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December 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Universal Studios has unveiled a $4.5-million “virtual stage” that includes a 40×80 green screen that effectively will allow actors to perform “on location” without having to leave the studio. The huge screen allows actors to appear against background footage that is inserted digitally. In reporting on the new stage, the Los Angeles Times observed today (Wednesday) that while in the past the green-screen process required expensive and sophisticated technical gear and was therefore limited to relatively big-budget feature productions, “The advent of low-cost digital cameras and higher-powered computers, however, has opened up the process for TV programs as well, increasing demand for the technology.” In an interview with the newspaper, Dave Beanes, a senior vice president of production services at Universal, said, “It’s a way to bring the world to the stage, instead of having to travel around the world to shoot.” In another instance of digital technology’s impact on the movie industry, Jeff Bridges’ facial features have been modified to make him appear 30 years younger in the upcoming sequel to 1982’s Tron, in which he starred. “It’s bizarre,” Bridges told CBS News after viewing his “restored” features in Tron: Legacy. “It’s great news for me, because now it means I can play myself at any age.” Meanwhile, rumors continue to circulate that George Lucas is considering making a feature in which he will in effect bring long-dead actors back to the screen via similar digital technology.