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Term: Matte Shot

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A special effects shot in filmmaking that combines two or more image elements into a single, final image by masking out part of an image and superimposing another image with the rest of the original. Most typically, mattes are used to combine a foreground image (such as actors on a set) with a background image (i.e. a scenic vista). In this case, the matte is the background image of the scenic vista. Matte shooting is one of the most common techniques used in studio filmmaking, either for economical reasons (it is obviously much cheaper to shoot a picture of the Eiffel tower and use it as matte background than to travel to Paris and shoot a whole scene on location) or because it would be impossible or too dangerous to try to shoot in the real location.In more recent films, similar effects are now usually created digitally with computer-generated imagery (CGI), which is then called digital matte.

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