This method allows the aerial image of an actual object to be composited with live footage. The required tool is an aerial-image optical printer in which the aerial projector is replaced by a standard animation plate mounted some ten feet away from the main projector. This distance allows adequate reduction of an object mounted upside-down on the ground glass while permitting sufficient depth of field for sharp focus through the aerial-image lens installed behind the main projector aperture. In one pass, the footage in the main projector is recorded while the object is backlit, thus appearing as a silhouette whose background illumination serves as printing exposure for the film. The footage is then removed, and the object backed by a black card or velvet is then frontlit and photographed on the same piece of film. The result appears as a matte shot with a perfect fit.
hi order to achieve a well-balanced exposure and contrast, both the object and the footage must be cross-wedged. As with "Film-to-Artwork" previously described, the projector film must be color positive or separation masters. The background exposure can be filtered behind the main projector aperture, or large filters can be mounted directly in front of the light sources or behind the animation glass. When front-lighting the object, adequate attention must be paid to the contrast. Flat lighting is preferable, since a real object is photographed with a prerecorded film.
This method can also be used for combining animated art work with live-action footage. However, because of the lack of requirements for depth of field in the artwork, an aerial-image animation stand may prove less cumbersome for this particular purpose.
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