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The ability to give higher priority to regions-of-interest (ROI) is the emerging functionality for present day video coding. A simple and fast method for face detection is proposed to define ROIs dynamically in real time applications. We use the color information Cr and RGB variance to determine the skin-color pixels. Because the two color spaces are commonly used in most hardware and video codec standards, there is no extra computation overhead required for conversion. Low-pass filtering is applied to the background to reduce used bits. For the video coding system, a region-based video codec based on H.263+ with the option mode of modified quantization is set up. We adjust the distortion weight parameter and variance at the macroblock layer to control the qualities at different regions. Experimental results show that the proposed methods can significantly improve quality at the ROI. Our methods are suitable for real time videoconferencing.