How To Add a Bubble Effect To Your Videos & Livestreams with This Free Screen Recording Tool

One of the most sought after video effects that we use in our Thrive Themes tutorial videos is the Bubble Effect.

With it, you can use your computer screen to teach while showing off your personality in front of the camera at the same time.

Historically however, deploying the Bubble Effect has had one big drawback: it required costly video editing software to pull off (Adobe Premiere CC).

But now for some good news: there's a cool new tool available to you (that doesn't require money and a massive learning curve) to get the Bubble Effect in your videos.

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In fact, not only does this new solution give you the ability to create the Bubble Effect in your tutorial videos for free, but also allows you to use it in your Livestreams too!

Interested in learning exactly how to do that?

Watch the video above to see Shane walk you through the process step-by-step so you can create Bubble Effects in both your videos and livestreams using the free Open Broadcaster Software screen recording platform, right now (available for Windows, Mac & Linux).

Bonus: Bubble Effect in DaVinci Resolve

OBS is great for recording and streaming, but it doesn't include any video editing functionality. There are many free video editing tools out there that you can use to cut up an OBS recording, so don't let that be an obstacle.

While we're at it and talking about bubble effects in video, there's also a way to do it using:

  • A fully fledged video editing suite
  • With any video files, recorded in any way you can think of
  • With full animation, transition, overlay, VFX etc. capabilities
  • For free

And that is by using DaVinci Resolve. Resolve is no less complicated than Premiere, but it is free. So, if you're going to learn advanced video editing and you don't want to spend an arm and a leg, it's a good option.

Below is a quick bonus video, showing the best way I've found to create the bubble effect in Resolve. Note: if you aren't familiar with the basics of resolve, this won't make a lot of sense to you (it's way outside the scope of this already-out-of-scope blog post to go a basics tutorial on this software).

Go Bubble Yourself

After watching Shane's Open Broadcaster Software tutorial, still have any questions about how to start deploying the Bubble Effect in your online videos and livestreams?

If so, leave your questions and thoughts in the comments section below!

Author: Matt Totten

Matt's a geologist turned online marketer and digital nomad. He's a Modern Manimal on a mission to cultivate a wild lifestyle – by design. When away from his tech, you can find him studying movement through practices like Aikido, AcroYoga and Barefoot Running.

  • Dale M says:

    Thanks – very useful

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thank you, Dale. :)

  • Brett Farr says:

    Thanks Shane. For now, I’ve been using useloom.com and it provides most of what you’re doing here (though not as robust or custom).

    Thanks for the great content as always.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Good tip, Brett! Loom is a nifty tool indeed. :)

  • paxpa says:

    Shane may wonder whether there are people out there who will appreciate that he demonstrates how to produce the “bubble effect” in Davinci Resolve, Shane, do you?

    The answer is YES :-). Thanks for this video, very much appreciated!

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Glad to hear it. :)

  • philip.j says:

    Great tutorial, Shane, thanks.

    When I found that Camtasia wasn’t available for linux, I had to look for something else so I found OBS Studio earlier this year and cracked the circular crop thing.

    Also, because I don’t know anything about video making or editing, it took me a while to work out how to achieve multiple nested scenes with the circular crop. You demonstrated it in such a short time making it look quite easy. Stuff like ‘full HD’ 1920 x 1080, 30 fps were complete mysteries to me.

    You can use OBS Studio in ‘Studio Mode’ (which viewers can see at bottom right of the OBS screen), to set up scenes. This provides a split screen with the scene you’re building on the left and the live stream or recording screen on the right. This allows last minute adjustments and then a single click swaps the two over, with or without transition effects.

    OBS Studio was the subject of the comment I made on 2 April in “How to Record, Edit & Publish Your Video Lessons” (Lesson 37 Chapter 6 Module 2 of CourseCraft) – still awaiting moderation today, 25 April.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Sorry this tutorial didn’t get done sooner, to help you with your OBS setup.

  • Jason Weaver says:

    I have never used this tool from Wistia but for the total novice it might be worth a try of SoapBox https://wistia.com/soapbox

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thanks for the tip, Jason!

  • cheefoo says:

    Initially, I was contemplating to use Adobe to create the bubble effect. Now, we have another option! Thanks. I was hoping to the new Camtasia 2019 will come out with this bubble effect too. That will solve a lot of pain.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Camtasia should definitely add a masking feature to the Windows version. I believe they have it on Mac.

  • Jonathan says:

    I love you, Shane! You have no idea how much time and money you just saved me. Thank you very much! :D

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thanks, Jonathan! I’m happy to hear this was useful.

  • alex says:

    Why in one bubble, with the main camera… green hexagons and in the normal camera blue hexagons?

    What’s the main camera? Makes the skin look more natural, too, and hand gestures are more smoothly filmed!

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Movie magic!

      The main camera is a Sony A7III, which of course creates a much nicer image than a webcam. :)

  • Russell S says:

    Screen-Cast-O-Matic

    Lets you record webcam and screen at the same time.

    During recording, you can toggle between ‘full-camera’ and ‘screen-with-bubble’ with a hot-key

    In Editing mode, you can re-shape/resize/crop the bubble, move it anywhere on the screen and mask it (reduce the opacity to 0)

    That essentially covers all use cases in your OBS video, except no extra pre-sets, etc.

    The only thing to keep in mind – you want to plan ahead the “full-camera” moments and record them live (with a hot-key). When you enlarging the bubble size post-production, it loses resolution and becomes pixelated.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      That sounds great! Thanks for sharing.

  • David M says:

    Shane, this is great, thanks!

    I remembered something I received from TechSmith (the Camtasia folks) that was talking about using masks. I couldn’t find the tutorial I was looking for. I was able to make a bubble effect in Camtasia using that technique though. I made a very rough video showing how it’s done, not for prime time, no editing. I’m not sure if it’s okay to post it here. Please let me know if you’d like me to post the link.

    I really appreciate your posts and training programs. I am finally getting the puzzle pieces to fit together after years of trying to figure it out myself. You are AWESOME! Thanks again.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Feel free to post a link, yes.

      The only masking-like I know of in Camtasia is keying. I think they call it “remove a color”. I don’t know how to use that to create a circle crop on a video without exporting 2 separate videos, though.

  • Diane says:

    or use loom!

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Loom is a nifty tool, yes. :)

    • Bayo says:

      You’re absolutely right Diane.

      This bubble effect was like black magic…until Loom and other similar apps e.g. Dubb came along for the party!

  • Brian B says:

    Yes, I too use Screen-O-Matic might not do as good a job you presented here but easy for the layman to get started with a simple bubble video effect on the screen.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Brian!

  • Geoff A says:

    Hi Shane. Great video. Just a query. Why do you use Windows and not Mac? Just wondering. :)

  • paxpa says:

    Really great stuff, Shane!

    I just watched your OBS bubble video and it is really very good. I do have an issue, since I don’t have a Nvidia graphics card and I didn’t get it to work as in your video so far, but I got some understanding about the principles which are used in OBS and that is very helpful! Thanks!
    [31.05.2019]

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thanks!
      Are you having the same blank screen problem?

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