Adding a background behind your footage can enhance the look and feel and make multiple videos feel cohesive. It's also great for filling in space when you're publishing vertical footage as a horizontal video. Simply layering the right image can go a long way.

Maybe you have an Instagram video campaign, and you want all the posts to have the same custom border? Or you have wedding footage, and you want to add a romantic backdrop. Perhaps you have shaky protest footage shot vertically on a phone, and you need to fill in the rest of a 16x9 frame.

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to add a background to any video using a fully online  video and image editing platform called Kapwing. You can make videos up to seven minutes for free.

  1. Open Kapwing Studio and upload your footage
  2. Add your background image or footage
  3. Reframe and adjust your video and background
  4. Export to download and share

Step 1: Open the Kapwing Studio and upload your footage

Open the Kapwing Studio and click Start with a blank canvas. Determine the best aspect ratio for your social media platform and chose the output size on the right-side panel.  You'll be able to change this later if you need to.

Pick the right aspect ratio for your video
Pick the right aspect ratio for your video 

Now let's get your footage in here by clicking on the button that says, Upload.  If you need to link footage from, say, YouTube, or Instagram, you can also copy paste a link in the upload window.

Step 2: Add your background image or footage

Add your image to the project by clicking the Upload button. You can also search for an image by tapping the image button.

Here's where to click to upload your footage
Here's where to click to upload your footage

If you're doing an image search, my technique is to add the words "background, art, texture, or design" along with a feeling, color, or event. For the footage below, I saw the bride's dress was a rosy, champagne color, so I searched for "rose sparkle art," and found a design that perfectly matched the original image.

Add background to a video
This is an example of a nice video background.

After you add your background content, you may notice your original footage has disappeared. No fear, it's only hidden behind the new layer. Click on the background image that's sitting on top of the canvas and then, on the right-side panel, scroll down and click the Send Backward button. This will push it back behind your primary footage.

You can also set a solid color as your background. Try using the eyedropper tool to make your background match part of your footage. You'll see the eyedropper icon on the right-hand panel under the words Background Color. Hover your mouse over your footage to find a color you want to use, then click. In this example, I chose the blue from her dress.

How to use the eyedropper tool to match your background to your footage

Adding background footage can make your piece pop. You want to make sure it's not so busy that it competes with the primary video. If it does, I have some tips below in step 3 to help soften things up.

Step 3: Reframe and adjust your video and Background

Now, you need to position your footage and background nicely in the frame. Drag the little circles in the corner of your footage to resize. On the right-side control panel, you can select the fill or lock ratio setting options to help you out. "Fill" will automatically adjust the dimensions to fit a specific space, whereas "Lock Ratio" will maintain the video's original size. As you click and slide the layers, you'll notice little red lines appear to show you when your piece is centered.

Make your background less distracting

If your background is pulling too much focus, try darkening and blurring it. Click on your background footage, then, on the right-side panel, click Adjust. Slide the brightness down and slide the blur up a bit. Click Done adjusting to save your changes.

Blur and darken a background
Blur and darken a background

Trim and organize footage

If you have multiple clips, or you need to cut some of your footage, you can also do that in the Studio. Click on your video in the editing window, then, on the right-side panel, press the Trim button. This tool lets you quickly cut off beginnings and ends. You can also use it to cut out sections throughout the footage.

The Timeline tool lets you string together multiple videos. You'll see all your clips laid out on the timeline; slide them, so one comes after the next. You can also shorten clips in here. Read these more in-depth tutorials on how to edit video using the timeline and trim tools.

Editing video and background image in a timeline
Editing video and background image in a timeline

Replace the background from video

If you'd like to replace the background of your video, you can automatically remove the current background using the "Chroma key" or "Remove background" effect in Kapwing. When you upload your video, click on the layer and use the "Effects" tab to automatically remove the background behind you. Adjust the threshold to remove more or less.

Then, you can design your own virtual background behind the subject of the video. Set a new color or upload an image for the background of the video. The same tool works well for removing a green screen or editing with Chroma key. Here's a video tutorial on removing the background of the video:

Step 4: Export to download and share

When you're all set, click on the red Export button in the upper right corner. You'll be taken to a window with options to download and share. Download the video to upload it natively on social media. The video will also be hosted on Kapwing so that you can get a share link. Anyone who clicks that link will be taken to your final video page.

I hope this tutorial helps you create some incredibly aesthetic videos to share with your friends, family, and a wider audience. For more tutorials and guides, make sure to subscribe to Kapwing App on YouTube and follow us on Twitter at @KapwingApp.

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