Photo Booth Green Screen

You can use the Photo Booth app on your Mac to simulate a green screen with any stable background. You can use some preset replacement backgrounds, or your own image. The key is to use your Mac's built-in camera and have a stable background and surface for your Mac.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Photo Booth Green Screen.

So something a little different today. I'm going to show you how to use the Photo Booth app that comes with your Mac to record with a green screen effect. Notice I don't have the normal black fabric background here. I just have a white wall and I've even added a picture. You can see it's a real picture here. I'm going to use Photo Booth to create a green screen without green screen. So you've got this all on your Mac and it just uses the isight camera built into your Mac.

I'm going to run Photo Booth. Photo Booth is an app that's great because it allows you to take pictures with your isight camera so that can come in handy. It can also do videos. I'm going to switch to video here and I'm going to then click on Effects. You have all these different effects. Funny different effects. I'm going to go to the second to the last one.

The second to the last one has got these green screen effects with preset backgrounds. So let's use the Eiffel Tower one as a simple example. I'm going to click on that and it's going to ask me to step out of the frame. What it's going to do then is it's going to get a picture of what's behind me and then when I come back in the frame it's going to subtract that. So basically simulate a green screen.

So now I can get back in and you can see it simulates a green screen. It knows what was there before so I'm the difference. You notice it's not perfect but it's still pretty good. There a little bit of issues there at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower. You can also see it's not a still picture. You can see people moving and walking around. So this adds some realism to it.

Now you don't have to just settle for these presets. If I go to Effects here notice that I can go to the last section here and I've got these different backdrops that are called User Backdrops. I can drag and drop a photo in there. So I put a photo there. I'm going to say use this backdrop and it already knows the background here so it doesn't ask me to step out of the frame again. But if I ever wanted it to I can go to View, Reset Effect and it will ask me to step out again. So if I move my MacBook then it will have to reset back there. Even a slight movement will cause the problem.

So now I can hit the Record button and it will start recording the video and now I get video recorded with a green screen. So all those artifacts that you see like up and down here that's all because my desk isn't perfectly stable. If I shake it a bit you're going to see more of those. If I move my MacBook you can see it really begins to have a problem. You can see actually the shape of the photo that's there that it expects to have there now. So it's how stable your situation is both the background behind you and, you know, the desk or table or whatever you've got your have your MacBook on.

So you may have to play around with it and readjust it to get it perfect. Having a more stable background, notice here on this side where it was just white it's a lot better. So, you know, having something close to a green screen or something that's definitely a different color than what you're wearing will help. But it doesn't have to be. It can be a very complex background. You can have bookcases and all sorts of stuff back there and it will still kind of work.

So something fun to play around with and it works when you just don't have a green screen but you need to have that kind of thing. Also I find it works best with the isight camera built into your Mac. It doesn't really work too well with third party cameras you add in. There's a lot of noise in those. Even the one I use for recording it couldn't get a good stable image. It kept saying there's too much movement. So it may not work great with third party cameras but it's still fun to play around with a try.

Comments: 3 Responses to “Photo Booth Green Screen”

    1 year ago


    Michael Calamia
    1 year ago

    Hi Gary,
    Thanks for a great idea, I can use this for updates on my non-profit. Asking thought, you showed the E tower with people moving in background so must be a video, how to you import your own video for the background? Is this possible?
    thanks much for these videos, they are helpful to me.

    1 year ago

    Michael: Yes. It works the same way with photos or video. Try it.

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