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There are so many aspects to video creation that it’s easy for some elements to go overlooked.
With the excitement of planning, shooting, and editing a project demanding so much of a filmmaker’s focus, the idea of choosing a background might at first seem so minor that it slips under the radar.
Because of this, the background is something that YouTube creators often don’t think about during filming, instead opting to worry about it in post-production.
This is a big mistake, though, as the background is an essential component of any video that can help set the tone, increase production value, and help the filmmaker tell their story.
So when you begin to plan your next video, it’s important to think about what your choice of background can add to the project and its overall presentation.
Let’s break it down further and examine 6 vlog background ideas for your YouTube videos.
1. Solid Backdrops
One of the most common background options that can help increase the production value and professionalism of your videos is a solid backdrop—a category that includes sheets, curtains, and any other fabric, as well as paper screens.
Though the specific material you choose will factor into your project’s overall look and feel, solid backdrops generally serve to provide a consistent, clean appearance to your videos and keep the focus on the presenter.
Because of this, solid backdrops are typically used in things like instructional videos, news, and product reviews.
The type of paper backdrop rolls Potato Jet uses are expensive and found in many professional photo and videography studios. They require a wall (or ceiling) mount as well as seamless paper rolls. But there are a lot of cheaper background options available on Amazon.
2. The Collage Background
A collage is a simple background solution for YouTubers who don’t have a lot of space for filming.
They’re versatile too, as collages serve the dual purpose of adding wall art to a space—such as a bedroom or home office—and providing a consistent backdrop across videos.
They can also help the filmmaker convey their personality through subtle details in the background, which is why they’re a popular choice in the vlogging community.
3. Create a Set
One background that can really make your videos stand out in search results is a custom backdrop or set.
Essentially a craft project, these are backdrops that can be made once and reused to give your channel a consistent look, or they can be tailored to the subject matter of each specific video.
For example, if you’re shooting a birthday or New Year’s vlog, create a party set featuring a solid background of streamers, balloons, and other decorations.
If your channel focuses on nature, create a fake grass wall to be used as your backdrop, like the one in this video.
The options are endless and can allow you to flaunt your crafting skills and creativity. – Or you can hire someone to do it for you.
4. Use Your Room as a YouTube background
A great natural backdrop option is to simply film your video with the rest of the room in the background.
Showing viewers the space where you shoot—whether it’s a home office, a bedroom, the kitchen, or someplace else entirely—is an ideal way to convey your personality and give your videos a casual feel.
For creators who always film in the same room, it’s also practical and unobtrusive—allowing them to leave their gear set up and avoid the hassle of future equipment preparation.
Alternatively, you can show off different rooms of your house depending on the subject of your video.
If you’re talking about your new wardrobe, film in front of your closet. If you’re making a food video, let viewers see your kitchen or dining room.
Ultimately, you can use any room you’d like, so long as the space you’re displaying is relevant to your topic.
Whatever room you choose though, make sure to keep it clean and visually interesting—after all, audiences don’t want to see your unmade bed or dirty laundry sitting in the background.
If your room isn’t that interesting, you can shoot on a lens with a shallow depth of field. This will add a soft bokeh (blurry background) effect to your footage, making it look more professional and appealing.
5. Use Animations as backdrop for your YouTube videos
Though they’re technically a solid backdrop—as they’re filmed against a green screen—let’s consider animations another type of background because they require additional work in post-production.
If you (or your editor) know how to use the keying features in your editing software, you can replace a solid background color with an animation—quite literally adding a whole new dimension to your videos.
Do some research and see what’s available, as there are plenty of pre-made animations (especially backgrounds) that you can find on websites like Shutterstock and MotionArray.
6. Shoot video on location
Depending on what type of videos you create, another perfectly viable option is to have an ever-changing background—that is to say, you can shoot on location.
If your projects are scripted or typically involve interacting with the public, then simply filming in your home office in front of a solid backdrop won’t be sufficient for your needs. This is a given if, say, you’re a travel vlogger.
In these situations, the location is essential to the story, so you’ll have to do some old-fashioned video preproduction steps.
In this case, that means scouting out a location, obtaining permission to use it (if necessary), and preparing the space for whatever your shoot will require.
Sometimes shooting on location can be challenging, especially if there are lots of pedestrians, loud noises nearby, or if other external factors arise that are outside of your control.
To make these productions easier, bring some friends (or hire people) to act as PAs and help lock down the area as much as possible.
This may involve blocking foot traffic, preparing the set, or virtually anything else the filmmaker needs.
Final Thoughts: Decide if you want a natural or ‘artificial’ background for your YouTube video
You need to decide whether you want to employ a natural background.
When something like a curtain, for example, is used to provide a clean backdrop, it’s not a “natural” background because it acts much like a set.
Meanwhile, a video that features someone’s home office or kitchen uses a natural background because it’s incorporated organically into the backdrop.
Ultimately, the choice between “natural” or “unnatural” backgrounds is largely stylistic, but it should be based on the type of video content you plan to produce.
About the author:
Jan Sørup is a videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.