Better fake backgrounds on Microsoft Teams? Use a green screen!

Apr 4, 2023
Updated • Apr 4, 2023

Did you know that to create those fantastic movie effects you can see in top sci-fi films such as Sharknado, they shoot many scenes in a studio instead of real-life locations?


Yep, some film wizard discovered something called a “green screen” for this purpose, and people loved how great it worked. 

Well, apparently, folks at Microsoft just found out that the same idea would improve those fake backgrounds you can use for Microsoft Teams. So, instead of refining their product with the most advanced AI, they’re so keen on using for other purposes, they are now allowing users to improve this feature by using their own green screens. Seriously.

Microsoft mentions that the sharpness and definition of the backgrounds around your face, head, ears, and hair will improve if you use a green screen, in one of the most obvious rediscoveries in recent history. 

In short, one of the reasons green screens and other colored ones work well for superimposing video footage is that those specific colors aren’t very common in everyday use. That means you can filter them later without losing the detail of the subject, such as the actors, or, in this case, you.

Of course, there needs to be the correct lighting for this to work and the right editing tools. To Microsoft’s credit, they did seem to tweak Microsoft Teams with some enhancements that try to dispense with the issues that might come from working with green screens. 

You need to enable this feature by applying a background effect first, then selecting the backdrop color. Microsoft claims it also works with colors other than green but you need to carefully choose the matching color for the best results.

Another important consideration is that, for some reason, this feature is only supported on Windows and macOS systems with Intel chips. That means no love for AMD or M1 and M2 chips.

This is undoubtedly aiming toward an improvement over the regular background performance, but one has to wonder why this wasn’t always the case. After all, Microsoft Teams was already superimposing an image over a video. What would’ve happened if you used a green screen before this update? Is this an update at all? Do aliens run the government? Let’s better stop there.

This development begs another question, too. If you’re streaming from a messy environment and wanted to hide all that misery in your life from your interlocutor, wouldn’t a green screen kind of defeat the purpose? After all, there are few backgrounds more polished than a green screen or a nice, evenly painted wall.

There are, however, some valid points against this. You might simply consider it cooler to pretend you’re in a spaceship than in front of a bland, boring screen or wall. Or, an employee might be required to use the company’s logo as a background. 

Be as it may, you can now make use of your green screen to further enhance your virtual (aka. fake) backgrounds in Microsoft Team. And that’s reason enough to celebrate.


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  1. basingstoke said on April 5, 2023 at 1:58 pm

    Man, this is truly for sad people – I worked at a place like that once, where you have many (mostly useless) meetings a week – people fuss over their backgrounds, etc.

    Touch grass, maybe just tidy your room, or, find something more meaningful to expend your brain cycles on? If someone has no artistic inclinations and doesn’t film/record video, but buys a green-screen exclusively for Teams/Zoom meetings – that person has problems in the brain.

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