TV’s Magic Lantern (Oct, 1951)

TV’s Magic Lantern

TV’s latest miracle is the Scenescope, designed by Frank Caldwell, scene maker in Hollywood for 17 years.

The problem of costly sets is a perennial one in the movie capital and Caldwell had been trying to solve it. When TV came along he saw that the problem was even more acute in this field—and maybe a bit easier to solve. His magic lantern, shown here, the only model in existence, has cost $100,000 so far. It has three 4×5 slide holders, a 35mm slide projector, a 16mm movie projector and a live lens. The movies are projected before or behind live action. The slides project backgrounds and still material to be combined with live action.

  1. Jeff says: February 28, 20099:42 pm

    This seems to be what lumakey evolved from.
    The ghostly looking superimposed actor in the bottom right-hand photo doesn’t really look terribly convincing, though.
    I suppose that would be covered/concealed by the over-all low quality of the broadcast video of the day.

  2. Toronto says: March 1, 20091:28 am

    Is that what they used to call CromaKey is called now?

    Besides, look at matted-in movies from the ’60s like ‘The 7th Voyage of Sinbad’ and ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. They can look horribly crude by today’s standards, especially on a big screen. Frankly, they *are* better over broadcast tv as it’s less distracting.

    (Not to mention Dick Van Dyck’s accents can be turned down a bit. (But I love him all the same.))

  3. jayessell says: March 2, 20095:13 pm

    An optical printer for television?
    The movie “Sky Captain and the World of Tomarrow” was filmed with
    imaginary sets and props thanks to cgi.

  4. Vozpit says: March 5, 20095:13 pm

    Yes, you too can be a pirate with no feet with “Scenescope”!!!!

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