» Posts Tagged ‘specialeffects’

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Have you ever wanted to just make a “quick and easy” film? That was filmmaker Joey Ciccoline’s intention for his first narrative short, a sci-fi film entitled 88:88, which has now gone on to win a handful of awards (including a Vimeo Staff Pick) and screened at festivals all around the world. But his idea for a “simple short film” turned into an exercise in creating stunning and clever practical effects without a small crew and an even smaller budget. Now Ciccoline wants to let you in on how he captured (almost) all of those effects in-camera.

This is a guest post by Joey Ciccoline. More »

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Shanks studiosJust because you don’t have a whole lot of cash or space doesn’t mean that you can’t have a highly functional studio. In this video by DIY special effects guru Joey Shanks, we’re taken inside his garage-turned-filmmaking-studio and shown the inexpensive tools and items that he uses to make his studio an effective and efficient place to work, as well as a bunch of tips and tricks on how to make the most of what little you may have. More »

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Neil CorbouldWhen the winner was read during the 2013 Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects, most people weren’t surprised to hear the names of the visual effects supervisors that worked on Gravity. Through an incredible process that incorporated using a “light box”, Bot & Dolly’s robotic arms, and masterful CGI to create stunning visuals, the filmmakers were able to revolutionize VFX and cinematography in film in a single, strenuous bound. One of those VFX supervisors that worked on the film, Oscar winner Neil Corbould, spoke with DP/30, sharing his experience working on the project, which was mainly focused on the physical aspect of the visual effects, as well as what he has learned from his 35 years in the VFX game. More »

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Miss ShockMaking films often rides on being well-connected — knowing someone somewhere who can perform a service that your film needs. Most of the time, finding financial backers, a DP, sound/lighting techs, actors, and editors is fairly easy regardless of who you know or where you live. However, finding a good FX artist is a little bit more tricky (In 6 years, I’ve only met 2 in my hometown), and if you’re unable to find one, you might have to do the next best thing — learn how to do it yourself. And who better to teach you some excellent techniques than Oscar-winning special effects makeup artist Rick Baker. More »

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SupermanOne of the Academy Award categories that is fast becoming not only an industry favorite, but a fan favorite, is Best Visual Effects — and for good reason. VFX have made it possible to tell impossible stories, ever more adeptly selling the illusion that what’s up on-screen, be it Ryan Stone adrift in space or Tony Stark’s exoskeleton, is absolutely real. With this year’s Oscars is proving to be another big year for visual effects, with the nominations of Gravity and Iron Man 3 to name a couple, let’s take a look at the last 37 years of Academy Award-winning VFX in this great retrospective by Nelson Carvajal. More »

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Forced PerspectiveSpecial and visual effects are great, but unless you’re a skilled SFX artist or post magician, they tend to be pretty spendy. If you’re gearing up to work on a film that calls for characters of varying sizes (or just really into The Lord of the Rings and hobbits), there is an inexpensive alternative to CGI. This tutorial by Ben Lucas of Tuts+ will show you one method the TLOTR filmmakers used to make the towering wizard Gandalf look so much bigger than his little hobbit friend Frodo — a practical effect that uses forced perspective to sell the illusion. More »

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Front Screen ProjectionSince green screens and blue screens are so available and easy to use, the first method a filmmaker thinks of for obtaining visual effects isn’t often front screen projection. But, we’ve actually seen some really incredible pieces of art come out of image projection recently, like Bot & Dolly’s short film Box, as well as Private School Entertainment’s work with projecting motion captured images (to name a few that we’ve covered). Now, practical effects guru Joey Shanks shows us how to use front screen projection, a process that has become quite dated, but still remains an excellent tool for in-camera visual effects. More »

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Action FilmWho doesn’t like a good action flick, right? A bullet-dodging, time-bombing, impenetrable hero that doesn’t know the meaning of the word physics is one of my guiltiest pleasures. But, over the years it has become very apparent that action films have changed significantly into two hours of sensory overload from the entertaining run/jump/climb jaunts they once were. In this three-part video essay, Los Angeles scholar and filmmaker Matthias Stork takes a deeper look into the changes in filming and editing in the action genre, which, according to him has birthed what he calls “chaos cinema”. More »

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All Is LostTwo years ago, JC Chandor’s first feature film Margin Call did the unthinkable. It humanized the people responsible for the banking disaster of 2008. His second feature, the devastatingly titled All Is Lost, attempts an even more outlandish filmmaking feat. It’s a dialogue-free, yet entirely gripping story of a single character, masterfully played by Robert Redford, who is marooned at sea when his boat is irreparably damaged by a stray shipping container. What’s even more impressive, from a technical filmmaking standpoint, is that most of the effects in this epic survival tale were accomplished practically. Here’s a brief look at how it all came together. More »

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Peter JacksonThere are so many films out there that filmmakers with all types of budgets, tastes, and sensibilities try to learn from and emulate. Screenwriters may look to Chinatown to learn its structure while cinematographers may look to Soy Cuba for its one-of-a-kind tracking shot. And then there’s Peter Jackson’s first feature film Bad Taste (1987). Before he was working with top dollar visual effects, Jackson was a DIY filmmaker making films on a small budget, and in the 1988 documentary, Good Taste Made Bad Taste, he shares how he shot the movie using stabilizers, dollies, and cranes that he made himself — an unintentional DIY tutorial for all low-budget filmmakers. More »

