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Virtual Backgrounds General Guide

How to use Virtual Backgrounds

Open the Chroma key tab and click on the On/Off button to enable the Virtual Background feature. You can choose between three options – Blur, Replace, and Chroma key.

Background blur

This feature allows you to blur your background environment leaving the focus on the person in the frame.

Requirements

To run Background blur, make sure you met the following requirements:

macOS

  • Metal hardware acceleration mode enabled. Navigate to ManyCam Settings -> General and select Metal from the list of Hardware Acceleration modes.
  • Make sure you run macOS High Sierra (10.13.4) or newer,
  • Make sure your hardware (GPU) is MPS-compatible. Such hardware includes macOS GPU family 1 or higher. For more information on Mac support for Metal, see Mac computers that support Metal.

Windows

  • Windows 10 build 1809 or higher
  • GeForce 500 series or higher
  • or AMD Radeon 7000 or higher (HD 7730 and up)
  • or 6th generation Intel Core Processor or higher (discrete GPU is preferable)
  • DirectX 12-compatible GPU (feature level 11_0 or higher)
  • WDDM 2.0 or higher
  • Shader model 5.1 or higher
  • ARM64-based systems are not supported (Surface Pro X)

To enable Background blur, navigate to the Chroma key tab, and enable the feature as shown below.

Replace background (without a green screen)

This feature allows you to replace your background without a physical green screen. You can pick any default ManyCam background or add your own custom image.

To enable Background replacement, navigate to the Chroma key tab, and enable the feature as shown below.

Replace background with Chroma key (green screen required)

What is Chroma key

Chroma key compositing is a special effects technique for compositing (layering) two images or video streams together based on color hues (Chroma range). The technique has been used heavily in many fields to remove a background from the subject of a photo or video – particularly in newscasting, motion picture, and videogame industries.

The ManyCam Chroma key feature allows you to remove your real background from the video stream and replace it with an image, video, or any other supported ManyCam video source.

IMPORTANT

The chroma key feature will not work without a green (or blue) screen placed behind a person or an object in the frame. Green and blue backgrounds are more commonly used because they differ most distinctly in hue from all human skin colors and therefore you will have less interference when keying a person on screen. We suggest using a sole-colored cloth/screen or a painted wall as a background behind you so that you can replace it with ManyCam’s Backgrounds or apply Chroma key to it. For best quality avoid wearing anything green and make sure you are far enough from the screen to avoid shadows.

How to enable Chroma key

Open the Chroma key tab, click on the On/Off button to enable the Virtual Background feature, and select Chroma key. You can choose between two modes: Color Picker and Auto, either of which may produce different outcomes depending on your environment, webcam parameters and settings, ManyCam video settings, and Advanced Chroma key settings selected.

Remove background using Color Picker (green screen required)

Color Picker allows you to manually select the colors that need to be replaced with a background.

Using the color picker control, choose the color you want to remove from your video stream. The best results can be achieved if you have a green background (or any other color that differs from your clothes, otherwise they will be removed from the video as well). ManyCam offers two algorithms that both work with Color Picker and may produce different outcomes depending on the setup and environment.

Using the HSL algorithm:

Using the YUV algorithm:

Remove background automatically (without Color Picker, green screen required)

Note

Before you proceed, it’s best to disable right light, auto gain, autofocus, auto exposure and auto white balance on the integrated webcam settings.

In the Auto mode, ManyCam automatically selects the colors to be replaced with the background, meaning you don’t have to do it manually. The result may vary, so it’s advised to adjust the Advanced Settings too in order to achieve the best outcome. 

Note

The Auto mode works best with the YUV algorithm.

Selecting a background image

You can choose one of the predefined images as your background, upload your own custom background, or go with a transparent background.

About the Chroma key algorithms

HSL

Note

This algorithm works best in the Color picker mode.

HSL is an algorithm that allows you to adjust the hue, saturation and luminosity filtration. With HSL you can improve the quality by manually adjusting the Hue/Sat/Lum color components. 

To select HSL, first enable the Advanced settings as shown below. If you selected the Color picker mode, proceed with keying out the unwanted colors with your mouse cursor.

YUV

Compared to HSL, the YUV algorithm works with solid-color backgrounds only, which are red, green and blue, therefore the result it produces may differ greatly from that of the HSL. Compared to HSL, YUV works better with the Auto mode, however, HSL offers a different color range to key out when used with color picker. Try both algorithms to determine which works best for you.

Note

To enable more precise Spill suppression, use the YUV algorithm.

Fine-tuning the result

Use the settings listed below in order to eliminate color removal errors.

Blur contour

Blur contour allows feathering the bodyline edges to eliminate any artifacts, pixelation or ruggedness.

Shrink contour

Note

Shrink contour is available within the HSL algorithm only.

The Shrink contour function is responsible for reducing the object’s contour. To access this setting, enable Advanced Chroma key settings, and select HSL.

Spill suppression

Note

YUV allows more precise Spill suppression adjustment compared to HSL.

Color spills happen when light reflects from a shiny object that is present inside or maybe even outside the frame. During Chroma keying, color spilling mostly occurs from the Chroma key green screen backdrops. Spilled color casts a noticeable shadow on the subject, especially around the hair, shoulders, and bodyline.

The Spill suppression setting removes any color spill from the backdrop and ensures accurate color in the final image. To access this setting, enable Advanced Chroma key settings.

Smoothness

Note

The Smoothness setting is available within the YUV algorithm only.

Smoothness adds an additional area to the image and then makes this area semi-transparent. Use this setting to eliminate artifacts along the edges of an object. This setting is also great for transparent objects made of glass or plastic.

To access this setting, enable Advanced Chroma key settings, and select YUV.

How to use a video (or any other video source) as a background

Using the Picture in Picture feature along with the Chroma key feature can provide a flexible way of using any video source supported in ManyCam as your background.

Step 1

Engage the Picture in Picture mode as shown in this guide.

On the background picture, select any video source such as a movie, YouTube video, your desktop or any other supported video source. On the foreground picture, select your webcam as your video source.

You should get something like this:

Step 2

Enable Chroma key and proceed with removing the background color and adjusting the settings as described above. You should get something like this:

Troubleshooting

Please refer to this guide if you experience any technical issues related to Virtual Backgrounds.

Updated on October 9, 2020

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