So the need was clear, and I had the technology in hand, but some challenges remained.
I struggled to find good backgrounds, so I grabbed my camera and started taking my own. And this was when I took stock of all the efforts I had put into using green screens this way: I had to find a good screen (I went through a few of them), a good stand (I experimented with 3 types, mostly based on light stands), software (I tried out 10-12, and bought 2), and could not find enough background images taken from the right angle, lighting…etc.
More than that, the set up time for each call was way too long – 15-20 mins is too long if you have to get on a call on short notice.
So, I started tinkering, first with hardware, and made a prototype in my basement with tent poles and resin. It was not the prettiest stand, but it worked. Here is one of the only surviving pictures of it (most of it) – someone call the Historical Preservation Society!
Then I started working out the requirements for a software that could do green screen work for the purpose I had in mind, and be easy to use. An ex-colleague of mine referred me to a great developer, Cambridge iSoft, and we started to work on it. We put a lot of focus on keeping it simple, and used algorithms to help make the set up more straightforward.
By this time I brought Wazombi Labs in to refine the product design and work on a mold. What I wanted was a stand that was easy, quick, light, and connects to the screen using rare earth magnets. Magnets are cool 🙂
But the software and stand were not enough – I still needed backgrounds! So we developed a background market place, with the idea that everyone there could both buy and sell backgrounds. It is integrated with the software, and we are starting to promote it more aggressively. At the time of this writing, all the content on there is free, but sellers will be able to set their own prices soon enough.
We have now added features to make it easier to make quick YouTube and Facebook videos, and plan to add more based on feedback.