Mink Machine

The magic of green screen

I often get travel inspiration from exotic scene locations featured in movies. Scarlett Johansson taking the Shinkansen to Kyoto, Matt Damon driving a vespa through a vibrant Tanger, Jake Gyllenhaal sipping booze on a balcony overlooking Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech (where my friend had to put up with me some years ago as I stubbornly wanted to find that specific balcony) and so on.

But unfortunately most of it is fake.

For example, the main character of brilliant series Dexter lives at 103rd Street in central Miami, a nice seaside resort-style apartment. I’ve even looked up the building area with Google Street View. It is often featured throughout the four seasons, but in reality only the first few episodes were shot on location. The rest of the shots were taken in a constructed studio set in Los Angeles! In fact, most of the outside shots were done in California.

The magic behind this is called green screen (some years back it was referred to as blue screen). Most of you have probably seen this technique demonstrated in “behind the scenes” of modern movies, where the live actors are surrounded by a green canvas which is replaced by various footage during production.

This may not come as a shock since we immediately understand that they don’t build real spaceships for movies, but the use of green screen can be very subtle even in normal TV shows such as Dexter.

If you are curious at how much is real and how much is green screen, have a look at this video. Some of the material is a real eye-opener.

3 comments

  • avatar
    Johan
    27 Nov, 2010

    Det var som tusan – att det användes så ofta i vanliga tv-serier har jag inte tänkt på.
    Undra om man kan se att de är filmade mot en grön skärm om man blåser upp scenerna på en bioduk. På 80/90-talsfilmer var det ju lätt att se när det användes.
    Vill minnas att i nya Star Wars så byggde de kulisser så att de räckte över skådisarna och sedan klippte de in resten digital – kanske för att undvika grön skärm?

  • avatar
    29 Nov, 2010

    Dags att du köper den där projektorn, så vi kan undersöka detta! :)

  • avatar
    Tess
    05 Jan, 2011

    Fascinerande.. men man vill ju inte titta för mycket på det.. Förstör ju alla filmer.. :-)

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