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Economy Flight

January 11, 1987|Bart Mills

You'll still believe a man can fly, hope the makers of "Superman IV," even though they're using a "flying" system that was rejected 10 years ago when the first "Superman" was made. Why? Pick your own version:

Visual special-effects coordinator Harrison Ellenshaw: "This time, we're using all traveling mattes and a blue screen. We can get more shots per day--eight or 10 instead of two or so from front projection. The disadvantage is that blue screen requires opticals, and you don't get the result in the next day's dailies."

Director Sidney J. Furie: "The previous 'Superman' pictures used front projection because London doesn't have the optical houses to do blue screen properly. I don't know if we're going to save any money, even though we'll shoot faster, because optical work is expensive."

Christopher Reeve: "The producers (Cannon) didn't want to risk a lawsuit from Zoran Perisic, who holds a patent on the front projection system we used before. Perisic could dazzle a court with high-tech jargon, so it's safest to use blue screen.

"In the early days, 10 years ago, blue screen was a last resort, and the results were never satisfactory. I hope Harrison Ellenshaw's wizardry will make it work this time."

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