Screen comps

Am I the only one who thinks comping on a phone which is switched on with the company website gets better results than a black screen? I have memories of fruit based comping which was quick, easy and looked good. Compared to black screens out of focus with massive highlights dancing all over it.


I often wish supervisors just put 4 small markers at corners of a black screen. Simple front-matte offset to cleanup up the markers compared to hours (days, even) of brute force matchmoving.


There’s pros and cons to either approach. A bright screen shows precise edges but the glow of the screen may not match the new screen we comp in, and may cause unwanted glowing edges if we have fingers interacting with the screen. A switched off screen will have highlights, true, but they can be used to bring back the glossy feel to the screen, rather than generating fake reflections. Also, in my experience, tracking markers can also be a burden, as they will need to be removed so I always advise against them. Ultimately, it’s a matter of preference and how much detail will be visible, how wide or close up the shots will be

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It’s true about the edges right enough and that’s the clincher really: you can never be sure what the screen is going to have on it. I just hate that dead zone around the fingers from a black screen though. Having to rebuild it is a nause.

6 of one, half a dozen of the other. Going to toss a coin.

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If I can get any kind of indication as to what the screen content will be I try to use something as close as possible to that… more often than not the CD in charge is on vacation or whatever…

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They never know what goes in the screen. The chain of command always has too much delay.
That being said, I did supervise shoots in LA for the Hispanic launch of Windows OS, the one with the tiles in '08 or '09 (spots featured Colombian singer Juanes), and Microsoft sent us a person from the development team and we planned exactly what interactions were needed and it worked out incredibly well. It can happen!

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that sounds like magic.

But if it was that easy how else would I put milk in my fridge?

Happy Monday @johnt , I’m doing one right now that was on and the edges are soooo much trickier because it’s super glowy.

The grass is always greener because its fertilized with bullshi*.


Yep. Swings and roundabouts.

It’s a remote shoot so going to go with Barnes suggestion of:


App looks good except its age requirement might keep most of us from using it


I usually request dark grey (a jpg which I provide) full screen so that:

  1. There is illumination on the underside of the finger tips—even if it’s a small amount—is better than no illumination at all and…

  2. The amount of reflection is more true to life.

This is usually met with many questions, most common being should we use green or what about tracking marks or when I worked with “insert big facility name here” they did x, y, z to which I humbly reply, this is what I have found works best for most scenarios.

Edit: that’s also to say that you may find an approach that works better for you and your clients as this stuff is always so content specific.


A dark grey seems a really good spilt-the-difference solution. I really like that


I just finished a job where I did about a dozen track/comps on a phone that was being picked up and put down and even turned around in one shot. The screen was full up white without nary a tracker in sight. And on another shot it was an over the shoulder, very little motion and the tip of the thumb hitting a “button.” For that shot they had a full up in-phone green screen app with a HUGE logo sized tracker in the middle, four other large trackers near the corners and four more tiny crosses touching the corners. But to their credit, they helped me out by making the trackers blue.

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Holly crap @ytf :joy:

@johnt You can use an app but then you can get a huge reflection casting a bright white line that kills all of your digital tracking markers. I would prefer tape or tipp-ex (whiteout) on the top of the screen.

Use a app to give a solid colour if you like but keep the brightness low and if the tracking markers can sit on top then all the better.

this is my preferred method too when im on set


yep def agree with this. sometimes phone being off results in not being able to see the true adge as theres always a little border. Also its easy to add glow to fingers etc but very annoying to have to take it off when the phone is shot on , then they decide they want it off haha

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Atop that- the borders are always getting more and more complicated- now we’re dealing with rounded corners and on iPhones that little weird hard to roto shape at the top of the screen. It’s kind of a rounded rectangle but it’s got a slight angle to the edges. I personally am looking forward to tracking the folding smart phones, that should really be a delight.

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Yes yes yes - those Samsung bevels are a bugger.

Folding phones? What sorcery is this? Tee hee


Grey (depends on general brightness of image inserted on screern). with grid of 5mm grey squares, slightly darker or brighter then overall gray. (3x5 to have center box). or white. phone screen is really bright and lit a lot around even in bright environment, not to say in dark.