A green-screen effect, or chroma keying, is nothing new. The technology was first used in Hollywood as early as the 1930s, and is still used today in movies, sports broadcasting and, of course, weather shows. But it’s not really consumer technology — mainly because of the need for an actual green screen, a static camera and studio-quality lighting.

But being able to have a live video background behind you is cool — especially if you can use it to create unique social content to share with your friends.

Meet Blin.gy, a new app that’s figured out how to achieve a “mobile green-screen effect” without the need for a full studio environment.

There’s some background behind Blin.gy — the team had previously built Chosen, an American Idol-style app where you could create and share short video clips showcasing your talents. The startup partnered with The Ellen Show and gained some traction — but it soon became apparent that their key demographic, teenagers, were more into apps like Musical.ly, where music was the focus of the content they created.screenshot_20170215-205645

So the team took a step back and went heads-down with the goal of building a tool to create content that would let young people express themselves in a way that hasn’t been done before.

Essentially, they wanted to create a new type of content that would be unique to Blin.gy. Musical.ly has fast-motion videos with overlaid songs, Snapchat has filters and AR-style effects, Instagram has Boomerang — you get the point.

Eventually, the team came up with the idea to put users inside a music video, using a mobile green-screen effect. And while you’d think that with today’s technology it would be easy to just port old-school chroma keying to mobile, it’s actually more complicated than that.

The team’s patent-pending algorithm (they wrote a white paper going into more detail) essentially combines old-school chroma keying with new technologies, like object class detection, edge detection, color manipulation and other computer vision technologies. In short, they dynamically prioritize and combine these different techniques depending on the environment in which the video is being recorded.

So while a technology like Apple’s Photo Booth effect would be totally messed up the second you move your camera (and distort the background), Blin.gy’s tech allows you to use a non-stabilized camera that can actually be moving while you record the video.

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