Hollywood green screen (chroma key compositing or chroma keying) special effects were introduced in the 1930’s as a “blue screen” or “travelling matte” special effect created by Larry Butler (who won an Academy Award for the blue screen special effects in The Thief of Bagdad). Rudimentary, crude, and time consuming, blue screen special effects were soon replaced by chroma key effects with the color green used most often as the “key” (digital cameras are more sensitive to green).
In modern day movies, chroma key effects are used extensively with many movies requiring little more than a empty stage and green background to produce extravagant, detailed scenes that would be far too costly if shot any other way.
Below is a collection of classic scenes showing how the scene really looked (before the green screen was rendered) and how it was rendered to the movie screen.
And who could forget this classic…