How to Remove a Background From a Video

by Alan Donahue

The increase of home computer storage and memory has enabled many consumers to edit home movies easily and for free. The advancement of digital effects has also allowed people to edit professional productions and create effects that used to cost hundreds of dollars to make. If you want to remove an element or background of a video from your movie, it requires only one program and a little work. If you videotape the footage after reading this, then you will have an easier time removing the background, but for already taped projects, the process may take a lot longer.

Open Adobe Premiere Pro and start a new project. Label the project "Background Removal" or something easy to remember when you open the project in the future.

Import your footage into the program by right-clicking in the project window and selecting the "Import..." option. Use the explorer window to locate your video file, click it once and then click the "OK" button.

Drag your footage down into the time line window. If there is only one part of the scene that you want removed, then use the trim tools to edit the clip down. Click and drag on the front of the clip or the back of the clip to trim the areas.

Place the video clip in either the "Video 1" or "Video 2" part of the time line after it is trimmed. Keep the clip in the "Video 1" slot if you want the removed background to remain black. Place the clip in the "Video 2" part of the time line if you want to add a new background to the scene, like another video or a picture.

Keep the audio linked to the video if you want it as part of the project. If you just want to learn the effect, you can save memory by right-clicking on the file, selecting "Unlink Audio and Video" and then deleting the audio portion of the project.

Click on the "Effects" tab in the project window. Click on the "Video Effects" drop-down menu and then click on the "Keying" drop-down menu. There are multiple options to use when removing the background from your video, but each option depends how your video was shot.

Use the "Green Screen Key" for footage that was shot in front of a green screen or the "Blue Screen Key" for footage shot on a blue screen. Drag and drop the video filter over your footage. Click on the "Effects" tab in "Monitor Window" to adjust the effect. Use the "Threshold" scrolling meter to make sure all of the green or blue is removed. If it was properly lit, there should be no changes necessary.

Use the "Chroma Key" filter for any regularly shot video. This process takes a lot longer and requires multiple layers on your project. Drag and drop the filter onto your video. Use the "Ink Dropper" tool in the "Chroma Key" effect options to select a portion of the video. Then, anything in that video with that color will disappear. Use the "Similarity" and "Blend" tools to eliminate as much of that color as possible.

Drag another "Chroma Key" filter onto the video. Use the "Ink Dropper" tool again to remove another color from the background. Play around with the tool and repeat this process until the complete background is removed. This could take more than 10 filters depending on how colorful the background is.

Add in the background video into the Video 1 slot on the time line if you are filling in the background with a new clip as stated in Step 4. Press "Enter" to render a preview of the video to see how well the background has been changed.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

Alan Donahue started writing professionally in 2003. He has been published in the Norwich Free Academy "Red & White," UNLV's "Rebel Yell" and on various websites. He is an expert on wrestling, movies and television. He placed second in the NFO Screenwriting Contest and received filmmaking awards from Manchester Community College and Norwich Free Academy. He currently attends Academy of Art University.