A Simple Process Shot Film Definition

The process shot represents a unique camera technique which was and still is incredibly popular. You might recall the process shot by a more familiar term known as green screening? Whether you know it as the process shot or as green screening, this process is a cinematic technique that involves the use of pre-filled backgrounds and secondary film production in which performances take place in the foreground while the background is prefilled, such as you would expect from a news forecast. In this simple process shot film definition, we’re explaining exactly what a process shot is and why it’s such a popular technique. 

Process Shot Film Definition

By definition, a process shot in film represents a cinematic technique in which the film producer combines some action that they film taking place in the foreground while some other pre-filled background is in place. The most common use of process shots would likely be most recognized by the regular newscasts that we watch on television which feature process shots throughout the programming, but process shots are used in a variety of other instances too.

Early Process Shots in Film

In the early days, when the process shot was created, it was primarily used to show a moving background while the subjects were filmed in a car to give the illusion of driving scenes with changing backgrounds. The process shot provides a unique view in which the foreground is more crisp and visible while the distant background becomes a bit washed-out and has a very distinctive look that audiences will almost immediately recognize.

Process shots were incredibly popular for many years but eventually green screening, a very similar technique that is slightly more advanced, essentially pushed the process shot out. Today, process shots are rarely recreated in the manner in which they originally were. Instead, green screening techniques are used for an almost identical effect that essentially requires the filming to take place with a green or blue background which is later eliminated in order to place the desired background in digitally.

What is Green Screening?

While the process shot in film, by definition was essentially the earliest form of green screening and gave way to the evolution into green screening, it’s important to note that they are similar, but not identical. Green screening is a technique in which the filming of the actor or action takes place against a monochrome green backdrop. The green backdrop is later replaced with a different background image using a color filter to create the background exactly as the director wants it.

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