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This is not the blue screen of death I am speaking of, but the process called bluescreening (also known as green screen, or Chroma Key).

It removes a particular colored background from an image so that it can be superimposed on some other video/still picture. If you have ever seen the weatherman stand in front of the map, then you have seen someone doing a blue screen technique.

greenscreen or chroma key effect

I would like to be able to

  1. capture video from my webcam
  2. send that video to a bluescreen / greenscreen / chroma key program
  3. have that program replace the color in the background with a background of my own choosing
  4. Once the image is superimposed, pipe it into Skype for video conferencing.

Anyone have a good way to do this?

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Id call it green-screening, that's what Adobe calls it ;-) –  Ivo Flipse Jul 29 '09 at 18:58
    
green-screen.htmlchat.net –  user112768 Jan 9 '12 at 2:45
    
This guy at ZDNET.com figured it out to record skype interviews for TV networks from home: zdnet.com/blog/diy-it/… –  user138129 Jun 5 '12 at 5:13
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5 Answers

I can get a greenscreen effect with Adobe Visual Communicator 3 most reliably -- it has pro level chroma keying that actually works, unlike the other toy software out there. I tried 3 or 4, none of them even really worked.

chroma keyed stonehenge in adobe visual communicator

However, I cannot figure out any way to pipe this excellent greenscreen in real time through Skype.

The ManyCam suggested by tgbarnett does work through Skype (and is free!), but it's primitive. I can barely get the chroma keying to work, even with a real green screen, and there are no settings at all to tweak to make it better. Darn!

manycam chroma keying

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7  
You should have worn a Super User t-shirt ;-) –  Ivo Flipse Mar 10 '11 at 11:42
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I should try experimenting with Kinect, perhaps that would allow me to do it as well! –  Ivo Flipse Mar 10 '11 at 12:27
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Manycam can be set to capture video from the screen: you could leave Adobe running in the foreground somwhere, and set Manycam to screen-cap from its window. Might be a bit crap quality though, and it's hardly a user-friendly solution.. –  Blorgbeard Mar 10 '11 at 12:42
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@blorg omg this works, it is totally a rube goldberg machine, but it works! –  Jeff Atwood Mar 10 '11 at 12:58
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Just to be clear - Adobe runs to capture the video, and apply the chroma effect, then manycam captures the portion of the screen with adobe, then skype uses manycam as its video source? I'd love to see this in action, and have the user move the mouse over the adobe screen, and the user on the other end sees a cursor fly over the user's face. –  xdumaine Mar 10 '11 at 13:13
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This is a standard feature on the PhotoBooth application in OSX Leopard your using a Mac. You can create your own static color background and then record the video or change it on the fly.

I am not sure of Windows application thought. I never use a Webcam in Windows.

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does this work to pipe in through Skype as the OP was asking? –  Jeff Atwood Mar 10 '11 at 11:22
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@JeffAtwood: Looked for a Mac OS X solution, CamTwist does well, shows a nifty effect in the last minute. –  Tom Wijsman Mar 10 '11 at 15:03
    
@Jeff Not that I am aware of. –  Diago Mar 10 '11 at 16:15
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BoinxTV can do this (and other handy compositing things) in real time (Mac only)

from their product information page:

Virtual Studio

One of the things that used to cost an arm and a leg and comes included with BoinxTV is the chroma keying. With it, you can remove a uniform colored background and replace it with a picture of a studio. In Broadcasting, this is called a "virtual studio" and saves you lots of money building a set. It is also very easy to set up and take down again.

There is:

  • a stripped down "Home" version for ~50$
  • and the full version for ~500$

Both seem to feature greenscreening and are available in the Mac AppStore.

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it seems as you still would need to use camtwist or similar to capture the preview and dress it as video source for skype –  kristofklee Mar 10 '11 at 17:25
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Many Cam allows you to add bacgrounds / borders / overlays to the feed from your webcamera - and it runs under windows. There is a free version too.

NOTE: You will need to change your Skype (or whatever other application) settings and select ManyCam as the webcam for Skype (or whatever other application)

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this does work! and it can be piped through Skype! but even with an actual green screen, it's very tough to get it to work reliably. They have a tips page but not enough controls to tweak the effect. –  Jeff Atwood Mar 10 '11 at 11:54
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I use Roborealm software (all platform) its cheap (50$) and does a lot more than Chroma Key.

You can use it to interface the capture source (webcam), Application that can use webcam will see the modified output of the capture input... No need to point a webcam to a screen that process a webcam (Frankenstein stuff)

There's a free trial version available on their web site (just google Roborealm)

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protected by slhck Sep 28 '13 at 7:21

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