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35mm hand-painted matte VFX advice?

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Hi All,

I’m preparing to shoot a couple scenes that will involve using hand-painted mattes (a là Black Narcissus, Star Wars, etc).

One shot is day exterior on 35mm Kodak 200T, the other is night interior on 35mm 500T. Below are basic storyboards.

Other than exposing correctly (at +1 for these particular stocks) is there anything else I should take into account to make the eventually composting with hand-painted titles easier/better?

Thanks in advance for any advice.


Edited by Omar Lopex
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It's a complex subject  that dependis on how the painting was painted.

You might have to scrim the live action with a very fine net to match the contrast between the painting and live action. 

Sometimes the color temp between the painting and the live action can be mismatched, so be prepared to have a good supply of CC gel filters that cover the live action aperture on the painting;  you might have to warm it up or cool it down.

Here's a pricey book that directly covers the topic:


Good luck.

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Frank: Thanks for the book recommendation. This is my first go at this & I had assumed I would be able to work with a rough sketch of the final image, shoot the live-action first, & then have the matte produced afterwards. I can understand doing the matte first, then live-action (like shooting wide then doing closeups), but is it absolutely necessary to do it that way, or do you think I can do it in the order I have planned?


David: Thanks as well. I had assumed I would film the mattes (after getting digital scans of live-action footage), process/scan the matte footage, & put together in after effects. Shooting the matte in-camera (on glass) seemed like too many variables to take care of on this first attempt. Is there a better/easier workflow to compost the images?

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I just assumed you were interested in doing it the classical way;  in camera.

If you are digitally compositing and not doing it in camera, shoot the action full frame and resize in AE.

Why not have all the pixels to play with for maximum flexibility?


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