Video editing options available to "white out" the background behind objects?

My organization has asked me to investigate video editing software.  Specifically, they want to know two things:

(a) is it possible to "white out" or otherwise erase the background behind a given object in a video - e.g. a video featuring a piece of machinery in which the warehouse and all the mess behind it is somehow erased/hidden

(b) if possible, what type of software or tool will accomplish this?

I know this is an option when editing still photos, using Photoshop.  Wondering is something similar is possible for video.
perfectionmachineryAsked:
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skilleddesignerCommented:
I think what you are talking about is a technique which is called green screen or chroma key. There are a few important steps in the process but basically, you just film your subject in front of a blue or a green screen. It doesn't necessarily have to be green, or blue but they are normally the best contrasting colours depending what you are filming.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RZnF_BhnOs

As far as I know, there isn't a program where you can automatically remove the background from video. You can tween masks in After Effects but it is extremely time consuming and isn't necessarily going to be the best solution for every shot.
 
 One piece of important advice would be: Plan your shots in advance. Use a green room if you are going to need to get rid of the background completely.
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perfectionmachineryAuthor Commented:
Thanks.  You've confirmed what I suspected re: difficultly and impracticality of trying to remove the background.  I appreciate the feedback.
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skilleddesignerCommented:
your most welcome
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