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Shanks FX_cosmosYou can make pretty much anything with visual effects software: other worlds, new creatures, even sharknadoes. With so much creative power at our digital fingertips, it’s easy to forget the incredible effects that we can pull off in the real world with real objects. About a year ago, we shared a few practical effects tutorials by Shanks FX (aka Joe Schenkenberg or Joey Shanks,) which showed how to create warp speed effects with steel wool, as well as alien atmospheres with a fish tank. In this demonstration, Shanks shows us how to create the cosmos with a few dirt cheap household items. More »

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Paranormal ActivityFor filmmakers who enjoy making effects-heavy movies, be it a horror, sci-fi, or any genre variant really, it can be challenging to find ways that make those effects more believable to your audience. And when getting really good VFX often means having access to expensive software and/or a talented effects artist, the no/low-budget filmmaker who can’t afford them needs to get creative, even a little magical when putting together a film. MovieMaker Magazine shares a few tips that will help blend, hide, and solidify the special and visual effects in your film. More »

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Digital ZombiesIf you’re making a zombie flick, but you don’t have a talented makeup artist, but you do have a talented digital effects artist who can composite the bloody, rotten, festering features of the undead, then maybe it’d be a good idea to go digital with your characters’ zombification. A recent tutorial by Ryan Connolly of Film Riot shows us how to use a handful of digital tools, such as After Effects, Mocha, and MonsterFX Undead, to create a believable, decaying, and altogether disgusting zombie for your film. More »

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Makeup EffectsWhen making a scary movie, the horror you want your audience to feel should come from the terrifying monsters and well-timed surprises — not bad makeup. One of the more challenging aspects of making horror films, or any movie that calls for extensive bloody makeup, is making wounds look real. Adam Savage’s (MythbustersYouTube channel, Tested, visits effects artist Frank Ippolito, a contestant on Sy Fy’s special effects make-up competition series, Face Off, at his shop in LA to find out what tools and techniques he uses to make realistic wounds inexpensively. Continue on to watch the video: More »

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Oz the Great and Powerful vfxThe wonder of The Wizard of Oz has spanned generations, delighting both young and old. In its time, the special effects were quite a sight to see — the moment Dorothy opens the door from her bland black and white life on the farm to see the vibrance of a new world. And, although its origin story, Oz the Great and Powerfuldirected by Sam Raimi, left fans of the original Oz a little less than dazzled, the VFX concepts of Sony Imageworks‘ are definitely worth exploring. Take a look at a behind the scenes video, with commentary from Oscar-winning VFX Supervisor Scott Stokdyk, after the jump: More »

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Vashi low budget editingIf you’re a no or low-budget filmmaker, making an action flick oftentimes means having to forego top dollar visual and special effects for more affordable options. If your lack of high-octane explosions and car chases finds you feeling like your film is falling flat, talented filmmaker and editor Vashi Nedomansky has shared three no/low-budget editing tips that will give your action sequences and dramatic moments the (believable) big impact you’re looking for. More »

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The Exorcist BTSIf you’re a true horror movie fan, you’ve no doubt watched The Exorcist (1973) at least a billion times. The making of the film is rife with controversy, mystery, and lore that is almost as captivating as the film itself. Watching its behind the scenes footage is like taking a class on screenwriting, directing, acting, and special effects all at once, and chances are if you’ve seen The Exorcist, you’ve probably seen The Fear of God, the documentary that accompanied the 25 Year Anniversary Edition DVD. However, here’s some rare behind the scenes footage you may have not come across from the set of one of the most terrifying films ever made. More »

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Vashi Forced Perspective HumveeOne big headache of making films on a tight budget is having to sacrifice parts of your story in order to keep the project from costing an arm and a leg. Sometimes that’s just the nature of the beast and completely unavoidable, but other times, with a little help from some clever visual effects techniques, we can save money and keep what we want in our films. Vashi Nedomansky of Vashi Visuals reminds us that, at its core, cinema is a medium of illusion. By setting a miniature Humvee in the sand dunes of California, he was able to use forced perspective to shoot a flashback scene with a realistic-looking vehicle set in the Iraqi desert. Continue reading to find out how he did it. More »

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How to make a moldMy first legitimate short film was a 50s era monster flick with all the conventions a terribly good B-movie, including a lurching, unrealistic monster (ours was a nuclear Burmese python/Kodiak bear hybrid) — if only we had the time, money, and know-how to craft a proper mold for a fuzzy serpentine mask. Luckily, SFX gurus, cast members on Sy-Fy’s Heroes of Cosplay, and hosts of Try This At Home, Holly Conrad and Jessica Merizan of Crabcat Industries give us a couple of handy tutorials on how to create molds from sculptures, which will (hopefully) later become monster movie works of art. Check out the tutorials after the jump: More »

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harryhausenEven if you don’t know the name Ray Harryhausen, you’ve almost definitely seen his work, or the work of someone who was directly influenced by him. Harryhausen (who passed away in May at the age of 92) was the undisputed master of stop-motion, creator of “Dynamation,” and the mind behind some of cinema’s classic moments in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Cinephilia and Beyond has a link to an hour-long documentary on the man’s life, narrated by Leonard Nimoy (and I will watch anything narrated by Leonard Nimoy). Click below to learn more about this stop-motion icon, who created fantastic worlds one painstaking frame at a time. More »