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What is Compositing in Film?

Compositing is a term that frequently comes up in the film industry, but for those that are relatively new to filmmaking, the meaning may be misunderstood. What is compositing? And what does it actually mean? Whether you’re familiar with the term compositing or not, you’ve likely experienced composite images many times as compositing techniques have become incredibly popular in the past several years. Let’s take a look at what it all means.

What is Compositing?

Compositing, or the compositing process, represents various processes in which multiple images are paired or otherwise combined together in order to create the visual appearance of a single image. Compositing techniques may involve the use of just two images, or several images may be used to achieve the end result.

The compositing process may take place either during production on the set or in the camera, but it may also occur in post-production, depending on the technique used.

Many different compositing techniques exist today including:

– Green Screen

– Front Projection

– Rear Projection

– CGI

– Matting

– Physical Compositing

– Multiple Exposure

You may not have realized what was happening when you saw compositing techniques in action the screen before, but one of the simplest and most common examples of compositing is when you watch the news, and the weatherman delivers their forecast. Did you know that they’re actually in front of a greenscreen and the actual weather forecast is behind them? That’s compositing.

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How Does Compositing Work?

Compositing represents the last step that takes place in VFX, where layers of image are formed together in various ways and with various elements so that they appear as if they all naturally belong together in the space. For example: