The Great Movie Ride a.k.a. the Chinese Theater has long been hidden behind Mickey’s Sorcerer Hat and it’s wonderful to see it returned as the centerpiece of the view down Hollywood Boulevard. I was very excited about the return of the unobstructed view of the Great Movie Ride and may have gone slightly overboard with the number of shots I took of it. Or perhaps not, I did have over a decade to make up for after all.
Shooting & Editing Return of the Great Movie Ride
This was shot with the Nikon D810 and Nikon 14-24 2.8. This was a 5 shot bracket along with an additional 5 shot bracket just for the neon Great Movie Ride sign. For this second bracket I used spot metering and metered off the brightest point on the sign. I’ve done this in the past but still had awkward results which is why I opted for an additional 5 shot bracket just to make sure I got it right. I used a single exposure for my base and then started work on blending the sign in. This is quite difficult as when you shoot just for the sign it is exposed very well but everything around it is quite dark. I ended up using 3 different exposures to get the blend of the sign into the main scene to look just right. The base exposure had the sign completely blown out so I started with an exposure that was blown but not as bad. I then layered and masked in exposures that were increasingly closer to the actual exposure I wanted. This may seem like a waste of time but I’ve found I get a much more realistic blend as it is very difficult to make something very bright blend correctly with something very dark. This was all done with luminosity masks which I then fine-tuned with some additional levels adjustments and by hand masking.