How to Remove Backgrounds in Your Video Without a Green Screen

We’ve already covered ways of using a green screen to remove backgrounds in your videos. In reality, though, you’re not going to always have access to a green screen. Even when you can’t manage to have a green screen for your production, fear not. You still have the ability to remove backgrounds of your videos without a green screen.

Track Matte

As you can probably guess, this proves a little trickier than using a green screen. In the video, Terry walks us through using Track Matte to essentially trace points around our subject. You can think of these points as collectively forming a cookie cutter (or “matte”) that effectively “cuts out” your subject from the background.

But wait…

Much like staring through a keyhole into another room, we’re constrained by the parameters of this matte we just created. This can work if the subject we’re working with remains perfectly still throughout the entirety of the video. As we all know, videos tend to include motion. In the attached video, Terry is tasked with tracing a human being as he orates and paces across a stage.

Your single traced matte will essentially only apply to the video frame you used to trace it. If your subject is in motion, your matte will need to be in motion, as well.

Frame by frame

There’s really no simple way to put it here. You’re going to need to trace your subject using key points in each frame of your video. This technique will keep the smoothest matte possible to later remove your background. Sure, you could maybe get away with creating a matte every 10-or-so frames, but you’ll notice a drop in your video quality.

We ultimately need to remember that videos are really nothing more than a sequence of stationary images. For the best background removal without using a green screen, you’ll need to go into your editing software of choice and cut the background out of each one of these images.

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