Talk:Matte (filmmaking)

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I edited the entry somewhat, to clarify the distinction of static and travelling mattes. I removed the description of what was more properly called a "glass shot" and the Schufftan process, as these did not involve the use of proper mattes. I hope my description is clear and acceptable.

Hello all. I edited the steps in the section on the "Latent Image Matte", (As the Whitlock unit called it) to try to make the steps in using the 'test strips' clear. I will also edit in the phrase "latent image matte" as that was a widely used term at the time to describe the differences between what Whitlock style effects artists were doing, vs. what 'Optical Printer' matte artists ( i.e. J. Danforth, I.L.M. & so on) were doing back in the day. Although towards the end the Universal -Whitlock unit was mixing Latent image & Optical & Blue screen work more often than not.

(The RKO Lynwood Dunn unit did lots of optical printer matte paintings for Citizen Kane.)

The Segment on Bi-Packing & traveling Mattes is difficult to read & understand. To be fair Bi-Packing technology is difficult to understand anyway, so I sympathize with the writer. I'm not sure how I would describe it for clarity myself! Perhaps there should be a link to the wiki pages on Ansco color & technicolor as those were both multi- pack film processes themselves. Several times in the Bi-pack section the word "Tape" instead of "Film' is used, which adds to the confusion, so I do recommend some clean-up there, I just don't feel qualified myself to do it.

I made the change from 'tape' to 'film', that's obvious. (Bi-pack wouldn't work with tape!) But further clean-up would be wise: I agree this tricky concept isn't very clearly conveyed. DanEfran (talk) 13:18, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

In History section, I have never been able to find a description of where the phrase "matte shot" came from? I have the Cotta/Barron book, but I don't remember reading anything about it in there. Wasn't the backwound- card covered shot called a "Split-Screen"? and not necessarily a "Matte" shot? (Regardless of whether the "Split" was a straight line or was a more complicated seam) The division between the development of "Split screen" (Melies style art effects) & the "Glass Shot" (Dawn) should be clear (No pun Intended) the Split screen was a primitive form of post production effect, but the Glass Shot had to be done right then on the set or location & the camera was shooting THROUGH the glass & artwork to the live action. So it had to look fairly real- (& match the light) but be PAINTED RIGHT THEN! Pretty amazing in retrospect. Also since both elements were exposed at the same time there were no problems with registration. Those were called "In Camera Glass Shots" because they were done in the one pass. The change in quality of Latent image mattes was because of the metal bodied electric movie camera, not because of better film stock. Its true that the movies switched over to Panchromatic film & the image looked better- But the motorized camera allowed for more consistent exposure during a matte effect, & better registration while double exposing a composite. In-camera glass shots were used right up till the 60's from what I understand. (Like the cliff jumping scene in Butch Cassidy & Sundance Kid) (Although that might have been "Hanging Miniature" not artwork.) Anyway I will try &come back and do a little more touch up here as time allows. I will also try & get source information. - I like this Wiki entry the best of the 3 on subject "Matte Painting" (talk) 04:33, 27 April 2009 (UTC)MBD

Matte Painting should get its own page??[edit]


matte painting is pretty much a different toolset. It's more artistic in the painting/drawing sense, whereas the generation of mattes is a fairly technical task where artistic enhancement is not the goal. Glennchan 23:16, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Matte or mask[edit]

I wonder if this article is rather US centred. In the UK the masking on film prints to change the aspect ratio is quite distinct from 'process shots' (actually an American term, I think), and thus might best ber treated separately. Philip Cross (talk) 10:59, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Matte or mask[edit]

There seems to be multiple confusions here. The phrase "Process Shot I have seen used incorrectly used before. In American production, Process Shot meant a "Rear-Screen Projection" and had nothing to do with "Masks" "Mattes" or "Murgatroyd". Also I understood Hard & Soft Matte in connection with production to mean that if the DP shot the negative with a Matte to mask the shot 1:85 to one that was a "Hard" matte because it was irrevocable. But if it was shot Full Frame & distributed with the recommendation to Matte to 1:85 to one, it was "Soft" because you could mask it to 1:66 if you chose, or even leave it off & project Full screen. This emerged with the ascendancy of shooting for theater- but with TV prints in mind while shooting. ) MBD (talk) 10:59, 25 April 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Moscow we have a problem ...[edit]

All links to other Wikipedias currently point to Matte painting - this is obviously wrong! Also German WP has a separate article to Matte painting (named the same as in English) which must NOT be here! (correctly linked from Matte painting)-andy (talk) 10:59, 20 March 2008 (UTC)


i've got troubles to translate this term. what exactly does matte-painting mean? most likely matte would be the opposite of glossy. but i've got no clue how this meaning matches the technique. (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 22:42, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Matte is the feminine form of the French adjective "mat", meaning "dull", which could also be interpreted as "opaque" or "thick" (cf Merriam-Webster). It's easy to concoct some sort of folk etymology, but the real question is, what was the original term which the adjective "matte" was a part of?
Unfortunately, the French article doesn't say either but just copies this here article. Maikel (talk) 09:11, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
I suspect the term is related to the "mat" often placed between a painting and its frame, masking off anything beyond the (usually rectangular) main portion being displayed. The matte process is somewhat analogous to putting a painting in a mat. This thought might help with translation...but I have not seen any support in print for this etymology. DanEfran (talk) 13:35, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Matte is a homographic word that has different meanings depending on context. Matte is used in filmmaking to describe a masking device used to combine two or more elements to make a final film shot. A matte painting is a painting on glass with a window through which live action can be filmed (the painting could be a 18th century water front, Roman arena, futuristic spaceship, whatever). A matte could be a mask used infront of the camera to split the screen to allow shooting live action on part of the screen, rewinding the film, reversing the mask and filming live action or a model or special effects footage on the unexposed masked part of the film. A travelling matte is created in film by filming actors against a blue, green or yellow background and creating film mask (the actor all black and surroundings all clear and the surroundings all black and the actor clear) to allow printing two strips of film onto one negative.Naaman Brown (talk) 20:36, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

True reason for "soft" and "hard" names?[edit]

I find the suggested derivation of "soft" and "hard" as being from the edge blur highly unlikely. Far more likely, it's like a "soft" deadline and a "hard" deadline - the former can be changed later, the latter cannot. Besides, matting via camera is not in the focal plane either (it could be when making the positive though). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:34, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

No movies in the 1880s[edit]

There were no movies in the 1880s to mid 1890s, as the history section of this article more or less explicitly claims. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:13, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

The first motion pictures on film were made in the (very) late 1880s, but they were strictly experimental. The task at hand was to make them practical, not to work out methods for creating special effects. I just bumped "late 1880s" up to "late 1890s", amazed that the former has been allowed to stand for at least six and a half years. I've no access to the cited source, but if the source really says "1880s" it brands itself as unreliable on early history. (talk) 07:10, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

Show some screencaps[edit]

Most of the text is more or less meaningless without showing some examples from films that pioneered or perfected the techniques described. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:05, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Confusingly written[edit]

This article is very difficult to understand for someone who (like me) has no prior experience with or understanding of the topic. Lots of technical terms are thrown in ("threaded up", "burning in", "test strip") with no definitions or hyperlinks to other articles. (talk) 09:47, 16 August 2012 (UTC)