I have a weak computer (Atom N270 & onboard, 2006 Intel graphics) and it's super slow to do video editing on modern resolution videos, preferably 720p and up.

I was wondering if I could manually do chroma keying without software to make it easier. Is it possible? Could I replicate what the software does manually, like, for example, painting sixty pixels into a square instead of using a fill brush in a single click? Chroma keying the entire video one frame at a time and composing a video format, or use some set algorithm to do it faster?

I believe everything made easier can be done manually in segments.

I mean it's hard to sit and wait like 2 hours to chroma key a 10 second video on these weak specs. I need to see if there's a way to ease the chroma keying process on weaker hardware.

The modern chroma keying software features are too demanding for a 1.6 GHz Atom N270.

3 Answers 3


No you wont be faster, but you could use a different method. As in a different application. Really it comes down to what your bottleneck is. If the bottleneck is the interplay between you and the computer then sure. What you can do is expand the video to frames as a prepass. This takes time but is essentially unsupervised. Likewise you could preprocess the mask somehow (use a half size proxy image for example), and use that as a basis.

The problem is that it might not be economically feasible. Since:

  • you need to learn a new software, as well as find it. Test it etc.
  • You may need to write portions of it yourself, atleast scripts.

You still dont get fast enough to get your investment back. I mean its still cheaper to buy new hardware, if you plan to do this more than 3 times in a row. I understand that your circumstances may be special and you havent got the money.

But on that note, we are actually doing what is essentially chroma keying on the graphics card of a raspberry Pi and it works at 15 frames per second on a full hd image. So i doubt its the hardware computation per see. Possibly its a IO problem.


No, you couldn't do it faster than the software does it. The software, if it is any good at all, should be much faster than you could possibly do it. That's why people use the software. If the software runs slow, then the same steps would be needed in your manual process and the manual process (whatever that is supposed to mean) would also be just as slow.

  • in any case even if you could do it, you can not, you would still need to upload that info to the computer. This uploading would be slow.
    – joojaa
    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:17

When you're talking about manually extracting a matte, you really should be looking at "rotoscoping" software, and not limiting yourself to chroma keying. Mocha is built into after effects and is a good tool for this purpose, but if your machine's too old to run it, you should research whatever rotoscoping software was state of the art when your computer was new. Rotoscoping is a tedious process, and it's nowhere near as convenient or quick as chroma keying, but sometimes (such as perhaps in your case) you don't have that option. I'd recommend watching some tutorials on it to decide if that's a direction you really want to take.

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