To enable content based functionalities in video processing algorithms, decomposition of scenes into semantic objects is necessary. A semi-automatic Markov random field based multiresolution algorithm is presented for video object extraction in a complex scene. In the first frame, spatial segmentation and user intervention determine objects of interest. The specified objects are subsequently tracked in successive frames and newly appeared objects/regions are also detected. The video object extraction algorithm includes discrete wavelet transform decomposition multiresolution Markov random field (MRF)-based spatial segmentation with emphasis on border smoothness at different resolutions, and an MRF-based backward region classification that determines the tracked objects in the scene. Finally, a motion constraint, embedded in the region classifier, determines the newly appeared objects/regions and completes the proposed algorithm towards an efficient video segmentation algorithm. The results are applicable for generic segmentation applications, however the proposed multiresolution video segmentation algorithm supports scalable object-based wavelet coding in particular. Moreover, compared to traditional object extraction algorithms, it produces smoother and more visually pleasing shape masks at different resolutions. The proposed effective multiresolution video object extraction method allows for larger motion, better noise tolerance and less computational complexity.