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Mary Poppins Flying Nannies Effect


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#1 James Malamatinas

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 09:26 AM

I'm just watching Mary Poppins and was surprised at how well a certain effect holds up even now. The scene is near the beginning of the film when there is a large queue of potential nannies waiting outside the house for an interview, when a breeze picks up and starts blowing them all away. It obviously not entirely seamless however it looked a lot more genuine than a lot of even CGI effects I have seen in even very recent films.

What kind of techniques would have been used for this? Is it some kind of back projection with wire-work? I'm not very knowledgeable on VFX so I don't really have a clue.

I'm just watching it on TV in the UK so have no idea what version it is but it looks quite clean so I imagine it is some sort of digital transfer, I'm not sure if this would have helped the effects look less dated.

Thanks.
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#2 George Ebersole

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:12 AM

For that scene specifically it was all wire work on the studio with actual backdrops. I think the blue screen or color extraction that was used was for the tea party scene, when the two kids are running from the bank, and when Andews, Dick van Dyke and the children are together during the animated sequences. There're other shots, but I can't remember them all.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:43 PM

I seem to recall reading somewhere that the chromakey was orange-screen, using sodium vapour lighting. But I could be wrong.
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#4 John Holland

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:50 PM

Its was a Sodium Vapour lighting a strange system ,not Orange but Yellow and I think had to be shot with some sought of beam splitter camera , i.e a huge old Technicolor one . I could be wrong .
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 06:10 AM

Just checked in Raymond Fielding's "The Technique of Special Effects Cinematography", it was a Technicolor camera. There's a couple of pages on the sodium process.
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#6 John Holland

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:06 PM

Thanks for that Brian , strange how ones brain retains useless information !
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:30 PM

http://en.m.wikipedi...m_vapor_process
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#8 James Malamatinas

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:50 PM

Thanks for the info guys.

I’d really love to learn more, especially about practical effects, yet have focused most of my film learning to date on areas more directly related to camera assisting.

If I was to start exploring and understanding the visual effects world though, is that book - "The Technique of Special Effects Cinematography" - the best to start learning from? I've heard of it previously and it seemingly has the reputation as being a bit of a tome for this subject area! At $120 though I want to make sure it’s worth the purchase. Is it hugely technical or is it fairly accessible not family with the VFX already?

I understand that some of the techniques may have been superseded but love practical effects and want to know how films have been made in the past just as much as I want to learn about techniques and the use of CGI over practical.
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