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One of the first things that visual effects artists learn is how to integrate footage into an empty TV screen, smartphone display, or other kind of monitor. It’s a “frequent flyer” type of shot for many VFX companies around the world.

To a newcomer, this might sound surprising — after all, why can’t you just shoot a scene involving a TV, smartphone, or tablet with the screen playing the content you want? As Molecule producer Ezra Christian explains, “Nine times out of ten, the reason is to give you more flexibility in post-production. If you shoot the scene practically, it can either be harder to replace and/or justify the expense to replace the content if the cut changes or the creative dictates a change.”

Scenario 1: The Screen in Your Shot Is Not Obscured

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Audra Coulombe is the Marketing Manager for The Molecule, a VFX, Motion Graphics, and VR company located in New York and Los Angeles.

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