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Matte Paintings?


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#1 Scott Bryant

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 02:21 PM

How were matte paintings introduced onto the film. I've seen some behind the scenes videos of films that inserted matte paintings into frames as a background for actors to move around in without green screens. Just out of curiosity does anyone know how this was accomplished? I'm not particularly interested in trying it myself i was just wondering.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 02:53 PM

How were matte paintings introduced onto the film. I've seen some behind the scenes videos of films that inserted matte paintings into frames as a background for actors to move around in without green screens. Just out of curiosity does anyone know how this was accomplished? I'm not particularly interested in trying it myself i was just wondering.


"Were" or "are"? Are you asking how it is done today digitally or how it used to be done?

If an actor crosses in front of any new background, he has to be keyed in. If they didn't shoot him against a chroma key, then they would have to create the key one frame at a time using rotoscoping (hand-drawing around the object, like keyframe animation). Once they have a key (a cut-out shape of the area crossing in front of the new background) they can paste the foreground in front of the background without it looking transparent, which is what would happen with a simple double-exposure.

However, a lot of matte paintings are added to areas of the frame where people aren't crossing in front, so simpler techniques like split-screens can be used, soft or hard-edged. Or, with some digital matte paintings, the live-action shot is scanned and just touched-up frame by frame in a computer.
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#3 John Sprung

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 04:34 PM

For a look at how it was done in the old days, start here:

http://en.wikipedia....Albert_Whitlock




-- J.S.
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#4 Bob Hayes

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 03:15 PM

In the early days these amazing artists would go to the shooting location set up a camera. Lens and a Giant sheet of glass. Then they would paint the added element. When they were done the film unit would show up, add the cast, and shoot. As cameras got more sophisticated they started doing double exposures and shooting the mattes later.
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#5 Matt Workman

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 09:56 PM

movie magic baby! :ph34r:

...yeah or the above mentioned...Even more fun with motion control cameras or match moving.

http://www.mattepainting.org/
http://www.thegnomon...chmoving_g.html

Books:
D'artiste: Matte Painting : Digtal Artists Master Class
The Invisible Art: The Legends of Movie Matte Painting
Digital Domain: The Leading Edge of Visual Effects

Enjoi
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#6 Scott Bryant

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:50 AM

Very interesting. I enjoy old ways of doing stuff like matte paintings and live action special effects. I guess because they have been passed up now for CG.
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#7 Dominic Case

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 01:09 AM

Well before Albert Whitlock was the American glass shot pioneer Norman Dawn. He shot (with DoP Len Roos) a big-budget ($70,000 in those days!) corny, melodramatic silent drama in Australia in 1927 called "For the Term of his Natural Life" - a convict saga strangely reminiscent of an antipodean Les Miserables in some ways. There are ruins of the celebrated convict settlement at Port Arthur in Tasmania, and Dawn had enormous glass plates painted to extend the ruins up to their original skyline. Of course they had to paint the roof and upper storeys of the prison block to be a perfect match with the surviving lower parts. No small skill required.

I seem to recall that one or more of the glass plates survives and is exhibited at Port Arthur to show what the building was like before the roof fell in. Cinema re-writing history!
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