YouTube 'stories' feature lets creators swap out backgrounds without a green screen

Google reveals new video background removal tool for YouTube

If you don't have access to the stories beta in the YouTube app, you should look toward augmented reality. The entire system is rather technical, and is better explained on the Google Research blog.

Google has introduced real-time, on-device mobile video segmentation to the YouTube app, by integrating this technology into the latter's stories feature, a new lightweight video format, designed specifically for YouTube creators on its beta version.

Instead of carefully picking out body features from the subject of interest like movie production requirements, Google AI researchers developed a trained neural network to recon every sign of eyes, glasses, mouth and basically any feature a person can possess when taking a picture in order to swap the background effortlessly, increasing the videos value, and with no need for special equipment. So until then, video creators might need to stick with there old school green screens. But if you're one of them, you'll now have a new tool to create custom videos.

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Just like any other AI-based imaging programs, Google kickstarted its ambitious program with people manually marking the background in more than 10,000 images.

The result is a fast, relatively accurate segmentation engine that runs more than fast enough to be used in video - 40 frames per second on the Pixel 2 and over 100 on the iPhone 7 (!).

The Real-time Video Segmentation tool is another new feature for YouTube, which recently added a dark theme to the platform.

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The company has stated that this solution is quite lightweight and it can run "10-30 times faster than existing photo segmentation models" as it is created to work on a smartphone. So, it shouldn't be a surprise the rollout of the new feature for mobile video.

The technique makes use of neural networks to determine which parts of a scene are foreground to be left alone and which are background to be replaced.

Google silently made the ability to download YouTube videos for offline view available in more countries than we had expected.

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