When we first started shooting TV commercials way back in the “80’s” a substitute for shooting on location was a rather primitive chroma blue key studio set up. Note, we were shooting department store commercials on both coasts, for John Wanamaker’s in Pennsylvania and sister store Weinstock’s in California. Budgets were small but volume was high so quality was as important as expediency and we were not doing the Hollywood thing by any stretch of the imagination. Which of course, was part of why it was so much fun.
We’d rent a large stage and paint the whole thing blue, then parade an entourage of crew, talent, stylists, buyers, props and products into the mix, creating winter wonderlands or Italian Renaissance scenarios, as the particular campaign would dictate. Sometimes blue eyes disappeared into pools of something else entirely, requiring a formidable edit, but for the most part shooting twenty-five different Christmas commercials in a week could be done well.
Years past and chroma green or digital green screen replaced blue for all sorts of technical reasons, which really to this producer’s way of thinking meant green worked better. When we first morphed into green screen studio set ups, and then into fabulously portable green screen curtains, superb for political campaigns and fast and cost effective productions, we had to be meticulous with the curtain to avoid creases or dirt that wrecked havoc with the key.
But now, due to state-of-the-art Final Cut Pro software, which seamlessly keys out any green hue, it’s quick and almost flawless with some adjustments in the interface.
Case in point, yesterday, in front of our garage, in Marin County, CA, in homage to Lucas’ ILM just down the road where they’ve been doing the same thing on a slightly grander scale for years, we began the creation of a campaign for a mortgage and real estate specialist as a Maestro of all things realtor related.