace their main job. So you need something that is simple and quick to set up and take down.

Should I get a blue or green screen? There are really only two factors between the two, the blue screen helps by removing any green glow from the light bouncing back. The big downside is that it will limit what colors you can wear.

The green screen is the go-to for streamers because it’s less likely to clash with your color scheme. The artificial green is easier to pick out for most software. This might change as software and hardware become more powerful and intelligent. Maybe even eventually replacing the green screen with algorithms. 

My recommended green screen

Beginner 

The basic Emart green screen with included stand.

For beginners, I recommend the Emart 8.5 x 10-foot Studio backdrop green screen. This was the first green screen I ever saw in person around a mates house and I immediately jumped on amazon and bought one. 

It’s a big green screen, but the best feature is that it comes with a stand. I had nowhere to hang the thing in my little gaming room. So it was perfect. 

They often sell for around the $80-$90 price point. You will find lower-priced green screens. But they do not come with a stand.

Go check out the Emart green screen, and it’s 300+ 5 star reviews, here

Advanced

The Emart Collapsible Chromakey Panel Green screen from the back.

After using the cheap Emart green screen for a year I fell in love with the magic of green screening. So much so that I just had to upgrade. 

So I popped on my computer and bought myself an Emart Collapsible Chromakey Panel Green screen. 

This pro-level collapsable green panel is superb and, as far as I care, the best on the market for the sort of price streamers of any level should ever pay. 

Basically, it comes in a cylinder that sits along the floor, in my case, against the wall. Then when I want to use it, I grab the handle, pull upwards, the extending scissor arms extend up, and the green screen unrolls instantly. It means I can set up the green screen in a matter of seconds. 

Emart’s best screen can be expensive, usually around the $190 mark, but it is so worth it. Especially if you’re like me and you don’t have a dedicated streaming room. 

It is worth saving up the cash to buy one of these. Plus, if you discover green screening isn’t for you, you can always sell the screen for close to the price you bought it as collapsible screens hold their prices well. 

Check out the Emart Collapsible Chromakey Panel Green screen, and 400+ 5-star reviews, here

Conclusion

Know what features you want and then try to find the best price possible. Whether that be an online store such as Amazon or local sales at a flea market or garage sale.

Know how much you have in your budget and don’t be pressured into a sale for fear of missing out. 

Do your research by reading reviews on your chosen green screen. Don’t just look at the star ratings. Some people might value items differently to you. You don’t have to learn all there is to know about green screens, you aren’t going to be taking a pop quiz. You just need to be comfortable when valuing different green screens. This will allow you to get a good deal.

People tend to give a negative review of a product due to a bad delivery experience. This could misrepresent the product, which could lead to you missing out on a great green screen. 

You don’t need to rob a bank to afford a green screen, there are affordable ones on the market. As you grow as a streamer you can always upgrade to a new green screen. You are not buying one for life.

Try and buy from a source that gives you tracking information, this will help with the delivery experience. It will also add accountability to the delivery process.

And finally, a quick reminder: I recommend this green screen for a beginner. And this green screen for advanced streamers

What’s next? 

Can I build a green screen? Yes, you can. They are not a complicated piece of technology. You just need a bright green block color behind you. This could be a painted wall or a large piece of fabric. The main reason to buy a professionally made green screen is for portability: Pro green screens collapse into a bag. But if you have a creative mind then you should be able to come up with your own designs.

How far away should I place my green screen behind me? You should aim to place your green screen as far behind you as you can. While making sure that it covers the desired area. This will lessen the green glow around objects because the screen will act as a big green reflector. Adding green bounce light to the scene, hence the green glow.

Can I use any color instead of green for my green screen? In theory, yes. But for practical purposes, no. It all comes down to the software you use. Some programs will allow you to chroma key any color. The reason that the green in a green screen is almost a neon color is that it is easy to Isolate. It also has the plus side that it is a color that most people don’t wear. If you wear the same color as the green screen you will become transparent.

Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

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