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A History of Compositing in Video

By Anthony Thurston on July 22nd 2013

Compositing has become second nature in both the photo and video industries, be it sky replacement in photos or set modification in big budget films. Did you know that compositing has actually been around since the dawn of the film? Sure it was much more rudimentary than it is now, but for the time it was just as awe inspiring as what we see now.

Check out this awesome video below from the guys over at filmmaker IQ which takes through the history of compositing in video from the beginning up to recent techniques like those used in the recent Avengers film.

Hollywood’s History of Faking It | The Evolution of Greenscreen Compositing from on Vimeo.

I specifically wanted to touch on the last bit that John Hess talks about regarding people complaining about the “overuse” and reliance of todays movie industry on compositing. I think this very much mimics the fight over compositing/retouching in photography, and just like with movies compositing/retouching in photography has been around pretty much since the invention of photography.

Legendary film photographers like Ansel Adams were gods in a dark room, and did more modification that most would care to admit nowadays. People need to realize that modification has been around since the beginning, and what it comes down to in my mind is that people fall into one of two camps. Purists and Modifiers. It is that way now, and has always been that way.

Which side of the fence do you fall on? Let us know in a comment below.


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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for posting.

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