I have a video and I need to mask out the background for it.

Muppet Show number
A screenshot from the original video, credits to The Muppets Studio

The video has been shot with a still camera on a steady background. My goal is to mask out the background (e.g., everything not related to moving objects).
I don't have the original sources, of course.
It is also hard to recreate the background (I mean, to precisely match colors).

My approach, in theory, is the following:

  1. Collect a series of screenshots where different parts of background are visible (when objects move away);
  2. Glue those parts into a background image (see image below for a partial result);
  3. Place the background into a layer and compute the color difference between the original video and the background;
  4. Build a set of pixels for which:
    • the difference is nearly zero (within a certain color threshold occurring due to rounding/compression problems);
    • and within a certain minimal area (so that individual pixels did not occasionally appear);
  5. Wrap those pixels into a key mask.

Still, I'm stuck with building a proper structure of layers within Sony Vegas to accomplish my goal.

How this can be done?

My backround attempt

My environment is:

  • Sony Vegas 12.0/x64, I'm not considering another software;
  • Basic set of plugins/filters, but I will also appreciate references to 3rd-party plugins, even the commercial ones;
  • Still, I would prefer a "clean" approach based on masking.

Thanks a lot!

  • 1
    You seem to be heading down the right track, you might also have some luck with blending options, but I imagine you will need some kind of key that you can feed from a hidden track. I don't have Vegas though, so I can't really help you with specific details other than to say you seem to be heading in the right direction and wish you the best.
    – AJ Henderson
    Dec 29, 2014 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


chroma key choose a colour*drag) then take eye dropper and select background in the preview window

  • The OP's question shows that they have already tried simplistic approaches such as the one you suggest, and they are looking for more powerful solutions. To prove you have a great answer, test the technique you propose, show the max, and let that be the proof that you have offered the correct answer. Aug 25, 2016 at 11:28

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