Usually, when we hear keywords like VFX, green screen and compositing, what comes to mind are spaceships, CGI characters, explosions and other elements impossible or incredibly expensive to shoot in real life. Visual effects are, however, present in most of the shows you watch on TV, often in the places where you least expect it.

Say, you need a shot of two women walking down the street with the train passing on the railroad in the back. You could try to synchronize your shooting with the schedule of the trains and waste half a day waiting for a new train for each take… or you could just composite the actors and build the backdrop using CGI. The same goes for virtually every driving shot. Filming and driving is usually a bad idea, so all these tend to be created with either green screen or rear projection techniques.

Following are two reels of Stargate Studios – a California based VFX company specializing in all kinds of visual effects – from high budget CGI space stations all the way down to placing a cable car in Monk.

Stargate Studios Virtual Backlot Reel 2009


Stargate Studios Driving Reel


Next time you watch your favorite show on TV, chances are these guys (or another company with similar profile) created many of the scenes you take for granted.