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pkbites
06-28-2002, 11:28 PM
Sometimes T.V.Land plays episodes of the old "Superman" show (the one with George Reeves).

My observation is, the special effects on the older, black & white episodes, actually were more impressive than the "newer" episodes which were in color. Why would that be?
It seems that in the black & white episodes, different camera angles were used, and some effort was put into making it look like he was flying.

The flying scenes in the color episodes were terrible. You didn't even see his feet, just Georges torso and a moving background.
Why would the older ones have better effects?
My only guess is, the black and white film helped hide things like wires. Any other theories out there?

Duck Duck Goose
06-29-2002, 12:08 AM
Factoid drifting around in my mind, left over from the days when I used to watch it as reruns on Saturday afternoons on WGN, back when it was just Chicago's "Channel 9".

"Daddy, how do they do that?" etc.

My understanding was that the flying scenes from the B & W shows were created by having him lie down on a glass coffee table and filming him from underneath, and I suppose that that looks more realistic than whatever they used for the color shows.


Also, found this.
http://tvguidelive.com/retrotv/remembers-superman.html
How They Make Superman Fly:

Reevesí dramatic entrance into a scene more often than not is accomplished by the simple expedient of having him stand on a five-foot ladder just out of camera range and leap easily into the proceeding.
Which is obvious, to an adult, that he's just leaping into the scene from off-camera.

perspective
06-29-2002, 01:38 AM
Not too sure about the old days, but nowadays people would use a green screen. Hope I'm not going over what you know, but...
Film superguy against a green background, only show his torso because the rest of his body has to support his torso somehow
Then composite that film with footage of the sky such that you replace everything that is green in the background with the sky.
Voila, superman looks like he's flying.

I'm not sure what they did in the black and white days though.

Interesting that the old TV guide had the title "Man and Superman". Were people really that much more literate before they'd succumbed to too much tv?

Bryan Ekers
06-29-2002, 05:02 AM
prerspective: I know what you mean. When I heard there was a movie coming out named Gladiatior my first thought was "Great, somebody's going to make a movie based on Philip Wylie's novel."

C K Dexter Haven
06-29-2002, 07:32 AM
Remember that, although some of the George Reeves' SUPERMAN were filmed in color, they were all shown originally in black and white. Color TV didn't make it's mark until several years later.

My guess is that black and white can hide the special effects more easily than color.

audit1
06-29-2002, 09:50 AM
Also. The Adventures of Superman was never a high budget show to begin with. When the swithover to color began the budget may not have increased. So where we had X dollars to film a black and white episode. we now have the same x dollars for a color episode with the added color expenses. So something has to give.

kunilou
06-29-2002, 10:59 AM
As someone who remembers the show when it was on the first time, I think audit 1 is closest. Most of the special effects were pretty lame to start with. When Superman was flying, it was often against old newsreel footage of something (a city, mountains, whatever)

When the show went to color, they couldn't use the old black and white footage for background. Most of the flying scenes I remember from the color version were simply a blurred background.

Also, if you remember, in the later seasons all the characters wore the same clothes in every episode. That was because similar scenes for different episodes were shot in batches, and wearing the same costumes meant one less thing to worry about.

perspective
06-29-2002, 11:44 AM
According to this article (http://celebhost.net/georgereeves/superman1.html) " In the black and white years of the series, a brown costume was used which facilitated the creation of quality traveling matte shots of Superman flying. When they went to color, they had to give Reeves an appropriate blue wardrobe, but blue was death to special effects work during that period. You will note that a lot more action effects were used in the black and white episodes than in the color shows."

A matte shot meant that some person actually had to sit down a trace out the outline of superman and then re-film the originals once with superman and his matte, once with the background on an optical printer.
I'm not sure why blue was "death to special effects".It bet it was the problem of a blue suit agains a blue background was involved since in the old days they used blue screens instead of green screens. It was probably more time consuming to make an accurate matte.

bibliophage
06-29-2002, 01:50 PM
Since this is about a TV series, I'll move it to Cafe Society.

dr hermes
06-29-2002, 04:11 PM
In the first season, George Reeves used a harness and wires for takeffs, in the Peter Pan tradition, which gave him some startling liftoffs. While filming one episode, the wires broke, he took a tumble and after that it was the springboard for him.

