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CSO trains and Chromakey hazes

Started by George White, November 13, 2021, 03:36:47 PM

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George White

Was just watching a load of old UK telly, and have become fascinated all over again by the  magic that is Chromakey, blue screen, or Colour Separation Overlay as the BBC called it.

What are our favourite examples of this wondrous effect transporting people to any place as long as they have a peculiar fringe around them...

This ep of BBC's doomed Bondalike Quiller has it aplenty, while George Cole speaks Russian Allo Allo-style - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZsrIGZaH7c&t=2772s

Of course, a key component of sitcoms of the 70s and 80s is that any train scene must be shot with the process, a videotaped interior passing by fields on film.
Hi De Hi - Together Again and the first episode have this in full, also Till Death Us Do Part - Pigeon Fancier, Whatever Happened to the LIkely Lads -Strangers on a Train,  Going Straight -Going Home
It Ain't Half Hot MUm - http://www.dirtyfeed.org/2011/12/the-road-to-bannu/
Reginald Perrin too

Even 1980's Oppenheimer does this.
Poldark and the Pallisers feature examples with carriages.

Dad's Army and Citizen Smith use a CSO House of Commons, just as odd as Mrs. Farrell's CSO kitchen in Doctor Who.

the hum

I stumbled upon Blake's 7 being repeated on Freeview recently (Forces TV, of all places). It's on to series 4 now, which has a noticeably bigger budget (relatively) than the previous 3, and there's some hefty use of CSO for the stock footage of Scorpio in space flight. It's reasonably effective, in that at least it removes the wobbling model issues that dogged many of the Liberator scenes, though obviously still a long way (visually and financially) from the computer-controlled compositing that became the gold standard thanks to Star Wars.

Replies From View

Box of Delights and any of those BBC fantasy shows from the 70s and 80s really.


If I'm not mistaken the first Doctor Who story to use CSO was Terror of the Autons, and they used it for things like inserting the interior of a kitchen behind a woman.  Could have just filmed there, mate.  Less fringing.

Norton Canes

(I'm not calling it 'Doctor Who and...') The Silurians, surely, with its legendarily outsized Tyrannosaur model? 

Catalogue Trousers

HTV's serial King Of The Castle from the 70s uses it pretty extensively, especially in the earlier episodes. It works extremely well there, better than in Doctor Who, I'd say, given the hallucinatory feel of King Of The Castle in general.

Sebastian Cobb

It's pretty shoddy in the Bambi episode of The Young Ones.

But better than the presumably intentionally shoddy bit where they're in a Capri in Bottom.

George White

The 1977 Supernatural episode Ghost of Venice - CSO Sinead Cusack and a wobbly CSO Venice.

beanheadmcginty

This might interest you - John Noakes demonstrating chroma key on Blue Peter in 1970:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/blue_peter_noakes_CSO/zwb9vwx


George White

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czrX0U6Hxwo American variety tat seems to be the natrual home, see also all the Sid and Marty Krofft stuff. This Canadian/American coproduction with Ray Stevens, Lulu and Steve Martin age 25 with dark hair (!) is particularly interesting.


Norton Canes

Quote from: beanheadmcginty on November 15, 2021, 03:58:23 PM
This might interest you - John Noakes demonstrating chroma key on Blue Peter in 1970:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/blue_peter_noakes_CSO/zwb9vwx

If I could find it online I'd link to Doctor Who producer Barry Letts demonstrating CSO in a BBC training video, one of the extras on the Carnival of Monsters DVD.

George White

I remember it from the DVD - something with an aul wan CSOed into a house not unlike how one imagines the exterior of Mrs. Farrell's CSO kitchen.

Replies From View

On the making-of documentary for series 10 of Red Dwarf, you'll be delighted to know that the guy doing the model effects uses the term "weather girl" as if that's going to be our only frame of reference for CSO; also he was only in his 20s or something so he wasn't simply being generationally out of touch.

Norton Canes

Quote from: George White on November 15, 2021, 11:09:31 PM
I remember it from the DVD - something with an aul wan CSOed into a house not unlike how one imagines the exterior of Mrs. Farrell's CSO kitchen

It's Assistant Floor Manager (and later Production Manager) Margot Hayhoe



George White

God I completely misremembered her being older.

Famous Mortimer

I have fond memories of kids' show "Into The Labyrinth", which used this a lot of the time, to put the kids and feuding sorcerers and what have you in Cheddar Gorge. It was one of those things that looked so cheap it was a source of laughs for me and my mates back when we first discovered it, but I'm sure I'd love it now.

Ambient Sheep

Nice interview there, Norton, thanks for that.

George White

Common in 70s US TV specials
The Night Dracula saved the World with Judd Hirsch as Dracula (meaning both Dear Johns have sorta-played Dracula - though Ralph Bates' Dracula was vetoed by Warner execs so he merely became Dracula's capsule for rebirth) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pMWK10SJX0
Pinocchio with Danny Kaye and Sandy DUncan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY4g8fwBC40

Sebastian Cobb


Replies From View

Quote from: Famous Mortimer on November 16, 2021, 09:23:00 PMI have fond memories of kids' show "Into The Labyrinth", which used this a lot of the time, to put the kids and feuding sorcerers and what have you in Cheddar Gorge. It was one of those things that looked so cheap it was a source of laughs for me and my mates back when we first discovered it, but I'm sure I'd love it now.

Some kind of pre-Knightmare Knightmare?  Sounds great.

Famous Mortimer


JamesTC

Doctor Who - Terror of the Autons



The Blu-ray included optional improved CSO work including a brand new kitchen for Mrs Farrell.


Sebastian Cobb

shame how they flattened it to make it more beige, smeary and 'videoey' at the same time.

Replies From View

Such a mad decision to use CSO for a straightforward kitchen scene.

steveh

Quote from: Sebastian Cobb on November 19, 2021, 04:08:28 PMThe Cars - You Might Think

At university in 1984 we had a guest lecture from the founder of Quantel who showed this off as the ultimate in what you could now do with their products. He seemed especially proud that they had such good anti-aliasing. Quantel Paintbox would have set you back a quarter of a million quid in those days...

pigamus

Quote from: Replies From View on November 20, 2021, 01:07:08 AMSuch a mad decision to use CSO for a straightforward kitchen scene.

Very odd, isn't it? Probably didn't look as bad in black and white.

Replies From View

Quote from: Sebastian Cobb on November 19, 2021, 10:45:34 PMshame how they flattened it to make it more beige, smeary and 'videoey' at the same time.

I suppose it gives it a more convincing sense of environment.

jenna appleseed

The original one looks like she's been zapped into a dolls house.

Replies From View

Quote from: jenna appleseed on November 22, 2021, 12:05:23 AMThe original one looks like she's been zapped into a dolls house.

Shrunk down by the Master and displayed in front of an Argos catalogue photo of a dolls house.

jenna appleseed

Quote from: Replies From View on November 22, 2021, 01:17:00 AMShrunk down by the Master and displayed in front of an Argos catalogue photo of a dolls house.

Pretty much, yeah. lol