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A video-based monitoring system must be capable of continuous operation under various weather and illumination conditions. Moreover, background subtraction is a very important part of surveillance applications for successful segmentation of objects from video sequences, and the accuracy, computational complexity, and memory requirements of the initial background extraction are crucial in any background subtraction method. This paper proposes an algorithm to extract initial color backgrounds from surveillance videos using a probability-based background extraction algorithm. With the proposed algorithm, the initial background can be extracted accurately and quickly, while using relatively little memory. The intrusive objects can then be segmented quickly and correctly by a robust object segmentation algorithm. The segmentation algorithm analyzes the threshold values of the background subtraction from the prior frame to obtain good quality while minimizing execution time and maximizing detection accuracy. The color background images can be extracted efficiently and quickly from color image sequences and updated in real time to overcome any variation in illumination conditions. Experimental results for various environmental sequences and a quantitative evaluation are provided to demonstrate the robustness, accuracy, effectiveness, and memory economy of the proposed algorithm.