Shooting into blacks created a real spooky tone that matched the mystery required by certain parts of the film.
For the non-green screen shots filmed at Sullivan Entertainment’s studio in Scarborough, Ontario, minimalist sets were used. Well, not entirely… parts of the Sullivan Entertainment backlot, the town of New Bedford from Wind at my Back, were transformed into a Salzburg Street. Also, major sets were built, including a train and railway tracks.
However, for many other scenes, especially those in a subterranean world, only a couple set pieces were used and the shot was enabled to go into complete darkness. For example, the stairs that Tamino walks down inside the temple were simply black plywood shot against a brick wall. However, using smoke elements and creative lighting, this scene looked like an underground world.
In other shots, a few pillars were the only set elements visible as the director of photography used creative lighting techniques to mask the non-existent background.