Expanding the Backlot

We all know movies aren’t real but it’s always fun to see how much is completely and entirely fabricated. Even the most banal everyday settings it would seem are as made up and fictitious as the story – if not more so.

A company called Stargate Studios is responsible for providing productions with digital backlots, giving a film or television episode a grander scope. I am aware that a number of big-budget productions (ie. “Zodiac,” “Changeling”) had used this technology to create the illusion of a different era in history or an exotic location, however, I was not aware the technology had been used so frequently on television.

I guess I should have known better. It makes complete sense, as TV is a medium typically restricted to shooting on standing sets, nearby locations, or an actual backlot to stand in for city streets. No doubt time and budget restrictions on television series make this approach a viable alternative.

It would seem any number of programs use the digital backlot technique to break away from the confines of the traditional backlot, adding a great deal of production value in the process. While on shows like “V” the digital backlot is easy to spot (it’s a giant alien ship), the digital backdrops for more everyday settings are less obvious.

Additionally, I would venture to guess that it is much more convincing on the small screen, whereas with big screen productions, the level of detail would have to be significantly higher for the illusion to be convincing.

Then again I might be surprised in this area as well.

I also find their driving reel impressive. Especially the landscape reflecting off digital glass in the winter scenes (see below):


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