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This paper addresses a new background subtraction algorithm for detecting moving objects from a static background scene. The algorithm is proposed on the basis of brightness distortion and chromaticity distortion in RGB color space. For a given video sequence, a background frame is first extracted. Statistical analysis of chromaticity value is used in background frame extraction. It can solve the problem of deleting moving traces of moving objects in the case of few frames and slow movement. Gaussian model is used to calculate the threshold of brightness distortion in object detection. It can solve the problem of manually setting the brightness distortions of different video sequences. Experimental results show that the method proposed in this paper can detect moving objects exactly and effectively. It has been used in intelligent video surveillance system and region of interest (ROI) based low-bitrate video coding system.