Back online. So far, so good. I found a neat website I’d like to share. It’s called NZ Pete’s Matte Shot. Hardcore cinema fans know about matte paintings already, but for those new to film, here is a brief description:
Matte painting is a fundamental component of film. A painted background, usually on glass, that blends seamlessly into the foreground of a scene. It is typically used to add depth to a shot or to disguise the size of a set and make it look like a much larger area. Typically used along side miniatures and optical effects like rear projection during the golden age of practical special effects.
A well designed matte can disguise the edges of a set and make a Burbank studio lot look like a cobblestone London street, a small sound stage into a mansion, or even the surface of another planet. Matte artists are wizards at disguising the edges of sets and adding a depth to shots that is so convincing that most people don’t even realize it’s there. The technique has been around since the silent era, but reached incredible heights of realism during the age of color film. Almost every film you see from that era has some form of matte work in it.
Physical matte paintings are increasingly rare in this age of computers. But the technique is one of several practical effects that have evolved in the PC age. Sophisticated digital painting and compositing programs carry on in the same style and continue to astound visually. But personally, I still love the old school practical effects.
NZ Pete has collected a wide variety of the best ones and explains a little bit of how each shot was set up. Please check out this amazing resource!