On 13th May 1986, in preparation for Knightmare, experiments with Chroma Key (blue screen technology) were taking place in the Anglia TV's Studio A.

Chroma Key Experiment

Now uncovered from the archives - you can see a video clip of this never seen on TV experiment, featuring a man wandering around some of David Rowe's early painted rooms. Some talkback from the gallery can be heard in the background describing how much studio space would be required for different types of rooms.

Some useful information on the set-up was provided by spacehog on the Knightmare Discussion Forum on 24th September 2004:

There were two identical blue screen rooms, each with three walls and no ceiling. They were built adjacent to each other in the centre of Anglia TV's large Studio E on Magdalen Street in Norwich. The area for the helpers was set up in the corner of the same studio.

Mostly, the right-hand blue room was used for superimposing the dungeoneer onto the background, while the left-hand room was used for live close-ups of hand-operated puppets such as the dragon's head, and the flying dragon.

The right-hand room used a luminescence-sensitive Chroma Key system, so live shadows which were cast affected the brightness of the superimposed dungeon graphics. The room was reasonably consistently lit; any variations in brightness of the walls was transferred to the graphics, but this didn't usually matter as it was quite subtle and the shape of the real/virtual rooms typically matched up anyway.

Some screen-shots from this clip follow:

The man walks around a room carrying a lamp, then putting it on top a well. He then wanders around a corridor and interestingly the camera moves up and down and zooms back to reveal the part of the studio in front of the blue room. Other production staff can be seen moving things out of the way!

He is then shown wandering around a different room, checking out the doors etc, then talking the cover off the well and standing in it.

Then he returns to the same room with a helmet on and sword in hand, and wondering around the room. One of the production staff in the background says "Heh, keep this for the Christmas tape!" (Every Christmas, a competition is held whereby each ITV company would produce a collection of funny clips from their programmes to see which is the best!). A close-up of the top of the well is then shown as he places the sword on it.

And finally, this is probably the best bit. A wall monster is projected into the screen (of which the face of it is taken from a camera focused on the puppet on top the well).

He then tries poking at its nose, and then walks up to it to swipe it with his sword. The monster keeps appearing and disappearing from view.

Interesting, wasn't it? Now you know how the wall monsters were done!


Thanks to Broadsword Television and Adam Battersby

Download this file (ChromakeyExperiment.rm)ChromakeyExperiment.rm[A preparatory chroma-key experiment that took place in 1986.]2125 kB

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