I am watching The Crown, and in the newer seasons, the royal family is shown watching TV in several episodes. Especially Season 3, Episode 7 is about the first moon landing, and there are multiple scenes in which the live reports of the landing are playing on a period-appropriate TV set.

I was wondering: is this a real piece of hardware playing real footage in the studio? Either a still-functioning vintage TV set, or a more recent ELT kinescope set into a vintage housing? And if it is real, how did they send the signal to it? Or is there just a non-functioning box in the studio, and the footage is added on top of it later?

I am interested not only in the exact constellation used in this exact show, but also in general, whether nowadays it makes more sense (economically? artistically? logistically?) to set up the real thing or to use digital effects.

  • 2
    I'm not entirely sure because I'm not an expert - but its very likely there's nothing on the TV when they are filming. Because (a) its another thing to synchronize for multiple takes and (b) due to aliasing effects, old CRT televisions in particular look very strange when filmed. I imagine they put the picture on in post-production.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 22:12
  • wired.com/2014/08/…
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 22:16

1 Answer 1


The Crown almost certainly used a green screen for this. The way I understand filmed media, any time you see a device screen (be it a tv, computer, or phone) it is a green screen (like so), otherwise it doesn’t look right (e.g. moiré patterns) and would take a lot more effort to clean up. Even low budget commercials use green screens like this, though the quality of the effect isn’t always as good.

While it doesn’t specify explain how the TV was done, this video shows that the Crown uses green screens extensively for their backgrounds.

  • What about after effects like texture mapping?
    – user148298
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 1:30
  • There's actually a TV in the opening shot.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 9:17

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