Watch how far green screen technology has come

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But the fight choreography was still awful. Didn’t George Lucas already prove technology can’t replace directing?


A periodic reminder that most of the dramas you see on TV use green screen technology all the time, whether or not you think of them as “special effects”-heavy shows:

Need to get a quick shot of some lawyers chatting on the steps of a courthouse in Manhattan? You can either apply for a shooting permit, rope off a busy city block, do your best to control for sound and pray for the right weather or you can just bang it out in a soundstage for a fraction of the time and cost.


Very true, and also pretty depressing as someone who used to work in the film industry before green screens and CGI got quite as ubiquitous as they are now. I’m probably part of the last generation of folks who got to go to unique shooting locations, smash up real cars and blow up real objects. It’s not that those things couldn’t have been done convincingly with green screens and CGI at the time, but it was usually still more cost effective to do it for real. Oh well.


It’s funny, they have some shots from “Episodes” in the reel - when first watching the show, I was noticing lots of English actors playing American parts, which struck me as odd, as I was assuming they were shooting in L.A. But they probably weren’t, at least for any of the scenes most those characters were in…


I left the biz ten years ago, after working as an art director and model maker working on commercials for 27 years. I experienced the same things as you did. CG would have replaced far over half of the practical effects I worked on.


Finally we know how they faked the moon landing.




It is sad that the demographic most studied today is people who pick up incoming random numbers.


I was just congratulating one of my former students here in San Francisco for her role as a production assistant on Ant-Man and the Wasp. She noted that even though the entire movie is set in San Francisco most of the actual production took place in Atlanta.


Yeah, it’s weird - I fully expect a big movie to not be shot where it appears to be these days, but I’m still surprised when TV shows aren’t. I haven’t fully caught up entirely with how widespread greenscreen use is for totally banal shots, and how convincing it is even on a television budget. At the same time, paradoxically, I get pulled out of a tv show when they don’t do it, too - recently a few shows that were obviously filmed in Vancouver but set in various parts of the U.S. totally threw me when they tried to pass off a totally unaltered street shot as somewhere else. In one case Vancouver’s Hotel Europe was standing in for New York’s Flatiron building (and failing) and in another, a Victorian home was supposed to be somewhere in San Francisco (not only did it not quite look right, the neighborhood it was supposed to be in doesn’t have those kinds of homes anyways).

I was living in Sydney Australia when they shot major portions of The Matrix there. They had to remove and reverse a bunch of street signs for some fairly minor scenes that had to have city traffic in the background because it was supposed to be set in an American city (or at least a digital simulation of an American city). Hard to imagine them going through that much trouble today.

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Got to see a presentation on Royal Shakespeare’s collaboration with Intel for the Tempest recently:

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The barf cam is back baby !


In that case they probably did it the old-fashioned way: spend a few days filing in downtown San Francisco to show that it’s really San Francisco, then film the rest in Atlanta and collect that fat Georgia film production tax rebate. Close off the street, cover up anything that identifies the location as Atlanta, bring in cars with false California plates and there you go.

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