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Blue Screen use on non special effects shots.


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#1 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 06:23 AM

Every once in a great while I'll see a television reporter blended into a background in such a way as to imply they are actually on location when I can tell it is blue screen. Anyone else ever see this? Is it a growing trend?

Are television news shows creating seamless blue screens to mimic on location television feeds when the reporter is not actually on location? I think it was Channel 7 news that showed a feed last December that seemed to imply the reporter was on location yet the sizing of the people in the background seemed slightly off.

I was watching a Twilight zone episode (the newest version with Forrest Whitaker as host) and there was a shot where Forest walks into the frame and I swear it had a blue screen look. Yet other shots of him didn't look blue screened.

Assuming the new Twilight zone was shot HD, is it possible that at certain focal lengths sometimes the "look" of HD can come off as if the background looks like it was composited via blue screen? I'm asuming TZ was shot HD, but I don't know for sure.

What's the best example of a seamless non special effect blue screen done on television that you recall seeing?

I was also curious about documentaries, are there ethics issues if one uses blue screen yet the blue screened shot implies the person is actually on location when they were not.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 09:23 AM

What's the best example of a seamless non special effect blue screen done on television that you recall seeing?


If it were seemless... how could we recall seeing it?
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#3 Fredrik Backar FSF

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 09:33 AM

It´s looking to become a new "didtheuswalkonthemoon" -conspiracy :)
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#4 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 09:47 AM

The "Daily Show" on Comedy Central has great fun with this by putting their obviously in-studio reporter against a blue screen and proceeding as if he is on location. However, on one occasion they started the bit the same way with the background seemingly blue-screened, but then the reporter walked over to reveal that he was actually ON location. I was surprised not only because it broke from their usual schtick, but because the opening shot really did appear composited....slightly out of focus background....flat foreground lighting.....it was really rather convincing and a great gag.

Of course, this is comedy....if a real news reporter were to do the same thing there are some ethical questions, but then again, everything is fake on tv so I wouldn't be surprised.
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#5 Patrick Neary

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 01:05 PM

my favorite blue-screen shot of all time was from a local, palm springs TV station- a host was sitting in front of an obviously keyed-in background of a golf course, introducing a guest, and when they cut to the wide two-shot, the guest was just a disembodied head floating above the couch! They immediately realized their gaff, cut back to a single on the stammering host while they removed the interviewees' blue sweater or jacket. :)
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#6 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 03:10 PM

The "Daily Show" on Comedy Central has great fun with this by putting their obviously in-studio reporter against a blue screen and proceeding as if he is on location. However, on one occasion they started the bit the same way with the background seemingly blue-screened, but then the reporter walked over to reveal that he was actually ON location. I was surprised not only because it broke from their usual schtick, but because the opening shot really did appear composited....slightly out of focus background....flat foreground lighting.....it was really rather convincing and a great gag.

Of course, this is comedy....if a real news reporter were to do the same thing there are some ethical questions, but then again, everything is fake on tv so I wouldn't be surprised.


That's what I'm talking about! The reverse blue screen effect, aka reverse BS. Make it look like it was a blue screen effect, then the actor moves and suddenly it's revealed to be an actual on location shot. I love that effect! I'm wondering if HD lends itself to that effect more than other formats. One of the scenes with Forrest Whittaker in the new twilight zone series seemed to take on that reverse BS effect.

So if a client asks a DP to light a reverse BS effect shot, it's a doable thing, no?

If it were seemless... how could we recall seeing it?


UH OH, the tree falls in the forest question.

I think something can be seamless and it can still be seen. The background sizes of the images don't
appear correctly porportioned to the foreground, that's got to be one of the toughest aspects to correlate in my opinion.


my favorite blue-screen shot of all time was from a local, palm springs TV station- a host was sitting in front of an obviously keyed-in background of a golf course, introducing a guest, and when they cut to the wide two-shot, the guest was just a disembodied head floating above the couch! They immediately realized their gaff, cut back to a single on the stammering host while they removed the interviewees' blue sweater or jacket. :)


That's just too funny.
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 11:55 PM

It's actually not that hard to make a location shot look "composited." It's happened to me several times. If the sun is overhead and you throw a silk above to knock down the harshness, then add some fill light to bring the exposure more in line with the BG, all of a sudden you've got two completely different qualities of light between FG and BG.

One time I really wanted to use a single net instead of a silk for this (a simple standup for a magazine show), but the director just couldn't deal with the angle of the shadows and I switched to a silk instead. We both remarked how much the shot looked like a composite, which kind of negated the purpose of doing the standup on location...
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#8 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 01:04 AM

One time I really wanted to use a single net instead of a silk for this (a simple standup for a magazine show), but the director just couldn't deal with the angle of the shadows and I switched to a silk instead. We both remarked how much the shot looked like a composite, which kind of negated the purpose of doing the standup on location...


It's times like these you pay someone 10 bucks to jog on by into the background.
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#9 Michael Nash

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 03:15 AM

It's times like these you pay someone 10 bucks to jog on by into the background.


Oh, the background still looked "live," it just looked like the foreground and background were shot in two separate places.
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 07:02 AM

Oh, the background still looked "live," it just looked like the foreground and background were shot in two separate places.


That's why you'd want the jogger running through the shot.
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#11 Michael Nash

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 03:40 PM

That's why you'd want the jogger running through the shot.


If you mean jog from the softly lit foreground and into the background, then yes. But I think I could have sold the director on the hard shadows easier. ;)
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