Camtasia bug? Remove color for white does not work as expected

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Camtasia 2019.0.7 (Build 5034) 64bit

The remove color works well with a green screen, but given that I am using a webcam the compression blends the edges into a color between green and the edge which left a green halo. I was using it for making a white background anyway, so I dropped a white background, thinking that I could remove color with the eyedropper to get a pure white background to blend into my website.

To my surprise, while it removed white, it also removed my dark hair and beard, shadows, nostrils, etc.

Here is the source video in Camtasia:


And here is what happens when set the canvas to white, and I remove color and use the eyedropper on the upper right off-white background, default settings:


As I don't want to terrify my clients, this won't work.

It seems like the color removal is "wrapping around" and taking out black as well as white, which is unexpected.

I found a workaround where I layer the same video, the bottom layer colorized with white at 23% then a top layer where I removed that same off-white color as above. Together they almost work. They do make the grey in my hair and beard quite brilliant though...


Is this a bug? I'd like to just remove whit-ish and let the pure white show through in one step.
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steve

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Posted 2 months ago

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Ed Covney

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I don't understand.  What is the purpose of a background color if not to place your mug shot in front of some other scenic background?
If you desire a pure white background in the final cut, why not start with a pure white background?

A pure white matte paint (ceiling paint?) on very cheap backboard is all you need   or  try Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/LYLYCTY-Background-Non-woven-Backdrop-Photography/dp/B075V4HPL7/ref=sr_1_4?cr...
Read some of the comments regarding removing the fold creases.


(Edited)
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steve

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I hear you, which is why I moved to the white backdrop. My website is pure "computer" white (RGB 255,255,255), which no paint or backdrop is going to match going through a camera, even using controlled lighting as I do. Maybe it is just me, but I don't like the aesthetics of a near-white video embedded in a pure white background, so all the rigmarole is to get a pure computer white to match the website.

I originally wanted a green screen to give me options later, if I change the website to some other color or wanted to put in a different background or whatever. Through the years I have had cause to wish I could do that, even without specific objectives today. For example, I have a 70 hour course capture that would have been nice to have on a green screen to update the color scheme from its original blue-ish background.
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Ed Covney

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What was your background in the top picture? It looks like an un-folded "whitish" sheet or newspaper - paper (no print). 
I still think your best bet is white matte (poster board or white foam board) available at most hobby shops, Walmarts, etc. It looks like a 48" x 32" board would do the trick.
(Edited)
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steve

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It is a white muslin backdrop that came with my lighting and backdrop set. The problem with "white" is that there isn't really a white. I am using 5500K light sources and there is a camera involved. I have the camera using 5500K as its white balance. It is only a webcam after all, and all that information needs to go through it to the SSD. I want it focusing (pun intended) on the 60 fps since I think that makes a nice looking video. It may be weird, but I figured I could fix the not-quite-white by using the color remove on a computer white background.

Your point is well-taken though, and next time I'll steam out the backdrop and throw even more lighting at it. But regardless of the backdrop I will probably need to color remove whatever white I use as a backdrop since it won't quite match a computer screen's idea of pure white. (And of course as-displayed "pure computer white" isn't white either, but as long as I can match it, there won't be a contrast to the web page background...)

Aaaanyway, thanks! You have given me some good ideas!
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jelan.maxwell

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Definitely a tough task as the way to effect works it to just remove 1 color from the total clip. you generally can't get it perfect and will just need to be as close as possible with the green halo.
White doesn't work very well because white exists in like everything.
Just gotta play with the tolerance and softness till it gets a decent result.
Wouldn't say it's a bug, it just can only do so much I think.
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steve

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The problem is the source video. It is a 4k Brio Pro Webcam, but it is not 4k like a real 4k camera. It uses a large amount of compression. I record at 1080p at 60fps and no amount of fiddling with the remove color settings results in something pleasing without cutting out chunks of my face. It is built into the source. White is OK to remove if I put a pure white background, since any removal artifacts blend away.

I still think that if you remove white and black is removed too that it is a bug. :) Not sure if it is a use case anyone else cares about though.
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Muscle Whisperer

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You can purchase a multi-color LED floodlight and color just about any wall to something you want, and the "eyedropper" it to remove that pigment.
If you use an inexpensive flood fill behind you, facing towards you (off-camera) from behind, you will eliminate the chroma halo around your head.
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Kelly Rush, Product Manager

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Hey Steve,

I grabbed your source screenshot that you posted and tried playing around with some of the settings on the color removal, but didn't have much better luck than you. I was chatting around with some of our devs, without looking at it, it's certainly possible that it could be an issue with the color removal (odd that it is removing black when you're choosing white). Another potential issue is that there is some white background leaking through your hair (or in the case of your eyes, picking up the white color from your sclera), and that is just bleeding out onto the black areas around that as you play around with the tolerance, softness, etc.

I definitely think that you'll get your best result (trying to get a pure white background) by doing one of two things:

1. Start with a pure white backdrop. This is the approach I generally take when I want a white backdrop, and I usually have to break out the portable steamer, a few extra backdrop lights, move away from the wall, etc.

2. Go with a green backdrop, and replace that in post. Even if you don't go to the trouble of ironing it out, lighting it better, etc. the green will contrast MUCH more with other natural body tones, and you'll be able to pull out the color much better.

Backdrop lighting is always fun once you get it, but frustrating until you do! :)

Kelly Rush
Product Manager, Camtasia Team
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steve

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Thanks for taking a look!

