ffmpeg does a very good job of getting rid of a green screen, with a command like this:

ffmpeg -f lavfi -i color=c=black:s=606x1080 
       -i input.mp4  
       -map "[out]"  output.mp4

but it replaces the green screen with solid black, whereas I would like it replaced with a transparent background, alpha = 0.

I tried setting the color to #00000000 (8 zeroes indicating a zero alpha), but that still resulted in a black background.

Strangely, when I set the color to say red, it gives a red tint to many unfiltered areas.

So I would like a transparent background, but I'm also curious what the color option is doing.

1 Answer 1


Output by MP4 defaults to the H.264 codec for the video. H.264 does not support alpha.

You can output to .mov with a video codec -c:v of png or qtrle. There are others but they have restrictions on resolution and framerate.

You can't use the overlay filter as it doesn't output to a pixel format with alpha. So, just the chromakey filter, and no color source.

  • Thanks. So something like this? 'ffmpeg -f lavfi -i color=c=#00000000:s=606x1080 -i input.mp4 -c: png -filter_complex "[1:v]chromakey=0x70de77:0.1:0.2[out]" -map "[out]" output.mov' Jun 5, 2017 at 4:04
  • ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -vf "chromakey=0x70de77:0.1:0.2" -c copy -c:v png output.mov
    – Gyan
    Jun 5, 2017 at 4:16
  • That indeed works -thanks! But the .mov file is a huge! 2 min of video which is 58MB as mp4 turns into 15GB of mov. And then I need to display it on the web, and it seems only webm will handle alpha channel video in a browser. And that is multiples larger. (Can't give an exact figure because I haven't got it to complete yet!). Jun 7, 2017 at 4:33
  • VP8 shouldn't be multiples larger. Somewhat, yes. PNG or QTRLE will be much larger; they are intra-frame lossless codecs. QTRLE employ very basic compression. PNG is better.
    – Gyan
    Jun 7, 2017 at 4:44
  • Tried various permutations. keep getting "Transparency encoding with auto_alt_ref does not work" and "maybe incorrect parameters such as bit_rate, rate, width or height". This was one thing I tried that gave those errors: 'ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -vf "chromakey=0x70de77:0.1:0.2" -c copy -c:v libvpx -b:v 1M output.webm' Jun 8, 2017 at 2:39

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