how do show/ movie directors get shots and scenes of totally abandoned cities?

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Take the walking dead for example, in season 1 Rick was walking through the ghost town Atlanta before walking into walkers. Take alien 2 on earth for example, at the end how was there no one in the city?

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They’re not in real cities. They’re on a movie set, and the rest of the city is faked with CGI.

Check out [this demo reel](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clnozSXyF4k) of how prevalent CGI is in TV shows.

Usually they can get permission to clear a couple blocks of a city for filming, and then will CGI the rest in.

For the deserted london scène in 28 days later they shot it @ 430 in the Morning.

https://www.quora.com/How-did-they-shoot-the-Deserted-London-scene-from-28-Days-Later-2002

In addition to what others have said, if you just need a static shot it’s possible to take multiple photos for an extended duration and then take the median. Basically you take the pixels which stay the same in most of the photos. Pixels which change are probably people or cars.

There are often a lot of ‘abandoned’ shots in productions like that where there are still perfectly cut lawns in the background. When you’re able to shoot out of order, you can get a lot done in a weekend.