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The Manassas National Battlefeild Park in Virginia has constructed a state-of-the-art digital projection theater, showcasing Ben Burtt's new documentary about the historic Civil War battles fought on the site. The "film" was shot with the latest Sony 24P technology, a high-definition digital video format which captures 24 frames per second (the motion picture standard) without the interlacing present in other video signals. This format allows digital projection of far higher quality than standard video systems.

A live-action plate of a church and actors dressed in period attire on their way to Sunday mass.

The wireframe illustrates the church steeple, Capitol and wagon elements created in 3D while the trees, lamppost and adjacent buildings were painted in 2D.

The final composite of the matte painting and plate was created with extra height to allow the camera to tilt down during the shot, starting framed on the steeple and revealing the churchgoers in Washington with the Capitol Building still under construction in the distance.

Battle scenes were recreated with a limited number of actors and pyrotechnics. Actors fired their guns, then moved to another part of the frame and fired again.

The various takes are combined to recreate a battle taking place in the Henry family's yard. Digital paint modifications were applied to the Henry home, and CG smoke ties it all together.

This plate was shot from a spectator's point of view. During the Civil War, families and friends would gather and sometimes picnic with the distant battle in sight.

To recreate battle on Henry Hill, MWDl painted the house and yard, then added rows of soldiers firing their weapons and marching in the smoke-drenched battlefield.

This plate, like many in the show was shot with the number of actors and pryrotechnics restricted to a safe level.

Additional takes were layered in to provide additional troops and an enemy firing back from the embankment, itself extended by Matte World. The bodies lying in the field were digitally painted and composited under the smoke from the plates.

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Film Credits
Film Credits