Proceedings of the British Kinematograph Society (1931)

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PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH KINEMATOGRAPH SOCIETY No. 6 DUNNING PROCESS AND DUNNING BACKGROUNDS By Mr. Randal Terraneau (Paper vead before the British Kinematograph Society on Monday, 7th December, 1931) It is a very great honour for me to describe the Dunning Process, because in my opinion this process has undoubtedly proved to be the greatest photographic invention since the advent of talking pictures, and I feel confident that when it is used here as universally as it is now used in the United States, you will all share my opinion. I would like to point out that I do feel there has been a little doubt in this country as to the use of the process. The process is one for obtaining moving backgrounds of almost any nature with intimate studio foreground action. It must not be confused with the method of obtaining ceilings and still background scenes which are covered by the split-matte and other systems, although when model and split-matte work is used in conjunction with the Dunning process, some very remarkable results can be obtained. I would also like to say, in this connection, that there have been just lately many attempts in America to use projection for obtaining composite motion picture photography, the required background being projected on to a large ground-glass screen behind the foreground action. There are unsurmountable difficulties in this system, and it is rapidly dying out. My reason for mentioning this is because the results are very often highly unsatisfactory, and as we, in this country, do not always know what is taking place on the other side, we say ‘‘Oh! the Dunning shots in so-and-so are not very encouraging.” Only last week I read a newspaper report, ‘‘ the Dunning shots are fairly adequate,” whereas all the shots in question were obtained by use of projection, and there was not a single Dunning Process shot in this particular production. The Dunning Process fundamentally is based upon the use of a coloured transparent background scene, used in connection with a coloured illuminated background behind the actors of the foreground scene during double exposure. In other words, a transparent positive of the background scene is made from any standard width developed negative. This transparency is loaded in an intermediate magazine placed between the regular raw stock magazine and the camera. The raw stock passes through the intermediate magazine and into the exposure position in the camera jointly with the transparency contained in the intermediate magazine. The latter is in front of and in contact with the raw stock. This transparency, as made at present, carries an orange image in its shadow positive portions and a neutral orange in its highlight portions. This gives itan equal filter absorbtive value over its entire area, and renders it an equivalent to a heavy overall ‘‘ K”’ filter. Therefore, if the actors and all portions of the foreground components of a composite photograph are illuminated with, say, a yellow light, they will be photographed through the transparency representing the background components, and their image will be impinged solidly wpon the raw stock in the same manner as would occur if they were 3