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Old February 22nd, 2003, 09:21 AM   #1
Regular Crew
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lancaster, PA
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Backgrounds - blue screen or real?

Watching some of the interview footage on the major networks, I notice that there is always a wonderful looking and beautifully lit background.

Most often it's a study setting with racks of books in the background and a warm table lamp correctly positioned, and always a little out of focus, which brings the talent sharply into focus - just perfect.

I always think that it's a little too convenient, that everywhere they shoot an interview they seem to have the perfect setting, with perfect lighting conditions.

So, I am wondering if they shoot the footage at a location or in the studio using a blue screen and then draw from a library of "perfect" backgrounds which they drop in the background at post, or even real-time if they are in a studio.

Any comments?

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Old February 22nd, 2003, 09:44 AM   #2
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I only know the compositing side of the shoot so I can say that it is much easier to light the real set than to try to composite and then relight the foreground objects or people to fit any composited background (or vice versa).

That said, it has been done like you have theorized. I've seen it done in European news shows a lot but you can usually tell when it has been done. It isn't quite there.

TV shows don't have the time to put into Lord of the Rings-level compositing. Look at any weekly science fiction television show and you can bet they have a lot more time to spend compositing foreground people against background CG than news shows; yet the effect is usually noticeable. Imagine a news show with even less time trying to do the same thing.
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Old February 23rd, 2003, 08:09 PM   #3
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Old February 25th, 2003, 08:34 AM   #4
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You can do much better lighting on "real" sets as opposed to chroma key. The studios are big enough so they can throw the background out of focus a bit and light things the way they want. However, there's lots of chroma key in local TV news. When you're keying live, it's easy and better than doing it after the fact as we do in editing.
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