Virtual backgrounds can be a great way to professionalize yourself, make your video more polished, or just tidy up a messy space. Plus, they can be super fun and engaging! But we recommend you consider virtual background best practices before getting started.
We’ve complied five key virtual background best practices to ensure your videos are looking the best they can be!
Virtual background best practices for getting started
Before we dive into virtual background best practices, let’s talk about when and how to use them.
Virtual backgrounds replace the background behind a person on a video with a pre-selected image. People can use them during a live meeting like a Teams or Zoom call, or during a video recording, like for Covideo or YouTube.
You may want to use a virtual background if you’re trying to accomplish a uniform look among your business or even just to have privacy when taking a call from home or to hide background clutter.
Most applications and video software have an easy process for uploading and using virtual backgrounds. Check out our article on how to use them for Covideo!
Best practices for selecting a virtual background
First, you’ll want to ensure you’re selecting the right background for the situation. If you work in an office and are joining a professional meeting, you should avoid distracting or comedic backgrounds. Choose something that matches your profession and the situation. If you’re at a car dealership, it makes sense to have a vehicle showroom in the background. If you work for an environmental nonprofit, a nature scene may make more sense.
Think about the colors you are choosing as well. Cool colors may be more soothing, while bright colors are energizing. Consider what you want to communicate with your on-screen presence. However, avoid busy patterns or neon colors, which can be unpleasant to look at and overly distracting.
You can also subtly incorporate your company logo or colors into a virtual background. On-staff designers or marketers can create a suite of company-related backgrounds for everyone to use, which will give a professional and unified look.
It’s a virtual background best practice to ensure your background is high resolution. For most videos, you will have a 16:9 aspect ratio, and the recommended background size would be 1,920 px by 1,080 px, according to Scripps Research.
Looking your best on camera
Don’t get too caught up in your virtual background. Best practices for video should put you in the spotlight.
First, ensure you’re wearing a color that doesn’t blend in with the wall behind you. Contrast will help you stand out. If the background is too distracting, you can use a photo editing software to blur it.
Set up your camera at eye level, centered in front of you, so you look more natural on your background. Ensure you like the positioning of the camera against your virtual background before you start recording. If you move your laptop or camera around while you’re recording, your background is going to stay stationary and look unnatural.
Use as high quality of a webcam as possible and ensure it’s clean and free of smudges so your features can shine!
Setting up your environment
One very important virtual background best practice is setting up against a matte, solid-colored wall. This allows your virtual background to fully fill the frame. Better yet, you can invest in a green screen, which is effective because it is a color not commonly found in hair, skin tones, or clothing. Editing software can easily separate the subject from the green screen. This is a visual effects technique called “chroma key compositing,” where two images are layered together based on color hues.
Of course, if you don’t have a green screen, the same virtual background best practice applies: you want to be set up on a clean, solid-colored background with good contrast. If you have dark hair and are sitting against a black wall, for example, your hair may blend into the background and “disappear” on camera. We don’t want that happening!
You should also remove clutter from around the room and be mindful of any people or pets who may walk into the frame. (Though we love a good pet cameo at Covideo!) As you record, try not to talk too much with your hands or move objects in and out of the frame, as this may cause the background to be choppy.
Best practices for virtual background lighting
Perhaps the most important virtual background best practice is being mindful of lighting. Good lighting helps your features pop on camera and ensures a smooth, seamless virtual background.
Try to set yourself up in front of a ring light or natural light source. The lighting should be even and not dappled. You should also avoid bright light behind you, which will make your image show up darker and possibly break through the background.
Your lighting should match the brightness and contrast of the virtual background, so feel free to walk around your workspace and find the lighting that looks the most natural.
With these virtual background best practices, you have all the tools you need to get started. Though it can improve your video to have a ring light, green screen, or high-quality webcam, you can optimize your space for a smooth, bold, and effective virtual background.
Don’t forget to have fun! Do some editing and make your virtual background uniquely yours.
Virtual backgrounds are super simple to add to your Covideos. Check out our virtual background guide for more information. And if you’re ready to try it for yourself, Start a free trial and experience all our exciting features.