Urban Greenscreen

[Image: An outdoor greenscreen for Sony Studios].

Right around the corner from our new apartment here in Los Angeles is an outdoor greenscreen owned by Sony Studios. Something was being shot there the other night, for instance, complete with what amounted to an artificial moon held by crane at least sixty feet above the rooftops, glowing amidst evening fog like a new installation by Leonid Tishkov.

There's something oddly Holodeck-like about having a greenscreen literally just two buildings away from us—as if at any point we might sneak out into what seems like a derelict parking lot, with some odd props scattered here and there, only to be propelled into bullet-time, the world around us dissolving in a hail of miscomposited imagery.

It's the new urban Baroque! Install greenscreens everywhere in an optical infrastructure for the 21st century—a DIY industry of everyday special effects, little greenscreens popping up beside trees, in alleyways, behind buildings, atop roofs, the entire urban environment camera-ready and pierced like St. Sebastian by the arrows of parallel worlds, our cities become effects labs and every sidewalk a set.

We'll host greenscreen parties, illegal raids on this empty parking lot at midnight to stage the elaborate counterphysics of our unacknowledged parallel lives.

[Image: The greenscreen peeking out from the canopy of a tree].

What, for instance, could Google Street View do with this? Every sixth billboard in Los Angeles chroma-keyed to show a new city laminated atop the existing one, phasing in and out like camouflage and opening strange new optical possibilities for urban design in an age of composite imaging.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm. Now I want to do graffiti with that chroma-key paint. And the little markers that the motion-capture systems use.

QRCodes are so last-decade.

September 07, 2010 3:45 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Now I want to do graffiti with that chroma-key paint

That could be amazing! Image-lines like vectors laying dormant around the city. On every wall, future composites.

September 07, 2010 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Ben Hammersley said...

Reminds me of this really nice film showing large greenscreens in action.

September 07, 2010 4:08 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Ben, that video's blowing my mind—thanks for the link.

September 07, 2010 4:18 PM  
Blogger missa brown said...

Hi,

Some mates from the collective Pied la Biche and I made a few months a go this video clip :

http://vimeo.com/3231455

We painted the green screen on a wall in Lyon's neighbourhood (France) while shooting the music clip.

(FYI : the song is some king of french version of I can't get not satisfaction :-)

hope you enjoy ;-)

September 07, 2010 5:33 PM  
Blogger cemenTIMental said...

There's an astonishing moment in Evangelion 2.0 where you finally see the end of one of the many 2001-monolith-referencing holographic conference sessions; the SEELE monoliths dissapear and the lights come up revealing a massive greenscreen stage. Mindbogglingly postmodern and yet kind of totally meaningless. :)

September 08, 2010 10:16 AM  
Blogger Jules said...

I'd like to share this link I picked up on my facebook feed today in relation with this notion of an embedded greenscreen. Very clever.

http://vimeo.com/8871593

September 09, 2010 10:39 AM  
Anonymous andruokun said...

check out spik jonze's work in girl skateboard "yeah right", where he allowed the skateboard to function in the same way as the green screen. essentially a fluorescent, four-wheeled, footpropelled special effects vehicle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyejDe1V4Ls&feature=related

September 10, 2010 5:18 PM  

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