How To Enhance Your Stream On The Cheap With DIY Solutions
In another article, we touched on how expensive it is to put together a Pro level Twitch stream setup. Just the essentials for peak audio and picture quality alone will definitely burn a massive hole in any budding Twitch streamer’s pocket.
Imagine wanting to add some sweet bells and whistles to add that extra flair.
I got you, boo, cause in this article we’re going to look at some DIY solutions that will help you enhance your stream regardless of your streamer level. Let’s get started.
Chroma keying need not cost an arm and a leg
Just have a look at the price for Elgato’s Green Screen. That’s definitely not something to scoff at willy nilly. Its roll-up base makes it an extremely versatile piece of kit well worth the price, to be sure (I even wonder why no one else has done this!).
The price tag, however, screams commitment and you don’t know if inserting your head into the game world is even worth it.
Check out my setup.
Know how much that cost me? £2, including the 3M Command strips that are holding it onto the wall. The material is called honeycomb and it works like a charm. Just check out this shot from my recent stream.
It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and it took some fiddling with lighting to make it look decent. For a beginner or intermediate Twitch streamer looking to step up their game without taking a third mortgage, though, this is the perfect solution to dip a toe into the world of green screening.
Before you can do that, however, you’re going to need lighting.
Improve your desk lamps
We’ve already mentioned in another piece that the IKEA Tertial lamps make for a decent and cheap solution for good Twitch stream lighting. They work just as great with a green screen as well. They can be improved even further with a few materials and some DIYing.
Enter softboxes. The problem with non-professional grade lighting is that it’s not designed for spreading brightness in a wider area. Softboxes allow for your lighting to not only look brighter but more evenly spread as well.
To make a softbox, you’ll need a cardboard box, white trash bag or fabric, aluminum foil, and some tape. Here’s an example tutorial to help guide you but there are tons of DIY photography and videography sites that will help you build softboxes on the cheap. Just be sure to pick up LED lightbulbs.
Near-zero cost pop filter
You’re a few moments away from going live and forgot to buy a pop filter for your mic? A pair of tights and a wire hanger are all you need to stop those Ps from blowing your Twitch viewers’ ears out.
Simply bend the hanger into a circle, leaving some to wrap somewhere on your mic setup. Then just take the tights or pantyhose and stretch them around so as to create a tight membrane.
Cut off any unneeded portions, fasten in place, and voila! You will harm your fans’ eardrums no more.
The person whose tights you’ve stolen, though, may not be as grateful.
DIY Green Screen stand
If you don’t have a wall close enough to your back, you’re going to need something to mount your green fabric. There are ready to buy background stands for photographers that aren’t that pricey but if you’re looking to save some extra moola, you can put together a stand that is just as good with PVC pipes.
The only problem is that this solution isn’t going to be easily disassembled and reassembled if your space is used for other purposes.
There are tons of tutorials out there to help you put this one together but it should be a straightforward process to make a square-shaped green screen stand.
Easy peasy sound dampening
Anything short of soundproofing your entire Twitch streaming zone with soundproof panels isn’t going to stop all your rage and salt from possibly disturbing others.
What you can do, however, is reduce it relatively significantly by hanging a blanket or thick curtain around your desk or towards the direction of other rooms.
This will require some form of mounting which can be achieved with the PVC pipes we mentioned earlier. This method can also be used as a ghetto wall soundproofing if you’re getting too much echo from the room.
If your monitor, for example, is close to a wall, you might want to try sticking an old blanket there to reduce your voice from reverbing back into your mic.
Free overlays and visuals
This isn’t so much DIY as it’s just a money saver. There are websites out there that have free overlays (even animated ones!) for any Twitch streamer to use to beef up their production. I highly recommend checking out Nerd or Die and Gael Level’s YouTube channel.
You might be wondering what good does it do to get a free overlay that others may potentially be using. Don’t sweat that as there are so many people streaming these days, it’s going to be highly unlikely that someone will happen upon your channel and comment on how you’re using the same visuals as others.
Besides, you’re still learning and it’s better to try out a free product before dropping hundreds of dollars to get a custom overlay.
There you have it. These are some of the best DIY alternatives to snazzy Twitch streamer gear. Not only will your stream look better but you’ll also get a sense of pride by putting together your own gear.
About the Author
Yannis Vatis AKA AkibanaZero, is video game enthusiast and freelance gaming writer with over 25 years of veteran gaming knowledge. He actively streams on Twitch and regularly uploads gaming videos on YouTube.