The Logistics of the In-Camera Matte

The process illustrated here is simplified by the fact that both components of the shot—the painted image above the matte and the image that will ultimately occupy the same frame space as the matte—are static images, not cinematographic shots of objects in motion. The principle of the matte, however, is the same. When the shot of the painted image is taken, the matted portion of the frame (the black section at the bottom) remains unexposed on the film stock. The film in the camera is then rewound and the painting blocked out with a second matte. Whatever is then photographed will be recorded on the previously unexposed portion of the film stock. If both shots are properly controlled (the lighting must be adjusted and the camera mounted on a solid base to prevent vibration), the composite image will appear to be a single scene.

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