Detroit forecaster, Jimmy Kimmel banter, seemingly side-by-side, in WX promos

WXYZ in Detroit is airing a series of promos that feature chief meteorologist Dave Rexroth with ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel engaging in banter about the weather.

The promos were created compositing video of Rexroth shot in Detroit with footage of Kimmel shot elsewhere, likely in California, with both ultimately placed in front of an image of WXYZ’s news set to make it appear they are both in the studio.

Close inspection of the spots shows that Rexroth and Kimmel are lit differently. There’s also the hard-to-describe but obvious green “glow” around Rexroth that hints that he was shot in front of a chroma key wall. 

Kimmel’s key appears to be slightly better, though there is some jaggedness around his jacket.

In the spot, Kimmel and Rexroth volley lines back and forth and appear to respond to each other, but notably never physically interact with each other, such as shaking hands or giving each other high fives as one might expect if they were in the same room.

At times, the men also turn to face each other and the promo does a fairly good job of keeping their eye contact consistent.

Taking a cue from the comedy theme, there’s also a quick cut of music that’s a take on the “ba dum tss” sting, sometimes called a rimshot, stereotypically used to punctuate jokes.

Film and TV magic has been used for decades to make people appear to be together when they actually are not.

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It can be accomplished using a split screen approach similar to what’s seen in this promo, with each person’s part filmed separately and then composited together.

In more complex instances, the people can be filmed against the same physical background, as opposed to chroma key walls, with careful attention made to keep the lighting and background consistent to no glaring “seam” is visible.

Live with Kelly and Ryanused a variation of this approach to create the illusion that the two hosts were sitting closer together than they were during the coronavirus pandemic, though less attention was given to making the seam disappear.

The Drew Barrymore Show” and Oprah Winfrey specials have used technology to make it appear that everyone is in the same space, but they are really thousands of miles apart.

In the case of “Drew,” the technology was in place before the pandemic because her show is shot in New York and producers realized it would be challenging to get Hollywood based celebs to travel across the country, so they built a studio in the Los Angeles area with matching chairs that was specifically designed to allow feeds from both studios to be combined.

More advanced applications of split screening have been used in films such as “The Parent Trap” and, infamously, in an episode of “The Good Wife” in order to tie up a storyline when the two lead actresses, Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi, reportedly couldn’t stand to be in the same room as each other.

That “Good Wife” scene also employed the use of over-the-shoulder shots, most likely using body doubles or stand-ins, where Margulies would deliver a line on camera while the blurred form at what was supposed to be seen as Panjabi occupied the far side of the screen and vice-versa.

It’s not uncommon for single-camera shows and films to use a similar approach to accommodate a variety of situations beyond cast members not liking each other, such as reshoots that can’t be coordinated with both actors’ schedules, scenes that involve children who can’t be on set for extend periods of time or simply to cut down on how much an actor is needed on set.

Variations have also been used to help hide real-life pregnancies or injuries or even the fact that an actor was being doubled due to being unable to come to the studio due to health reasons.

More complex variations of the technique show up in everything from the Madea and “Nutty Professor” film franchises when a single actor plays more than one character. It’s also been used with actress Stephanie Courtney (aka Flo from Progressive) in family-themed commercials.

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