You also should remember that these shows were designed to be seen on dinky little black and white sets, not the wallsized high resolution screens we watch them on today. The substitution of stuntmn or dummies was not as o
obvious to audiences back in 1953.

capacitor
06-29-2002, 05:41 PM
"Man and Superman?" Why didn't they have an episode where Clark Kent bitches about men getting hitched all the time, only to act surprised when Lois Lane proposes to him? Wait a minute, that was an episode in "Lois and Clark", I think.

Remember boys and girls: Don't shoot at Superman, throw your guns at him.

ResIpsaLoquitor
06-29-2002, 06:22 PM
Why is it that the bullets bounce of Superman? And when the crooks run out of bullets, they throw their guns at him? And Superman DUCKS?

ianzin
06-29-2002, 06:59 PM
You're all pretty silly. There's no need for special effects. Superman can fly.

kunilou
06-29-2002, 07:53 PM
Okay, it's time to stop this nattering and get down to the REAL question.

Lois Lane #1 (Phyllis Coates) or Lois Lane #2 (Noel Neal)?

Yeah, Lois #1 screamed a lot more, but I think she was a lot spunkier, and not above slapping the bad guy when she had a chance.

Bryan Ekers
06-30-2002, 07:01 AM
As for flying into a room, I was always amused by Dean Cain's version in Lois and Clark. Cain would get a much longer running start (or a better trampoline) than Reeves ever did, but when Cain came flying into a room, you could tell his eyes were watching the floor, trying the judge his landing, and his arms and hands were making small movements as he tried to keep his balance in mid-air.

Jeez, you'd think a superhero that could hover at will would just fly in, rotate upright and gently settle to the floor. Don't these Hollywood people know anything?

Anyhoo, I'm hoping for a Superman/Batman movie one day. They could call it World's Finest and play it like a brother picture, i.e. Batman resents Superman (the older brother-type) because everything is so easy for him and Superman quietly admires Batman because Bats gets away with so much cool stuff! I figure Supes comes to Gotham chasing somebody and has a real problem getting his head into the whole "psychopathic serial killer villian" thing that Bats deals with all the time. This is due to Supes's enemies being into global domination and whatnot, instead of casual murder. Bats resents Supes' presence, partly because he's concerned that one of Supes' battles will trash large sections of historic Gotham City (sample Batman dialogue: "You know why Metropolis looks so futuristic? Because they have to keep rebuilding the damn thing!")

I'd like to see Kevin Smith take a shot at it. It may revive the Batman franchise, though you'd have to recast Clooney.

Walloon
06-30-2002, 10:10 AM
Originally posted by C K Dexter Haven
Remember that, although some of the George Reeves' SUPERMAN were filmed in color, they were all shown originally in black and white. Color TV didn't make it's mark until several years later.

True, but regular (non-experimental) color broadcasts in the U.S. began in late 1953.

Koffing
06-30-2002, 08:06 PM
Originally posted by Bryan Ekers
Anyhoo, I'm hoping for a Superman/Batman movie one day. They could call it World's Finest and play it like a brother picture, i.e. Batman resents Superman (the older brother-type) because everything is so easy for him and Superman quietly admires Batman because Bats gets away with so much cool stuff! I figure Supes comes to Gotham chasing somebody and has a real problem getting his head into the whole "psychopathic serial killer villian" thing that Bats deals with all the time. This is due to Supes's enemies being into global domination and whatnot, instead of casual murder. Bats resents Supes' presence, partly because he's concerned that one of Supes' battles will trash large sections of historic Gotham City (sample Batman dialogue: "You know why Metropolis looks so futuristic? Because they have to keep rebuilding the damn thing!")

I'd like to see Kevin Smith take a shot at it. It may revive the Batman franchise, though you'd have to recast Clooney.
They did this already. Granted, it was the animated series that did it, but the most recent Batman and Superman cartoons were far superior to the live-action movies anyway....

VOW
07-01-2002, 06:52 PM
The TV series "Bewitched" bridged the transition between B&W and color TV broadcasts. It was known that "Bewitched" hung onto B&W as long as possible, in order to mask the special effects. Apparently, the wires used were not as visible in the B&W medium.

I would suppose the "Superman" B&W/color used the same philosophy.


~VOW

LoriQ
10-26-2017, 07:44 AM
In the first season, George Reeves used a harness and wires for takeffs, in the Peter Pan tradition, which gave him some startling liftoffs. While filming one episode, the wires broke, he took a tumble and after that it was the springboard for him.

You also should remember that these shows were designed to be seen on dinky little black and white sets, not the wallsized high resolution screens we watch them on today. The substitution of stuntmn or dummies was not as o
obvious to audiences back in 1953.

