December 18, 2013 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Of course matte art has for a long time played a major part in Hollywood's recreation of the old west, with effects shots ranging from simple top ups of mood enhancing skies right through to entire recreations of frontier settings to often wonderful effect. Todays blog will take a look at some of those marvellous visions - the product of the many often uncredited artists who worked tirelessly in the various studio matte departments.

Mattes Ride The Range: The art of the matte shot in Westerns
posted by timshel (8 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
An exhaustive and beautiful compilation.
posted by CynicalKnight at 2:20 PM on December 18, 2013

I love matte paintings, and it makes me sad that it's a rapidly dying art. Thanks for this post!
posted by Thorzdad at 2:30 PM on December 18, 2013

Quick. Somebody make a WHAT. THE. HELL. MATTE? joke.
posted by Sparx at 2:30 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

That's a great post that I'm looking forward to digging into in more depth once the semester ends for real. But, on the topic, matte paintings always bugged me as a kid because they looked fake. As I've gotten older, and more and more tired of CGI verisimilitude, I've come to appreciate the craft that goes into constructing a shot with practical effects like the Matte painting, or (similarly) stop motion or models.
posted by codacorolla at 3:22 PM on December 18, 2013

I'm certain that Western type movies were popular with theater owners because watching them makes you thirsty. After watching a bunch of dusty dudes riding through monument valley for an hour you need another Coke when intermission arrives.
posted by vapidave at 3:34 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've been following this blog for a while, and sometimes I'm surprised by the things that wouldn't have occurred to me were mattes. For example Casablanca and Double Indemnity use matte shots to add ceilings to the set. And in the note on the matte from Sixty Glorious Years says this was one of the most frequent uses for a matte shot.
posted by RobotHero at 4:15 PM on December 18, 2013

Love the ingenuity that special effect folks had to use pre-GCI. It all seems so easy now.
posted by octothorpe at 7:01 PM on December 18, 2013

Thanks for that link! Lovely stuff. Special effects behind-the-scenes reports were way more fun when the answer to every question wasn't "In the computer."
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:32 PM on December 18, 2013

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