How to Turn 10 Extras into 100

Posted on July 9, 2007

This was a trick that was used during one of the shows I was on last weekend. It was a funeral scene inside a church, so the pews had to be full of mourners. The only problem was we had about ten extras, half of which were crew. Fortunately, the camera can be fooled.

Extras Diagram

This is a pretty classic trick. You want it to appear like there are rows of people, but since the camera cannot see depth, all you need to do is make sure the frame is full of faces.

If you look at the illustration (made from these brushes), you see that this is achieved by arranging the actors in a pyramid formation. It will have to be fine tuned, of course, but as long as there are no empty areas in the frame you’ll have instantly multiplied your cast and improved production value.

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Written by Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His past films have appeared on Netflix, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He is also a YouTube creator across multiple channels with videos garnering millions of views. In his free time, he likes to climb mountains, scuba dive, and brew unique coffees.

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