Post-Production

Mar 02, 2021

How to Remove Video Backgrounds without Green Screen

The new AI technology called Unscreen allows anyone to remove backgrounds accurately from videos by isolating the foreground subject. If you want to know how to remove backgrounds from videos without a green screen using this cloud-based software, we'll walk you through the whole process.
Photo by Mark Cruz on Unsplash

Green screens are used in TV news studios around the globe as well as nearly every Hollywood movie. Filmmakers shoot in front of a solid color, normally green or blue, and then digitally replace it with a background of their choice. 

Problems and challenges with green screens 

Despite its popularity, greenscreen technology has some quite serious limitations for filmmakers, particularly those on a budget or occasional users. 

  • They need to buy or rent sufficient lights and backcloths. 
  • Conditions need to be exactly right in an environment with an evenly lit green or blue background.
  • Shadows or wrinkles can leave digital artifacts which have to be removed manually.
  • Reflective surfaces, even light hair, and green clothes can create “holes” in the subject. That includes blonde hair! 

How to remove video backgrounds without a green screen

If you are wondering how to achieve background removal without all the time and expense of green screen technology, you will be pleased to hear there is a solution already available on the market. It’s called Unscreen.

Who uses Unscreen? 

The cloud-based software is used by professional filmmakers, marketing people wanting to give their content some extra pizzaz, and videographers helping their clients’ video ideas come to life. 

Using Unscreen, anyone can make their videos pop whether they are creating something fun for Instagram, a piece for a school project or an entire feature film.

During the lockdown, Unscreen has come into its own for teachers–especially those who haven’t been able to meet their students in person. They’ve created welcoming Unscreen GIFs to add into their meet-the-teacher presentations, animated themselves delivering get-to-know-me facts, and even inserted Spanish-talking pets into their teaching material. 

Below you can find another common example for background removal for teachers:

How does Unscreen work?

Unscreen builds on creator, Kaledio’s, AI-based background removal technology. The company has been perfecting the technique for still images since 2018, winning customers and critical acclaim throughout the world. 

Engineers feed machine learning software thousands of videos users have given them access to. They teach the AI to distinguish between foreground subjects and the background. 

By prioritizing the more successful outcomes, the tool gets better and better. Engineers can even train the software to better understand that particular elements (such as hairbows) are part of the subject. 

How can I use Unscreen to remove backgrounds?

There are two main ways to access Uncreen’s video background remover, a free and a paid version. If you are using the paid version, you have access to the Unscreen Pro plugin, integrated into Adobe’s Premiere Pro and After Effects.

Unscreen free video background remover 

Using Unscreen’s free version couldn’t be easier. Upload a clip of up to 5 seconds (or 10 seconds if you sign up) to the service on the homepage. You can search for a GIF and remove backgrounds without a green screen from your videos, online, and free of charge.

After that, download your processed clip as a GIF, Animated PNG, or ZIP file of single PNG/JPG frames (maybe after placing it in front of a selection of our backgrounds.) The resolution is capped at 360p and the download will contain an unobtrusive Unscreen watermark.

Depending on your web browser, you can upload MP4, MOV, WEBM, OGG and GIF files. 

Unscreen Pro background remover

With a subscription to Unscreen Pro or using Pay-As-You-Go, you can really start to see how useful the software can be: cutouts are of higher quality; you can replace backgrounds in videos of unlimited time instead of up to ten seconds; resolution can be HD (1080p) and these output with sound. And there’s no watermark.

You can upload MP4, MOV, AVI, MPG, GIF, WEBM, and OGG files, with many supported codecs. There is no maximum video length. The file size is limited to 2GB (= 2048 MB) – but larger files can be processed on a bespoke basis. There are 3 output formats to choose from (MP4, GIF, and Pro Bundle).

You will want to download it into MP4 for sharing or GIF for autoplay. Additionally, the Pro Bundle allows you to import files into professional video editing software. Even if you don’t have access to professional video editing software, you can use Unscreen to insert new backgrounds into your videos.

Unscreen also optimizes videos to reduce unwanted glowing effects or color spills when the background behind a subject is too intense, bringing out details in the cutout.

There’s more.

If you are removing video backgrounds for insertion into a workflow, app, or website, you can save time and resources via the API solution. With a few lines of code, you can scale your video and output it into MP4, Pro Bundle, and Animated GIF formats. Find out more here.

The best way to pay for Unscreen Pro depends on if you are doing a one-off project, or if you will be removing backgrounds regularly. Depending on your workflow, you can always check out our pricing options over here.

Using the Pro Bundle format to remove videos without a green screen

When you open the Pro Bundle download, you will find a ZIP archive containing two files:

  • The alpha matte of your video in which the foreground is white and the background is black, and
  • The main video with color-corrections applied to it.