Here is a full-res still from a test video with my green screen and 5500K lighting.



and here is the live version that was the best I could do in removing the green:


I tried throwing more light on the background, but still ended up having a halo or having missing pieces of my head and chair.

Interestingly, this camera has an in-camera green screen option that apparently makes use of the infrared sensor and does a pretty good job of taking the green out, but because Logitech is Logitech, I can't just do a plain white background. It is either black or it is what is showing on a monitor. Or I could use Chromacam for a price, which is just irritating. No idea on how this affects performance though.

Anyway, any guidance would be very appreciated. Thanks!

If you are willing, let me know if you find a better setting that won't look weird. Original 
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Joe Morgan

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Hello Steve,

Using a White Backdrop as if it were a green screen.  Will always be problematic. Why? In a nutshell.

White is actually the absence of color.

 Flesh tones, your eyeballs, most colors, particularly light colors, including room lighting bouncing off you. Is absent of a certain degree/percentage of color. The filter will detect this absence of color. Then key it out.

The Tolerance, Softness, Hue and Defringe adjustments help clean up/tone down the spillover/removal. There’s only so much these adjustments can do. The filter is incapable of differentiating what absence of color you wish to save, and that that you don’t.

That’s why green is so popular. In general, most colors don’t contain a lot of green. So there’s very little for the filter to detect/ key out to your detriment.

The reason there’s green fringing surrounding you? The backdrop itself may be casting green  back upon you. This is especially problematic if you’re positioned to close to the green screen. Or the lighting is to bright.


You’re probably limited as to how far you can position yourself away from the green screen, based upon screen size and room conditions. Ideally, you should be a minimum of four feet from the screen.

You want to use soft, diffused lighting if possible.

You want light falling on you evenly from all directions. So that you’re not casting shadows upon yourself. Or the screen behind you.

This is easier said than done. It is also critical for good results.


The remove a color feature in Camtasia. While it is capable of doing a decent job. That’s pretty much the extent of its capabilities. Remove a color is old school technology. Better suited for removing colors from graphics with defined lines and borders.

In a studio with first-class lighting and high-end cameras. Remove a color can do a better job. Most of us don’t have a studio, high-end lighting or cameras.

In the example below I’m using a decent lighting set up. It could be better. Although it works quite well. I’m using a Muslin green screen.



I shot some footage and placed it in Camtasia 2018.

I created the following examples in December of 2018. I'm simply re-posting my results.

With settings optimized/adjusted to the best of my ability. The edges surrounding me come out quite jagged. There’s also green fringing that cannot be removed.



Achieving near flawless results. Can be challenging under the best of conditions.

This example was created in Adobe’s Premier Pro. I’ve used the same footage and background.I used just 1 filter to keep the examples fair and on a level playing field.The Chroma Key filter.

I could have done much more to improve the results.



I’ll let the comparisons speak for themselves.

For what it’s worth, I wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors.

Regards,Joe

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steve

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Hey Joe, and thanks for the comments. How did you get your green screen so taut?

I have some decent lighting solutions. Here is how I had set it up...

4x 5500K flourescent lights: two box lights illuminating the green screen (muslin backdrop) to minimize shadows, two white umbrella lights illuminating my face, umbrella to the rear. You are very right about the limited space. This is my office, so I am about four feet from the green screen and that is about all I am going to get without removing a cement wall. :)

I agree with your analysis above and think Camtasia is doing the best it can with what I am giving it, which is a compressed 1080p video stream. If I zoom into the as-captured video, I can see where the compression has made an outline surrounding me by blending my skin tones/hair/shirt with the green screen to an off-green color, so when I try to remove it gets grabbed along with the pure green and it gets chunky or it doesn't and I have the green halo. So I think the source is mostly to blame there. If I had a true 1080p video camera and not a webcam I'll bet it would do a better job with that. I do have some studio-quality video captures in front of a green screen at much higher res, and Camtasia rocks in removing that green.

That was why I tried the white actual background. Knowing that white was a weird color to remove, I figured if I removed all white/near white while on a white backdrop, then made the Camtasia canvas pure white, it would be close and adjustments could be made to avoid the uncanny valley with my own face. The surprising thing was that it removed the white backdrop but also dark areas like hair and shadows and my grey chair. If anything, I would have expected it to remove my skin highlights long before black shadows. It may not be visible in that second screen shot, but it actually removed all the black/grey but didn't touch the white of the sclera in my eyes. So that, I think, would be a bug, like the tolerance is "wrapping around" from offwhite-white-black-grey. Possibly an irrelevant one though.

I actually got the idea for the workaround that eventually did work all right from a tutorial using Adobe I think. It seems to work, though I end up looking like I have a lot more white hair than I do...

So what I have now works, in a weird way. I just thought it was strange that remove color for a near-white also removed black. And to put out a workaround if anyone else is in such a unique position as I am!
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Joe Morgan

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How did you get your green screen so taut?

Its a 10' x 20' green screen.
I created the stand out of PVC drain pipe. 1 1/2" Pipe is strung through the top. Another one is on the bottom.The screen wraps around the outside of it.Then, I have a 4" pipe mounted  on the backside.
I set it up so I can rotate the 4" pipe to spool up most of the backdrop neatly without wrinkles.I can place tension on the exposed cloth by rotating the pick up drum tight. It works really well.Virtually no wrinkles or sags.

I placed your png image in Premiere Pro and got pretty good results.None of the artifacts you were running into.
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steve

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Thanks for the tip! I am using a frame so I'll have to see if I can get it clamped tighter. Thanks for checking with Premier Pro!