In the pre-digital world, removing a subject from a background was a technical challenge that required some specific craft skills. This applied to motion and still pictures.
It required a lot of illumination, a clean background, and a very accurate light meter.
Anyone who could master the technique was able to charge a good fee to do so. The name for the process varied from city to city and was referred to by different handles such as “outline,” or “COB (cut out background).” My favorite name was the St. Louis version. We called it a “strip-out.”
Technology has rendered the technique mostly useless. A couple of minutes in Photoshop or shooting on a green screen means that the drudgery of an elaborate studio setup is dramatically reduced.
I was never keen on working in the studio. But I am always happy to employ a green screen background, just as long as involves trees or grass.
About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.