To create a transparency-applied video layer, you can combine the two files in your video editing software.

What you do then depends on the video editing software you are using. 

If you are using Premiere Pro, or After Effects, you can use our new plugin to save time.

You will find instructions for manually importing into these programs on our FAQ page if you want to stay old school.

Here’s how it works for different software.

How to remove backgrounds from videos in Premiere Pro

  1. Upload your video to Unscreen Pro and select „Transparent“ as the new background.
  2. Select the Pro Bundle output format. Pro Bundle will give you the best available quality as well as sound. Then click on the „Download“ button to download your zip file.
  3. Click here to download and install the Unscreen Pro plugin.
  4. Open Premiere Pro, go to „Extensions“, click on the „Unscreen Pro“ extension, then press „Import Unscreen Pro Bundle“.
  5. A small window will pop up that will allow you to upload to Premiere Pro the zip file you have previously downloaded from Unscreen Pro.
  6. Once the zip file is integrated into Premiere Pro your video background will be transparent, so you can then go ahead and add the background of your choice.

Farewell, background! 

How to remove backgrounds from videos in After Effects

  1. Upload your video to Unscreen Pro and select „Transparent“ as the new background.
  2. Select Pro Bundle as output format – it will give you the best available quality and sound. Then press the „Download“ button to download your zip file.
  3. Click here to download and install the Unscreen Pro plugin.
  4. Open After Effects and go to „Extensions“. Select „Unscreen Pro“ and press the „Import Unscreen Pro Bundle“.
  5. Upload the zip file you have previously downloaded from Unscreen Pro.
  6. Once the zip file is uploaded to After Effects, your video background will be automatically transparent, so you can then add a background of your choice.

Just the subject is left!

How to remove video backgrounds in Da Vinci Resolve 

  1. If you are using Da Vinci Resolve, upload your video to Unscreen Pro and select „Transparent“ as the new background.
  2. Select the Pro Bundle output format. Pro Bundle will give you the best available quality as well as sound.
  3. Once processed, download the result ZIP file from Unscreen Pro and extract it.
  4. Go to the “Edit” tab located in the lower middle part of the menu tab.
  5. Right-click in the media pool and select “Import Media…”.
  6. Select the color and alpha files.
  7. Place the color file into the timeline.
  8. Select the “Color” tab.
  9. In the upper left corner, click on the “Media Pool” to display the imported Alpha channel file.
  10. Drag the “alpha” file to the map on the right and place it under the “color” file.
  11. Connect the blue arrow on the left side of the “color” file with the blue square of the “alpha” file on the right side.
  12. Right-click on the grid and select “Add Alpha Output”.
  13. Connect the green square on the right side of the “Alpha” channel to the blue dot on the far right side.

Voilá! The video now has a transparent background.

How to remove video backgrounds in Final Cut Pro 

  1. Upload your video to Unscreen. Optionally, choose a new background (otherwise the result will be exported with a transparent background).
  2. Click Download → Single Frames and extract the ZIP file to a directory on your computer.
  3. In Apple Final Cut Pro, in your preferences/settings change the default still frame duration to 1 frame.
  4. Import all of your still image files.
  5. Create a new project and drag all of your still images into the timeline.
  6. Select All so that every image in the timeline is selected.
  7. Right-click and select „Make Compound Clip“.
  8. Use your new compound clip as a video file in any regular project.

You’ll find it doesn’t have a background!

You can also import Unscreen videos with removed backgrounds into free software. 

How to remove backgrounds from videos in VSDC

  1. Upload your video to Unscreen Pro and select „Transparent“ as the new background.
  2. Download the result ZIP file, extract it and add the contained MP4 files to your VSDC project.
  3. Add the „color“ video to your sequence, and the „alpha“ video to the same sequence, one layer above.
  4. Right-click on the layer with the alpha matte and choose to display its properties.
  5. Change the composition mode to „Mask“.

Boom, the background is gone!

But if you choose iMovie…


How to remove backgrounds from videos in iMovie 

  1. Upload your video to Unscreen Pro and select „Green screen“ as the new background.
  2. Select the Video (MP4) output format. This format will let you download a video with a green screen background including sound.
  3. Download and import your result video with the green screen background.
  4. Go to „Backgrounds“ and choose a background that you would like to use.
  5. Drag the chosen background to a layer.
  6. Go back to „My media“ and drag your video with a green screen background above the chosen background.

Enjoy your video with a new background!

Now, if you have any questions about how to remove backgrounds from videos without a green screen using Unscreen, please get in touch. We look forward to seeing your creations on YouTube, Vimeo, and other platforms!

All blog posts

Comments

No comments so far.