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I am watching Chronicle (2012) and this question just popped into my mind. What techniques are used for filming flying human scenes? Do they always use chroma keying or are there other techniques?

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

The primary technique used for flying stunts are wire harnesses and then wire removal. The actors wear a harness which is connected to wires that suspend the actor in mid-air. If the scene is filmed in front of a green screen (chroma keying), then the wires can be removed automatically in most cases, before the background is added. If no chroma keying is used, as in the scene below, then an editor must remove the wires from each frame manually.

example scene

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Chromakeying isn't enough by itself. In a shot with a moving background, removal of the wires needs to have the background restored. Rotoscoping could be used in some cases, but it is cheaper to film against a green screen and composite a moving background – wallyk Jun 9 '13 at 19:43
Is this the same technique used to film the iconic "Lois & Superman" flying scene in the original "Superman" movie from the 1970's? – Paul Dec 15 '13 at 3:48
Chroma keying (green screen) was not yet available back in the 70's. Instead a purely optical technique called traveling mattes was used that incorporated blue backgrounds. The actor(s) and the background were filmed separately and combined using an optical printer. Why blue and then green screens>? Blue was originally used because it is furthest away from the color of human skin. Green is now used because digital cameras are more sensitive to green light. – tcrosley Dec 15 '13 at 14:12

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