I am actually watching an episode of The Adventures of Superman now. I am watching season 2 episode 5 and I caught Superman actually jumping from a springboard! I am surprised they didn't catch that.

CalMeacham
10-26-2017, 09:04 AM
A matte shot meant that some person actually had to sit down a trace out the outline of superman and then re-film the originals once with superman and his matte, once with the background on an optical printer.
.

I realize that this is a zombie, but I can't let this pass. A matte shot, in general, did NOT require someone to laboriously trace outlines by hand. Most matte outlines were photographically created by filming the object of interest against a contrasting, easily separated color. In King Kong, during the scene where he breaks open the Great Door, the space behind the door in the full-scale scene was reported lit with orange. The matte mask was created using that orange outline and the film reproduced with that portion removed, then replaced by the image of the stop-action miniature model. More commonly blue was used. In later video, the somewhat similar Chroma-key process usually used green. But in most of these applications, I think the color could be altered. (Ray Harryhausen often used the "sodium backing" process, which used a yellow light, and allowed him to use green and blue elements without any bleeding)

Problem with such matting come when you have a lot of tiny or fast-moving items. The water spray in some of the scenes in The African Queen look weird because the individual droplets weren't all registering properly. The same thing happens with the waving flags in The Ten Commandments. In both cases, the edges of small and/or fast-moving objects have a weird color or color halo to them. When you're trying to line up images on two relatively small film negatives and have them overlap perfectly -- and then greatly magnify that image when you project it, it's easy to se how mismatches can arise, giving you halos. Add to this that in color film you have three layers of negatives (one for each color) slightly separated in space by the thickness of the emulsion (and that the edges might appear different in each color) and such effects are going to be almost inevitable.

One solution was to not rely on the photographic process, and to use hand-drawn mattes, as the entry I'm quoting says. Stanley Kubrick did this in 2001: A Space Odyssey. In fact, I think they separated the color elements and performed hand-drawn mattes for each of them separately, working on enlarged images (not the size of the film). The result is that there are no halos in the final film, but it takes a long time, and costs a lot of money. There's no way a much lower-budget 1950s TV show could have afforded to do this.
They did something similar for Star Wars in 1977. The credits are full of people credited with "rotoscoping". These people weren't doing animation of items using previously-filmed images, like the animators for Fantasia turning ballet dancers into alligators and hippos. They were going through and correcting the edges of the matte elements so that the blown-apart fragments of the rebel craft and TIE fighters wouldn't have telltale halos around them. The three original Star Wars films were done pre-CGI, so they still used matte processes. One way to deal with halos was to put a slight black border o things. If you look at scenes of Luke and the Rancor in Return of the Jedi you can see how there's a darker edge around Luke when he interacts with the puppet Rancor.


There are lots of ways of combining images, not restricted to these. Look up Rear Projection, Miniature Rear Projection, Front Projection, Introvision, and the like.

Nowadays, of course, we have digital compositing. You can easily combine two images of real objects (or of a real object and a CGI image) with no mismatch or bleeding around the edge at all.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matte_(filmmaking)

Bryan Ekers
10-26-2017, 09:33 AM
This thread is old enough to have outgrown reading comic books.

RivkahChaya
10-26-2017, 09:41 AM
As long as the zombie has already been awakened, in case other people are reading it from the beginning, and have the same question, I'm going to add the obvious "color film cameras for TV were WAY bigger and bulkier and heavier than B&W back then." If you couldn't manipulate the camera as much, you were more limited in the FX you could accomplish.

RunSilent
10-26-2017, 09:55 AM
Okay, it's time to stop this nattering and get down to the REAL question.

Lois Lane #1 (Phyllis Coates) or Lois Lane #2 (Noel Neal)?

Yeah, Lois #1 screamed a lot more, but I think she was a lot spunkier, and not above slapping the bad guy when she had a chance.

Phyllis Coates was best, she was a sexy, hard nosed reporter. That first season the show was geared towards adults, and was more noir. Phyllis then left the show, Kelloggs took over the sponsorship and wanted the show geared towards kids.

Jonathan Chance
10-26-2017, 09:56 AM
Anyhoo, I'm hoping for a Superman/Batman movie one day.

Sooo....

About that, Bryan from 15 years ago...

Bryan Ekers
10-26-2017, 10:25 AM
I can still hold out hope for a good Superman/Batman movie one day.

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