Back in August 2015 Painting Practice were given the brief to provide digital set extensions for ITV’s live performance of ‘The Sound of Music’. It was an interesting challenge for our team, and one that harked back to the days of traditional glass painting, which made it all the more appealing.

The process began very early with the show’s production designer Tomas Burton who had already conjured up the main sets and also provided a series of photos from the real location. From this information and Tomas’s 3D data we built a new digital version of the set combining key measurements from the actual stage build.

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In order for this to work smoothly the camera’s position had to be locked off during the live show. This meant that establishing those camera positions early on was vital for the production and our team. Initial plates were shot two weeks prior to shooting so that our 3D team could camera match those and insert our digital set – from there our matte team made a series of rough comps to demonstrate the concept to the production.

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The real challenge came when construction was finished, and we could finally have a pre-light and get genuine plates to use. Because of the tight schedule this only gave us a week and a half before broadcast. Which meant we had to match the stage lighting render the CG and then make the final touches to the matte painting in record speed. Thankfully the results paid off and the audience, we hope, believed it.

The tricky part was of course returning to that camera position during the broadcast in order for the matte painting to line up – but after some jiggling and fiddling the crew made it work with great success. In addition we also generated a series of translight backdrops that provided and equally realistic result to the stage environment.

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You can watch the full show on replay on this link, and you can also watch the making of here.