Epic historical scenes in movies or TV specials are made up of lots of elements.
Things like buildings, ships, wagons, or crowds of extras can’t be photographed together so they must be must be shot separately against greenscreen or created digitally. Then they’re composited into a (hopefully) seamless whole.
This wordless video about the John Adams TV special shows the all the elements that make up each scene. The setups turn sideways so you can see the pieces dropping into place like pieces of a diorama.
More about Paul Graff and Christina Graff of Crazy Horse Effects