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Filming huge crowd scenes is a massive challenge for filmmakers. Not only do you have to make sure everyone is doing what they’re meant to do, but you also have to feed and pay every single person.

And, in today’s COVID world, you also have to adhere to strict health protocols and social distancing.

So, how are filmmakers able to carry on making movies with scenes where thousands of people are needed, especially when we weren’t even allowed to leave our houses? Technology of course.

But wait, even before technology was as far developed as it is today, filmmakers were able to make magic happen. In 1959, the movie Ben Hur used a painted matte backdrop to make it look as if there are thousands of people in the background.

Even inflatable people have been used to create a feeling of more depth in, for example, a stadium where the camera will scan through the crowd.

Ted Lasso is a TV program that went above and beyond the technology of today to create the idea of a stadium filled with 26,000 fans.

They used a combination of real and fake people to make the crowd look as real as possible. Plate extras are filmed in front of a green screen, and then digitally scattered into the desired shots. The extras are filmed in different costumes doing different movements so that there are more options to choose from.

Another option to use is called crowd tiling. That’s where one group of people is filmed and then the crew will move them around the set. In post-production, the different shots are combined to create the illusion of one big crowd.

While all of these tricks of the trade are awesome, we can’t help but wonder if we’re ever going to be able to NOT look at the crowd ever again?

Watch the Insider video below for more interesting facts on how Hollywood fakes huge crowds.

Image credit: Pond 5 blog

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