Return of the Jedi star wars Matte Painting

With the invention of computers, it’s almost comical to think about filmmakers using paintings to fill in the backgrounds of their movies. These days, you slap a green screen in back of the action and fill it in digitally. But for the majority of the history of filmmaking, that obviously wasn’t the practice. Massive matte paintings were originally used and as special effects and refined miniature techniques started to become more prevalent, smaller paintings could be made with live action inserted into them using multiple exposures.

Some of your favorite movies of all time used this tactic. In a video recently unearthed from 1985, you can watch the practice used to create films like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi.

Thanks to Daniel Kutz (via Sploid) for this video. It’s been online for a while, but we’re just seeing it.

Indiana Jones and Star Wars Matte Painting video

You probably realized the end of the train tracks in Temple of Doom was a matte painting, but I honestly can say I never even thought the Rebel hanger in Return of the Jedi was. I guess I just figured it was a set. A really big set. With a full size Millennium Falcon and Imperial Shuttle on it. And three X-Wing fighters. Wait a minute. The fact I never considered it was a painting pretty much means I was a dumb kid. How else could they have achieved that? Or a shot with multiple trees with Ewoks dancing on them?

The Indy stuff is pretty cool too but what am I saying? All of this is cool. Here are the other three parts of the special, all thanks to the same YouTube user. What cool stuff can you find?

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