Video processing technology is regarded as a low-cost detection technology in complex environment. Because the placement layer is thin and the surface is complex that causes high detection error and high cost in laser measurement. Two problems must be solved before using it in large-scale composite structures automatic placement. One is to obtain the high-quality and stable image, and the other is to improve efficiency of image processing. In this paper, a method obtaining the high quality placement gap images was studied. It made use of the optical characteristics of composite material’s surface texture. And some parameters were determined by experiments. To reduce the calculation cost of image processing, a placement gap measurement method based on line scanning was also proposed here. The method was effective in our detection experiments on an actual workpiece.