Ever since watching an episode of Power being filmed in New York City last year I have paid extra attention to watching extras move in the background of a street scene. While it may appear that there’s just a lot of passerbys walking past the characters, many of these people are hired help – clothed to fit the weather the episode is supposed to be set in, instructed to walk in the background as inconspicuously as possible. The actual background is usually closely (and, to my dismay, fiercely!) guarded by staffers so nobody who doesn’t belong there can get caught on film. Of course, there’s a limited amount of extras walking around so it can occasionally be difficult not to have the same person walk past twice, so the editor and continuity manager have to pay attention.
And that’s just the problem in the latest episode of Elementary which featured a nice street scene set at the corner of E 44th Street & 3rd Avenue. As soon as I watched the episode I just knew I’d have to inspect that scene because something felt off, and I was right, although I had the wrong extra in mind. There’s a man with a dark beanie with a brown stripe passing behind the actors, and for a split second, it seemed the same guy was walking past twice. As it turned out, he was blameless – which can’t be said for this fellow sporting an even more memorable hat and a red scarf to boot:
As we’ve learned from that Castle epsiode with similar problems, it’s not a good idea to have extras with very colorful clothing mixed with others that wear rather plain garments – they stick out like a sore thumb if they walk past twice …
… because just seconds later, he’s there again, still walking around with no care in the world. Good for him!